Odds and Other Sports Data Explained
In the world of sports, odds are truly a profitable and lucrative business.
13:36 30 June 2021
For starters, determining the odds of a matchup is the key to determining a potentially winning strategy.
Sports data is, to put it simply, absolutely invaluable to everyone involved in sports - from team clubs, managers, fans, bettors, sponsors, and just about anyone in between. And today we’ll explore all the basic things that make up this fact.
Data-Driven Strategy, Experts, and Algorithms
Not all that long ago, odds were calculated by a team of math and statistics experts before a matchup. However, things have now changed significantly, and we have artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to help us out.
One great example is the Poisson-distribution data algorithm. It can accurately predict more than 60% out of a total of 200 matches correctly, compared to numerous experts who barely reach 50% accuracy in their predictions. That’s an incredible leap given the total number of matchups.
When considering sports betting odds as a whole, you can probably understand why this is such a big deal. In fact, these odds are possibly the backbone of the entire sports industry, as much of the money comes from making predictions, betting, and sponsorships. Without sports data and its related algorithms, this wouldn’t be possible.
Understanding Sportsbooks and Bookmakers
Leaving aside backroom deals and shady sponsorships, there are entire networks of sportsbooks and bookmakers that bring loads of money to the table. These work in tandem with odds and prediction algorithms to provide bettors all around the globe the possibility to earn money without the sportsbook having to sacrifice much of anything.
Now, to better understand how they work, you need to understand how sports odds function. In the US, an odd of +300 means that you can win $300 for betting $100 on the winning outcome. And they also have negative odds, like -150, which means that you need to bet $150 on the winning outcome to earn a profit of $100.
As for Europe, the system is much simpler to understand. If the odds for the winning result are 2.4, then your prize will be 2.4$ if you bet 1$ - a nice 1.4$ profit. See? It’s that simple. Now let’s get to the dark side
The Nitty Gritty Secret
The odds aren’t fair towards the bettor. Just like with casinos, the house always wins. That’s the secret that these businesses have been using to stay afloat without a problem all of these years.
Let’s say we’re wagering on a match involving Arsenal and Manchester United. Historically, the odds between the two have been as follows:
- Arsenal wins: 2.4
- U. wins: 3.0
- Tie: 3.6
Let’s calculate a little. If we were to divide 1 with each individual odd, (1/2.4=41.6%, etc.), then we’d get something like this:
41.6% + 33.3% + 27.8% = 102.7%
Yes, 2.7% extra. That’s the bookmaker’s advantage. That’s how the house always wins. They are aware that not even AI can accurately predict each match, so they tweak the odds slightly to get a little advantage over bettors.
How Is This Data Collected?
The people who process sports data take statistics from years and years of matches and pair it with other data, like player injuries, surgeries, and so forth, to determine the most accurate odds for a matchup.
Each player’s health metrics are also collected via smartwatches and other “smart” gadgets. Smart cameras around the playing field also collect data related to each player’s speed, flexibility, and so forth. When you add all these stats together, you start to understand just how much of an advantage the whole sports industry has over bettors and potential sponsors.
What Are Your Thoughts?
Do you feel disadvantaged now that you know how these stats work? Or do you actually don’t care and only enjoy watching sports instead of engaging or betting on them? We want to hear your opinion down in the comment box below. Thank you!