# What are the odds he read that on the rexblog? (a gazillion-to-one)

On Wednesday, the 16-year-old and I used the back of the envelop (actually, it was a 3 x 5 card) to calculate the odds of the Titans making it into the playoffs. As I said then, our prediction was 3.4% based on the “coin-flipping” method along with consensus match-up data from a popular sports odds-aggregation website.

Quote from my earlier post:

“If the coin-tossing odds formula is applicable…and the bookmakersâ€™ consensus odds are correct, the chances of the Titans getting into the playoffs is 3.4% (.419 x .356 x .575 x .400 = .034)”

This morning, the Tennessean’s Jim Wyatt wrote a column titled, “Titans’ playoff puzzle has 60-1 odds.” It includes the following quote:

Frank Harrell, chairman of the department of biostatistics at Vanderbilt University, said the chances of four things happening independent of one another, like flipping a coin four times in a row and getting heads each time, is 6.25 percent. But in that case, it’s a 50-50 chance each time. The chances of the 49ers and Steelers winning is far less than 50-50 because both are underdogs. That means the overall chances of the Titans getting into the playoffs decrease significantly. ‘My guesstimate is somewhere between 2 percent and 7 percent chances for the Titans,’ Harrell said.

Despite the Google juice the rexblog has around key phrases associated with titans playoff chances, I estimate the odds of Professor Harrell seeing my post before talking with Jim Wyatt far exceed those related to getting struck by lightening but are somewhat less than those related to winning Power Ball. However, for the record, I’m extremely happy the rationale used by the 16-year-old and me has been peer-reviewed by an academic expert and deemed guesstimate-worthy.

Also worth remembering: I recently heard the odds of a college football player getting a starting slot on an NFL team are about 100-1. So, every player on the Titans team has already beaten a lot longer odds than 60-1 just to be playing in tomorrows game.