In the world of sports, the scope of sports betting has gone beyond simply predicting the outcome of a game. Today, bettors can delve into a myriad of “mini-outcomes” associated with the event, ranging from the time it takes a star player to score to the duration an injured player will be allowed to participate.
The vast array of possibilities has been made possible by the pervasiveness and inflating nature of data. Unsurprisingly, data now reigns supreme in the sports betting industry, which boasts an annual worth of at least $200 billion.
The Data-Driven Strategy of Bookmakers
Bookmakers, more than anyone else, know the value of data for their bottom line. They seize every opportunity to harness data, enhancing the frequency and volume of customer betting.
The advent of “in-game” betting stands as a direct outcome of their growing appreciation and integration of extensive sports-related data.
Besides, both bookmakers and customers are increasingly drawn to betting simulation tools. These tools use vast historical data repositories about individual athletes, teams, and conditions.
By integrating highly sophisticated models and algorithms, these simulators make predictions based on variables such as venue, time, player performance, and potential rewards (e.g., a playoff berth).
Bookmakers, including the makers of the best betting apps, have long believed that simulation tools hold the potential to expand the gambling industry by making customers confident and comfortable.
The Quest for Accuracy in Technology
Bookmakers and bettors are not as fascinated with cutting-edge prediction software as one might think. The reason is clear: these tools often need to catch up to expectations.
Despite their ability to access copious amounts of data, these programs fail to provide consistent answers to the two crucial questions plaguing bookmakers as well as bettors: why some contests evolved the way they did and what lies ahead in future performances or events.
Although simulation tools offer results superior to mere guesswork, the margin of improvement remains slim.
Beyond the Surface of New Technologies
The availability of data alone is insufficient. While it may offer irresistible hints and suggestions about winners, losers, and scoring trends, it lacks the power to provide definitive explanations.
It can influence decisions, perhaps locking in certain preferences or reinforcing gut feelings. Nevertheless, more powerful AI-centered technologies, including machine learning and deep learning, are imperative for reaching more accurate conclusions.
Bookmakers have come to realize that this is the future, and bettors are not far behind in acknowledging the same.
AI Building the Foundation in Sports Betting
The effort to apply AI to sports betting has already been made. Today, it is increasingly possible to monitor the real-time performance of athletes through the use of sensors, wearable devices, and apps.
Advanced biometrics, biomechanics, and other health and psychosocial factors can now be quantified and extracted. For instance, the NBA has introduced the AI-driven “Connexion kiosk” to assess players’ health data and inform teams about injuries and related issues.
Similarly, the French Open tennis tournament has partnered with Infosys to develop “Stats+,” which updates statistics in real-time using AI and machine learning technologies.
Disclosing the Mysteries of AI
Until recently, an athlete’s real-time performance and direct impact on an event or contest remained somewhat mysterious. Observers and commentators often resorted to abstract concepts such as “momentum,” “grit,” “self-belief,” and “resting on one’s laurels” to explain the ebb and flow of sporting events.
However, AI has the capability to interpret data in a manner that solidifies these concepts, grounding them in reality and predictability. AI doesn’t simply process data; it learns from it and applies its learnings to future calculations.
Going even further, deep learning employs artificial neural networks and unsupervised representation learning to derive findings dynamically, replicating the cognitive activity of living organisms.
When a sports event takes place, these AI-based systems can provide more definitive answers to key questions:
- What were the true causes behind a win or loss?
- Were the athletes tired, distracted, or perhaps more motivated than they realized?
- Did biological or psychological factors positively or negatively influence running motion, hip rotation, and respiration?
In theory and increasingly in practice, AI-based systems can determine how an athlete’s health status at any given moment affects their subsequent performance, ultimately leading to a victory or defeat.
All these advancements and trends overlap with the expanding legality of sports betting in the United States, promising noteworthy benefits for bookmakers as they forge partnerships with leagues, teams, and individual athletes to acquire real-time data.
These close-knit relationships between bookmakers and leagues have the potential to inject billions of dollars into the current betting ecosystem.
Data acquisition, machine learning, and deep neural networks are at the forefront of these transformative trends. Undeniably, the significantly improved ability to predict sports outcomes based on past performance and current conditions is revolutionizing the field of bookmaking.
None of this would have been possible without the breakneck progress witnessed in AI over recent years. To the bookmakers who have yet to embrace the inevitable, it’s time to realize that the machines are here and prepared to make their mark.
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