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Beside The Points For Monday, Oct. 30, 2017

Things That Caught My Eye

What on earth did I just watch

Last night Houston beat Los Angeles 13-12 at home in 10 innings in one of the most ridiculous baseball related experiences America has collectively endured. The FanGraphs win probability chart looks like an advanced Lunar Lander level on Atari. There were seven home runs in the game’s 5-hour, 17-minute runtime. The Astros outscored or tied five NFL teams this week. Based on average change in win probability alone, it was the second-best ever World Series game ever. [FiveThirtyEight]

Alabama is No. 3

…of all time. Alabama is at the top of the Associated Press college football poll this week for the 99th time. This puts them above Notre Dame and behind only Ohio State and Oklahoma in all-time appearances at #1. [ESPN]

Ohio State gets a massive win

No. 6 ranked Ohio State had a come-from-behind victory over No. 2 ranked Penn State to win 39-38. They entered the fourth quarter down 35-20 with an abysmal chance at winning. Later, down by 5 and with just under two minutes left the Buckeyes scored a touchdown, a single play that raised their win probability by 34.2 percentage points, one of the biggest swings of the week. Following the win, we give Ohio State a 64 percent chance of winning the Big Ten conference and a 57 percent chance of making the playoff, while Penn State has a mere 3 percent chance of winning the conference and only a 13 percent chance of making the playoff. [ESPN, FiveThirtyEight]

Maybe comparing your employees to prisoners isn’t super cool

Texans owner Bob McNair made a comment that “We can’t have the inmates running the prison” during an NFL owners meeting in reference to recent player demonstrations against white supremacy. This ticked off his team mightily. Receiver DeAndre Hopkins and running back D’Onta Foreman missed a practice Friday in response, and Sunday all but about 10 Texans players took a knee during the national anthem. [ESPN]

Something’s up with the balls

Players have begun to flag that something is off with the balls this World Series. Gosh, I wonder what’s up. The regular season wrapped with the most home runs ever. The rate during that season — that insane, record-breaking season — of one homer every 27.1 at-bats. In this World Series through the first four games, there were 15 homers or one every 17.5 at-bats. That’s a crazy 35 percent improvement in the rate, which is huge. Then you think about last night: There were 7 home runs in 85 at bats, or 1 every 12.1 at-bats. Something’s up. [Sports Illustrated]

Olympics could be a distraction

Year three of the National Women’s Hockey League started up Saturday, and the league will balance new signings and partnerships with the challenge of running operations while the top talent in the league is off the ice elsewhere preparing for the 2018 Olympic games. [ESPN]

Make sure to try your hand at our fun NFL can you beat the FiveThirtyEight predictions? game!

Big Number

19 touchdowns

It would appear that Houston has found its future in Deshaun Watson, who Sunday passed Kurt Warner with 19 touchdowns in his first seven games. His statline in Sunday’s loss to Seattle was outstanding, and on the season he’s got three games with four passing touchdowns. Houston is far from a favorite but also far from out of the hunt when it comes to the playoffs this year — 18 percent chance of making the playoffs according to FiveThirtyEight — but finding a player like Watson could turn things around in years to come. [ESPN, FiveThirtyEight]

Leaks from Slack: Every Single Message Sent on Sunday


Well well well


just looked at our predictions by the way and there’s a 19 percent chance the Browns go Defeated this season

always worth keeping an eye on that lovely number

given that we’re halfway there

Niners have a 9 percent chance

so actually a decent chance one of them goes defeated tbh


Oh, and don’t forget
West Virginia had to put in the backup mascot on Saturday

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.