Data science is a huge part of business today, and it is the fastest growing field across every industry. The Harvard Business Review described data science roles as the ‘sexiest jobof the 21st Century‘.
In essence, data science is a combination of things like statistics, algorithms, AI, machine learning, data collection, analytics, and other knowledge. This combination of disciplines allows businesses to delve through data, uncovering information that can be used to make decisions and plan strategies based on predictions.
Outside of business use, data science has been part of other parts of our lives for a while now, and that is only going to increase as more technological innovations become mainstream. The application of data science runs from improving user experience online to creating entire virtual worlds (like the Metaverse or even in games like Roblox, for example).
Sports Betting and Data Science
Sports betting and other gaming has used machine learning and AI integrations to collate historical data and make decisions on things like odds, as well as keeping track of bets placed and looking out for exploitation or risk to the ‘house edge.’
For the casual bettor, sports betting is just a fun way to get rewarded for accurate predictions in a sporting event, and in most cases these decisions will be made using a ‘gut feeling’ or a hunch – or simply because you support the team or the individual and want to put your money where your mouth is to show that.
For those who want to actually make reliable money from sports betting, finding a strategy to use rather than following the whims of your gut is probably a better idea. Much has been written about different betting strategies that can be used to improve profits in sports betting, but there is always room for improvement – and that is what data science can offer.
In this case, we are specifically talking about machine learning. Machine learning is a part of the artificial intelligence (AI) framework, and while we are not suggesting that you build a robot capable of cleaning your home and placing accurate bets for you, machine learning and the algorithms that make it work is what can have an impact on turning a profit from sports betting.
In essence, machine learning comes from an algorithm that reads and analyses data, extrapolating the probabilities of different outcomes based on that data, and makes predictions. Of course, the accuracy of this depends entirely on the quality and quantity of data that is available to be analyzed. For sports betting, this includes historical data about performance and recent scores – basically all the statistics that are generated in each match.
Can I Do It?
Of course, the question here is what you can do to make use of machine learning and data science for your own sports betting predictions.
Data science is a fast-growing area of study, and it is a job role that has a lot of possibilities for business use. This means that there are a lot of opportunities to study in that academic field, attending universities to obtain the relevant knowledge (and a degree).
That might be too much for sports betting though, and there are easier ways to learn more about machine learning. The basics of writing an algorithm come down to whether you can write code using programming languages like Python or in the R Suite, for example. If you can’t, you can probably learn thanks to the myriad of free online coding camps. There are other steps to it, and it is a whole mess of new skills, technology, and tools to get your head round.
However, there is help out there for the layperson – and that comes in the form of clever APIs and other software that gives you the algorithms you need (and in some cases the data too).
Are Algorithms Better Than People?
There is a growing school of thought that despite the implied perfection of artificial intelligence and machine learning, you actually cannot beat the human touch. This has come to light most recently around the growth of AI-generated website content, where robots are able to create long-form blog posts and articles that are meant to be as good as those written by people. Even to the untrained eye, it is clear that it isn’t quite there (yet), but there are some reasons that data science might be better than people – and that comes down to emotional responses.
Algorithms have been used in online stock trading for quite a while. Called Expert Advisors, these robots are employed to analyze data about stocks, shares, and markets to determine when the best time to buy or sell would be – and they are used because they are reliable, and they take emotion out of the equation.
The same is true when it comes to sports betting. If you look at the statistics and the data only, and ignore which team is playing and how you feel about that team, you are more likely to make a rational decision, which is where the profit will come.