Superior Use of Existing Data

Superior use of existing data

Sharp Sports Betting is a tool for those interested in winning money at sports betting. The book explains the most common sports bets, what all the numbers mean, and the mathematics behind the numbers.

Let’s discuss some principles of sports betting. All sports bettors should learn the information below. You should not be betting online or in land-based casinos without this fundamental knowledge.

If you like a football team for reasons that were considered by the linesmakers and the sharps who bet into the early line, then you probably do not have a good bet. Those people looked at won-loss records, yards gained on the ground and yards gained in the air, yards given up by the defense, turnovers, injuries, past opponents, and future opponents. The linesmakers know what day of the week the game is being played, and who is the home team. They know which teams are in which divisions. They know what happened the last time these two teams met. If you are selecting a team based on those factors, be aware that the linesmakers have already considered the same data on which you are basing your analysis.

If you watched a game and think you saw something that would give you a good bet in a future game, be aware that at least some of the linesmakers who create the early line and some of the sharps who bet into it also watched the same game you did.

Overcompensation in the lines is common, particularly when one team is coming off a big loss or big win that was televised. The public (“squares”) sometimes overvalues a team’s most recent performance.

There are people who can make money by analyzing the same data that are available to others. For example, if you are a former professional baseball player who knows baseball inside and out, you know how to evaluate baseball players, you know ballparks, you know baseball strategy, and you know how the different variables interact with one another, then it’s entirely possible that you can find good baseball bets while looking at the same information that is available to everyone else.

Many serious bettors create “power ratings.” Power ratings are numbers, one number per team, that are used to estimate what the spreads should be. The idea is to give each team a number to represent its strength, and then for each game to subtract the power rating of one team from the power rating of the other to predict the margin of victory of one team over the other. Power ratings created by other people are available in numerous places on the Internet and in newspapers.

Some websites use mathematical models to analyze data from past games. The data from past games reflect a team’s average performance over those Games, and can help predict by how much one team should beat another if both teams play up to their ability as displayed in past games.

If you want to find bets based on doing your own analysis of existing data, I suggest staying away from the National Football League. NFL past results must be the most overanalyzed data in the world. Pick some obscure college conference, and learn everything there is to learn about all the basketball teams in that conference, or about all the football teams in that conference. Then bet only games involving those teams.

If you want to make bets based on analysis of existing data, my suggestion is to keep a separate record of those bets so that at any time you can review your past performance to be sure you really are picking winners based on analysis of existing data.

This is part of an occasional series of articles.

Excerpted with permission from Sharp Sports Betting by Stanford Wong, edited for this format.


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