Wild predictions that aren’t so wild: Spurs to win league, Neymar for Ballon d’Or?

So, there’s this guy named Steve. Here’s a description of him: “Steve is very shy and withdrawn, invariably helpful, but with little interest in people or the social world. A meek and tidy soul, he has a need for order and structure and a passion for detail.” I’ll throw in one more clue: Steve lives in the United States.

Now that you know a little bit about Steve, try to answer these questions: Is Steve more likely to be a farmer or a librarian? And: Is Steve more likely to be a farmer or a salesman?

Got it? OK — and here’s why you (probably) got it wrong. Although he certainly sounds like a librarian, Steve is way more likely to be both a salesman and a farmer. To be specific, he’s 83 times more likely to be a salesman and 22 times more likely to be a farmer. Why’s that? Well, there are a lot more farmers and salesmen than librarians in the United States.

– O’Hanlon: Why the Ronaldo/Messi era is over

If you’ve heard this story before, you probably read it in “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” the book by Nobel Prize-winning behavioral economist Daniel Kahneman. I bring it up to make the following point: We suck at predicting things.

And so, rather than try to tell you what is going to happen in the 2022-23 season right now — at the beginning of July — I wanted to point out a couple of outcomes that seem incredibly unlikely at this point in the summer but probably aren’t as unlikely as you think.

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