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Podcast: MLB Playoff Preview, Maya Moore’s Legacy, And The Kick-pocalypse
Hot Takedown

Welcome to this week’s episode of Hot Takedown, our podcast where the hot sports takes of the week meet the numbers that prove them right or tear them down. On this week’s show (Oct. 6, 2015), we discuss whether the Major League Baseball playoff system is subject to too much randomness, talk about Maya Moore and the Minnesota Lynx in the WNBA finals, and ask FiveThirtyEight’s Ben Morris about the state of kicking in the NFL. Plus, a Significant Digit glimpse at our forthcoming CARMELO NBA Projections.

Stream the episode by clicking the play button, or subscribe using one of the podcast clients we’ve linked to above. Below is a video excerpt and links to some of what we discussed on the show.


Is baseball’s wild-card round too random?


  • FiveThirtyEight’s 2015 MLB playoff coverage.
  • Neil Paine reveals the Elo system he developed for baseball.
  • A stats-y primer on the WNBA finals.
  • Ian Levy writes for FiveThirtyEight about why the best teams in the WNBA don’t seem to shoot threes.
  • Ben Morris with more historical data about kickers than you thought was possible.
  • If you live near New York City, join Carl Bialik, Walt Hickey and Neil Paine at “Varsity Letters” on Oct. 12 at 7 p.m.
  • Significant Digit: 83.1. That’s Anthony Davis’s projected wins above replacement for 2016-22, according to our forthcoming CARMELO NBA Projections. CARMELO found that he’s the most valuable player in the league over that time span. Stay tuned for the full system, which will be up on FiveThirtyEight soon!

If you’re a fan of our podcasts, be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave a rating/review. That helps spread the word to other listeners. And get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments. Tell us what you think, send us hot takes to discuss and tell us why we’re wrong.

Chadwick Matlin is a senior editor at FiveThirtyEight.

Kate Fagan is a writer for espnW and a regular panelist on the FiveThirtyEight sports podcast Hot Takedown.

Neil Paine is a senior sportswriter for FiveThirtyEight.

Benjamin Morris researches and writes about sports and other topics for FiveThirtyEight.

Sara Patterson is FiveThirtyEight’s podcast and video intern.

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