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Game Sevens in the MLB, NBA and NHL

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I am not a huge hockey fan, but last Friday night I watched the Pens beat the Red Wings for the Stanley Cup. My wife asked why I was watching hockey and I said it was a game 7 and I hadn't seen a game seven in a while. So that got me looking into the number of game sevens in the 3 sports that play a best of 7 series for their finals.  Here are the results of the finals since 1947 (which is when baseball, basketball and hockey each played a best of seven series).

 


Basketball Baseball Hockey
Total Game 7s 16 25 13
Total Percent 25.4% 41.0% 21.0%
Average Length of Series 5.76 5.84 5.42
Average Series Length Last 20 years 5.45 5.3 5.6
Average Series Length Last 10 years 5.4 5.1 6.3
Last time Game 7 Played 2004-2005 2002 2008-2009

 

 

Hockey has been averaging between a 6 and 7 game series over the the last ten years, while baseball has just barely averaged over 5 games. These are contradictory to their historic trend where MLB has seen almost twice as many game sevens since 1947 as the NHL. The NBA Finals have maintain a constant ~5.5 game series over the 3 time frames examined.