Official and Unofficial Data in Sports Betting: Comparison and Evaluation
Sports betting data is the factual information that comes from the statistics generated by sporting events. Punters need data to make wagering decisions and develop staking strategies. Roughly, it is possible to divide data into two categories: official and unofficial. Official data comes from official sports leagues, which provide valuable and reliable information. Then, that information is transformed into a feed complete with updates, betting odds and scores by third parties - companies that offer data solutions for sportsbooks.
Bookmakers often face choices regarding official or unofficial data sources and providers. In this academy article, we will look at the benefits of official data, consider the advantages of unofficial data, and analyze the reasons why both are used by betting companies.
Benefits of official data
The first crucial benefit of official data we will look at is its speed. Companies that offer official data take it from trusted official sources that have the best and fastest access to sports venues. Betting platforms that use official data display various changes quickly and update statistics and information in real-time, which helps punters to create better strategies for successful betting.
- Deeper performance data
As the industry is growing fast, data connected to individual players has an additional value as well. Unique individual data is hard to access as it is usually collected by the camera systems in sporting venues or chips in the players’ uniforms. The access to such deep data is under tight control. Therefore, it is beneficial to have deals with leagues in this case. Leagues provide their partners with exclusive information that is otherwise hard to gather.
- Safety and integrity
Advocates of official data usually point out that punters feel more secure if they know that bets are decided according to the official record. Official data ensures visibility and transparency, attracting customers and making them feel they can trust the betting platform.
Arguments in favor of unofficial data
Some insiders argue that betting companies should use the official league data for wagers to avoid possibilities of manipulation and falsification and give consumers confidence in the bookmaker.
The problem with this argument is that official and unofficial data may have small differences due to delays or information sources. When bookmakers use different data sources, it could result in different outcomes for the same bet. If two people place the exact same bet with different bookmakers, results may differ depending on which data the bookmaker is using. This can seem unfair, so some experts argue that to ensure fairness and accuracy, all sports betting operators should use the official data provided by sports leagues. However, advocates of unofficial data say that the fastest does not necessarily mean the most accurate, as the high-speed official data may not be analyzed enough to be one hundred percent fair and accurate.
There is a different side of this issue as well, as fewer data sources means there is a greater risk of manipulation. If there is just one official source of data, the risk of falsification, corruption, and scandals increases. Having fewer data sources also prevents the level of competition which is necessary to set the fairest prices on the market.
So, according to this argument, integrity and transparency come not from the official data, but actually from the availability of multiple sources of unofficial data. The dominance of a single source of official data may lead to the creation of an information monopoly, so there will be less demand for innovation in the data sector.
Although official data can be more detailed, there are still things happening during the game that are not reflected in the data feed. This may refer to injuries during the sporting event. This information is still available, so adding this data helps to create a whole set of betting lines.
Mix of official and unofficial data
Industry experts believe that the real test of official data is whether you are creating a valuable product that is appealing to people and attractive to consumers. The official data market faces challenges, as unofficial data can be used effectively as well. Therefore, major data providers usually offer a mix of official and unofficial data.
Operators may take data from both official and unofficial sources, but the thing to keep in mind is that if you copy data directly from other platforms instead of collecting it yourself, you will be accessing the database of someone who has probably invested in it. Therefore, copying data without permission may lead to legal disputes.
In the future, the market will continue to develop and mature, and there could be significant competition among data providers, ensuring that no information monopoly will be established.