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by Graham Cookson
in Sports betting , Big Data
on 11 July 2014

Sports betting: Part 1: The value of spotting outside influences

In this short series of blog posts, we will be looking at the value of spotting outside factors surrounding sports events, how those situations can potentially affect the odds when it comes to placing bets on such sports and how Digital Contact is looking to help bookmakers gain the advantage by spotting the external influences first.

In part one we will introduce the idea of outside influences.


As big data analytics has evolved over the last few years, it has been adopted by more and more industries, such as the gaming/gambling world and betting industries, including sports betting.

The way in which big data and social analytics have been incorporated into these industries varies greatly from company to company – depending on what their needs are.

And that is a crucial question for any company interested in investing in big data to ask before starting; what do you need it for?

Big data is everywhere, it’s perpetually expanding and it is (essentially) a useless mess of 1s and 0s - unless you know what to do with it.

Sometimes companies will use big data in ways you wouldn’t expect, but are of high value to that company. One of the world’s leading online betting companies, Sportingbet, has done this by using big data solutions to mine and explore its machine data, helping the company uncover and fix issues with bandwidth and performance, delivering a continuous improvement of its systems.

Its use of big data here doesn’t directly generate revenue for the company, but rather improves on services and saves money in the long-run.[1]

Life happens

One little-explored area with in sports betting is utilising big data to find key moments in the time periods outside of a sporting event where something might happen to a player/players that doesn’t relate directly to the sport, but could potentially have an effect on the outcome of an upcoming game.

This could be literally any outside influence changing the odds, such as the obvious weather or player injuries, however it can also include elements for someone taking part in the match/tournament, such as a bad break-up with a partner, or the death of a family member. Because, at the end of the day, those sporting heroes are still human, with human emotions, which change and will be affected by daily events.

For that reason, there is almost an infinite number of factors that could affect the odds of a sport and keeping track of the important ones is one key way in which bookmakers can gain the competitive edge and adjust their odds to match these situations.


In part two of this blog series, we will look at an example of how outside influences affected one of the world's top sports personalities at a recent international event.

Click here to read part two: How Murray lost his Wimbledon crown >>>

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