While it may seem far-fetched, the sports betting industry has embraced the uncertain reality of artificial intelligence. As teams use A.I. to improve players’ performance, sportsbooks and bettors are using the technology to create profitable systems.
Both sides hope their exclusive programs will provide an advantage, but as the technology improves, so does the potential impact.
For Colorado sportsbooks, like FanDuel and DraftKings, the A.I. programs produce the data needed to create a more profitable spread. The information also helps the books predict the type of bets that sharps will make on any line. Having the probabilities allow the sportsbooks to stay ahead of the curve and reduces the possibility of losing millions of dollars.
Sophisticated bettors with large bankrolls are responding by making bets suing their algorithms fueled by A.I. The days of punching numbers into a spreadsheet are over as instantaneous data feeds these power-hungry programs.
As new technology floods the marketplace in an attempt to collate the wealth of information, the question of how to use it is at the heart of the growing debate among sportsbook operators and bettors.
How Sports Teams Use A.I. to Collect Data on Player Performance
Professional teams such as the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Rockies are using sophisticated machines to learn the habits of their players. The artificial intelligence-based programs at the center of this data collection are searching for new ways to improve performance.
Teams also mine the data looking to reduce injuries and detect flaws in a player’s fundamentals. And although they are not there yet, teams hope the programs will one day immediately identify the root cause of a player in a slump.
In professional leagues where winning is worth millions, this data is incredibly valuable to teams looking for an advantage.
The problem for teams is that the process of building A.I. systems that are successful takes years and mountains of data. Many pay for help from outside sources, who look for innovative ways to shave time off the collection of information.
For businesses, such as Seattle Sports Sciences, that helps players achieve peak performance, they need help labeling their data. The SSS team uses workers in India, working around the clock, to produce accurate information for the A.I. algorithms to digest immediately. In the race for dominance, the team with the most-up-to-date data wins.
A.I. and the Future of Sports Betting
As sportsbooks and bettors continue the search for more detailed information, the new frontier is data accumulation. But for artificial intelligence to give more accurate answers, it needs more than just information. It requires the right information.
Bettors, who use A.I.-centric programs to determine the value of a bet, rely on simulations to show patterns. For example, let’s say the Denver Broncos meet the Dallas Cowboys in the Super Bowl. By the time of the game, the bettor will rely heavily on this season’s information, along with historical data, to run hundreds of thousands of simulations.
What the simulations provide for bettors is the recognition of patterns and probabilities. Then, the bettor can take that data and contrast it against the lines and prop bets of the local sportsbooks.
The biggest obstacle for bettors is that the sportsbooks have their own A.I. programs running similar programs. Bettors who survey their homegrown information and find betting value are the professionals that remain successful.
But with the sophisticated programs of the sportsbooks, the bettor will forever only be as good as his data.
How Sportsbooks Use Artificial Intelligence to Profile Bettors
If artificial intelligence is the manipulation of data, then the humans at the controls must know what they are doing. For sportsbooks, this information is helpful when it comes to predicting the wager a high-volume bettor will most likely make.
Sportsbooks use their proprietary programs not only to understand game information but also about the habits of bettors. Sportsbooks use the bettors’ data, gathered by A.I. programs, to build prop bets that garner more betting action.
“There’s so much information you can get from knowing the time a bet is made, who is making the bet, and building a profile for all these different kinds of bettors,” Brian Musburger, the CEO of VSiN told SportTechie.
“There’s so much data that has not been properly mined. And I think for us, that’s a really exciting opportunity to go to these brick-and-mortar sportsbooks and partner with them to see what we can learn from the data they’ve been collecting and create products based on that.”
Betting on Simulated Sporting Events
During the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, one sports betting company looked to artificial intelligence to help create a betting product for fans longing for sporting events. In March, the sports data company, Sportradar, announced an A.I. project to simulate the remainder of leagues’ suspended seasons.
The Sportradar simulation focused on professional soccer leagues in Europe with teams located in England, Germany, and Spain. The A.I. aided simulation provided fans with the opportunity to live bet on games played over 90 minutes.
“We have listened carefully to our customers and the betting community who have made it clear there is an appetite for alternative means of betting during this time where this is a void in live sports action,” Sportradar chief executive Carsten Koerl said.
Koerl referred to the project as “simulated reality” using artificial intelligence to make millions of decisions over one match.
For fans who want to stay connected to their favorite teams, the simulated game unfolds in real-time. The timeframe allows the bettor to make wagers as they usually would on a regular game day. The experience, provided by the A.I. program, offers the feedback to fans of a real game.
With the initial suspension of sports leagues due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is not difficult to see a future where bettors and sportsbooks use artificial intelligence to help create sporting events to keep the industry afloat in the toughest of times.