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I have split this article into different categories as it ended up being a lot longer than I initially thought it would be. This also makes it possible for you to skip topics that you feel comfortable with and already know and get straight to the stuff you are looking to learn.
Still there should be something interesting in every article here for those looking to learn how to make a model to bet on sports with, even if you are an expert at this, but feel free to jump around the topics to get a feel for them.
I am also gonna assume that those of you that read this article already are familiar with betting and sports betting in general. If not, I would recommend reading our beginners guide to online gambling to learn the basics before proceeding. We will use both betting and coding lingo after this, so consider yourself warned!
Before you dive into this guide looking to make a boatload of money, I suggest that you take a few moments to reflect on a couple of things and also think about what kind of skill set you currently possess. You see, as I have already mentioned, simply copying this model is unlikely to turn you into a winner, so you need to understand what is going on and how to change up the model for it to become a profitable venture for you.
In order to get something out of this guide, we have some articles and skills you should acquire to get the most out of it. Note that these are not needed, but good to have if you want to understand what we are doing here. We will use Python to develop and use our model, so it would be wise to at least have a basic understanding of coding and scripting.
Note that my skills are not very good either, so if you are very skilled at Python or any other programming language , chances are you can vastly improve this model.
A couple of resources I could recommend if you want to get started learning Python is either: You also need Python installed on your computer to use it, so go to the Python webpage to check out how to do that. Although this is a HUGE topic, you still should have a basic understanding of statistics if you want to get anything out of this. Without it, you would be hard pressed to be able to put your theories into your model without making crucial mistakes.
Since we will be focusing on the Poisson distribution in this guide, you should at least read the wikipedia entry for that topic to see if you are able to understand what is being proposed and operated on here. If you are going to model sports, you need some data to base your work on.
At times this can be hard to get a hold of, but luckily for football this is a bit easier where you have the great website www. But it is definitely recommended! Knowing the terms and bets available, what markets are the most popular, where to look for decent value and so on are all good things to be aware of before you start tailing your own model.
We are going to start this off easy by doing some basic data manipulation with Python on some data from last years season. The first thing we need to do is import a module called csv. This way we are able to tell Python that we are manipulating comma separated values, which is the format our data is written in.
Then we need to load our file using this module, and also skip the first row as that only contains the headers for each column and what their meaning is. Now we have a variable in Python that is reading our data, next step is actually reading it and doing something with this. But first we will need to set up some other variables we will use when iterating over the lines. I will explain better what these are for and how to use these later.
First we should counters for how many games ended up in home dogs winning, and also how many did not. Since we want to see how betting on these events would do in real life, we also need to set up some variables about our bankroll and bet sizing. Now we get to core of things when we introduce a for loop to our current code.
Basically what this does is that it iterates over every instance that you set for it. You could say that you want to run a code 10 times, and then use a for loop with a range 0, 9. What we want though is to read over every game or line of data and do something to every game. Also, for every iteration of games we want to store parts of the data in different variables. Team names, number of goals scored, betting odds and other things. So if you want the home team name, you simply write game.
The reason you use 2 and not 3 is because the numbering starts at 0 in Python. Note all the variables after the loop is there mainly to help us out. Now we need to use the current game data and see if it meets our criteria for a bet or not.
Remember that we are looking for home underdogs. To simplify things I have set the cut off for home underdogs to be when the odds of a home team win is higher than an away team win, which I guess make sense. To do this, we use what is called an if function. Basically what it does is that it takes a condition that needs to be met, and if that is true, then it runs some code, otherwise it does something else, which can be nothing.
And we want to check if the home odds is higher than the away odds. Now if we find that a game has a home underdog, we want to check to see if it ended up a win or not for the home team. And again for this we use and if statement, this time with an else function at the end for what the program should do when the home team did NOT win.
So what happens here is that we look at a game and compare the odds of the home team winning and the odds of the away team winning. If there is higher odds for a home win, we proceed, if not, we ignore that game. Then we check to see if the game ended in a win.
This is done by testing if there were more home goals than away goals. If it was, we add 1 to our counter for home underdog wins which we have called upsets. We also update our bankroll as if we would have bet on that game. Here we multiply our bet size with the odds we would have gotten.
Here we also have an else function added for those times the home team does NOT win. Now we are don with the loop and can run the program. But we also want to be able to see what our program is calculating for us and thus we should write out our variables in our interpreter. The way you can get this info is to use the print command to write whatever we want. Now we also want to add some of our variables to the print outs, and that requires a bit extra work.
What you want to look at can vary, and how you want it presented can be up to you, but here are some things that I wanted to peek at and made the program print for us:. Second I wanted to print out the number of games that was played, and how many of those included a home underdog.
