Sports betting is one of the oldest pastimes known to human civilisation, and in some nations, sports betting goes way back. In the UK and Ireland, for example, there has been betting on sport for centuries and modern operators like William Hill Ireland are working in an industry that has a proud tradition and association with long-established sports like horse racing and hurling.
Tradition only takes you so far, however, and like everything else in the internet age, sports betting has evolved. The data revolution means that bookmakers are able to use a vast range of statistical information to inform their betting markets, and bettors are having to respond. So, how can you employ data and statistics to create your sports betting strategy?
Sports Data and Statistics
The success of the ‘Moneyball’ approach in baseball, in which players were traded and strategies formulated based on statistical analysis, grabbed the attention of sports fans all over the world, and now most high-level sports teams employ statistical analysts to inform their decisions. Much of the data they use, however, is also available to sports bettors and some have been using it to develop systems and strategies to help improve their betting success rate.
Some sports bettors use data to create systems, that is, complete betting algorithms that do not require human judgement once they have been set up. The most sophisticated of these can involve dozens of people working on data entry and significant computing power, but many simpler systems can be found simply by analysing the data, using this approach:
· Develop a theory by analysing the results of one set of data
· Test that theory on a second set of data
The theory can be something as simple as always betting against football teams that have played a Champions League game within the previous three days, and by testing the profitability of a system against a fresh set of data, you will be able to establish whether it is successful.
Analysing your Betting
You can also use statistics to analyse your own betting. As long as you keep records of your bets, you can analyse these at regular periods to identify areas where you have most success and the types of bets that are not profitable for you. Even doing this once a month can make a big difference to your overall success rate and profitability.
The widespread availability of data means that it is possible for sports bettors to construct their own ratings. Ratings rarely bring success on their own when used blindly, but they can inform and support your overall betting, and if you build your ratings on factors that others don’t fully consider, they can give you a strong edge and a starting point when considering a bet on a sports event.
Ratings can be simple or complicated, like the ELO rating system used in chess, and there is a wealth of advice available online to enable you to hone your own rating system and to help you choose which factors to focus on and how to combine them.
Statistics are an inevitable part of sports betting in the 2020s, but you don’t need to be a maths genius to use them. By harnessing the power of data to your needs, you can improve your sports betting, and increase your chances of making a profit, or at least, limiting your losses.