Next was how big our starting bankroll was, and then finally what our ending bankroll was after the season ended. Here is the output when I run the code: This after bets placed, where 30 of those won. This is likely to be a good result based purely on luck, but it could be the basis for further analysis. Maybe you want to check some of the other seasons as well to get a bigger sample size.
Another thing could be to check how it would have fared if you bet on draws where the odds were 3. There are plenty of things you can explore once you know the basics of coding, so if you have any interest in betting on sports it is highly recommended getting into coding. Now that we have looked at some basic coding and simple betting angles, we can move on to some bigger and potentially better things.
Simple angles like the ones I have shown above are usually not good for profitable betting in future games and are not predictive features, but more patterns that will emerge. That is what we are going to try our hand at now when we move over to cover the Poisson distribution. The way that we get started creating a model is to first identify what we are looking to predict. And for most sports this is simply determining which teams will score the most goals or points, and concede the least of them.
To do this we can look at the different factors that correlates with high goal scoring, like possession of the ball, shots on goal and other relevant ones. In this example however, we will go with a much simpler approach as we will simply look at the previous scoring rates of teams and concede rates and compare them to the league averages.
A model that is often referenced when people are looking for ways to start predicting football matches is the excellent paper by Dixon and Coles, Modelling Association Football Scores and Inefficiencies in the Football Betting Market , mentioned earlier on this page. They propose that you can look at past results and scores between different teams within the same league system and from these past results be able to predict future scores and results.
We are now going to build a very basic version of this model to use for predicting future soccer results. Let us just get right into the bits and pieces of the code. You can scroll down and find the full code if you want to read it in one go. From here I will simply explain what I have done and what the different pieces of the code does. First we import the different modules that we need in this script.
For now this is the csv , math , ast and numpy. Note that you must use numpy instead of np in our code then. Most of these will already be installed on your python installations, but numpy you probably need to fetch yourself. There are plenty of guides out there to show you how to do it, so a simple google search should be helpful. Here we are going to create our first function that we can reuse. Since we are going to use Poisson a couple of times throughout the script, we you can rather write out the code once and then use it again as often you like with just write a short line instead of the whole sequence.
The variables in the parenthesis is the arguments you must provide when you use it. Then you write the sequence you want it to run. However, it pays to do some preparation and planning first. Being prepared will help you get more out of the learning process, and having a proper plan in place will make it easier to put what you learn into practice. So, what sort of preparation should you do then? Well, the first step is to ensure that you understand all the basics of sports betting.
If your sports betting knowledge is minimal or even obsolete, then we recommend reading the article listed below. This covers the fundamental aspects of sports betting that you absolutely HAVE to know. Feeling a little overwhelmed? Although this probably seems like a lot to take in, most of it is relatively straightforward. Everything you need to know is in the following section of our sports betting guide. Getting a refresher on the basics before focusing solely on strategy is always a good idea.
Actually going through the process of making selections and placing wagers makes everything about sports betting a lot easier to understand. A little practice goes a long way when it comes to learning about sports betting strategy. The next step is to plan how to get there. Again, this is something we can help with. In the following article, we explain why having some kind of formal plan is so important.
We also detail what your plan should include, and offer some advice for putting it together. What exactly IS sports betting strategy? How does learning about strategy and handicapping improve my chances of making money?
We get asked these questions a lot. Not in just a sentence or two anyway. The only way to answer them properly is to provide a complete overview of sports handicapping and betting strategy. Reading this article will give you a solid understanding of exactly what sports betting strategy entails, and what handicapping is. It also explains how both these things can bring you success. Following them will ensure you approach sports betting strategy in the right way.
No two sports betting strategies are exactly the same. However, most of them follow the same basic format. They typically involve looking at specific information or data and analyzing it to draw appropriate conclusions. The end goal is usually to assign probabilities to the various possible outcomes of an event, then use those probabilities to make your selections.
You must also be able to assess probability as accurately as possible. The following articles feature advice on how to analyze certain information and data that is especially valuable. Statistical analysis is the key to lots of betting strategies. This article teaches the basics of statistical analysis, with lots of useful advice. In this article, we explain how to identify trends and analyze their value.
We also look at some of the best ways to use them. Form and momentum are important factors in most sports. Analyzing their impact is not as simple as just looking at recent results though. This article explains what you need to do in detail. Situational factors are basically the circumstances surrounding a sports event.
They include things like the venue, the weather and injuries. The following article focuses on how to use your research and analysis to assess probability. This is an absolutely vital skill that you should really try to master as soon as you can. This part of our strategy guide explains several basic strategies for betting on sports. Some are more effective than others, but each one serves a purpose in the right situations. The article featured below covers a selection of simple strategies that are ideal for beginners to experiment with.
The next three articles feature various strategies for some of the alternatives to traditional fixed odds betting.
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