Understanding Statistics and Feeds in Sports Betting
The first sport where a heavy emphasis was placed on highly detailed statistics was baseball. The practice of paying close attention to minute data has since spread to other sports, and the availability of highly detailed statistics for betting has added a new depth to the sports betting experience.
Sports betting data is used by bookmakers to set their odds and by punters to place their bets. Combining in-depth knowledge of a team’s statistics helps bookmakers and punters predict how two teams will stack up against each other, as well as the performances of the individual players.
Traditionally, the only statistic that counted in football was the number of goals scored. As a low-scoring game, this kept the volume of statistics for betting at a very low level. However, following the example of baseball, football sports betting data feeds now offer a wide variety of statistics for punters to examine when placing their bets.
Operators often pay for their data services and are not interested in sharing their information for free, so copying information from another platform could result in legal disputes. Below is an example of some statistics you would find in a data feed for the fictional La Liga Grande tournament.
|Team||Tournament||Goals||Shots Per Game||Discipline||Possesion%||Pass%||Aerials Won|
|Malaga||La Liga Grande||33||15.8||19 Yellow, 1 Red||54%||87.8%||8.1|
|Algeciras||La Liga Grande||24||21.4||18 Yellow, 3 Red||61.3%||91.6%||14.4|
|Tenerife||La Liga Grande||27||12.4||16 Yellow, 1 Red||49%||83.7%||13.6|
|Team||Tournament||Shots pg (per game)||Tackles pg||Interceptions pg||Fouls pg||Offsides pg|
|Malaga||La Liga Grande||9.8||21.4||11.9||13.9||1.9|
|Algeciras||La Liga Grande||13.2||18.3||12.4||9.3||1.6|
|Tenerife||La Liga Grande||16.1||19.9||9.2||11.6||1.3|
|Team||Tournament||Shots pg (per game)||Shots OT (overtime) pg||Dribbles pg||Fouls pg|
|Malaga||La Liga Grande||19.4||5.8||15||11|
|Algeciras||La Liga Grande||13.8||6.5||15.2||10.2|
|Tenerife||La Liga Grande||11||4.4||11.2||12.7|
As seen in the charts, in addition to goals scored, data feeds also publish shots taken, possession time, fouls, tackles, and a range of other statistics. As thorough as this list is, statistics can be even more detailed. Shots and fouls can be subdivided by the area of the field in which they occurred. Blocks can be broken down into shots blocked, crosses blocked, and passes blocked. Moreover, all of these statistics can be examined on a minute-by-minute basis.
Hockey is another sport with a variety of betting statistics. At the surface level, the most important betting stats for hockey are wins, losses, and ties, but the sport’s in-depth statistics also include:
- Overtime Losses
- Regular Plus Overtime Wins
- Winning Percentage
- Goals For/Against
- Shoot-out Games Won
- Power Play Percentage
- Shots For Percentage
- Shots Against Percentage
- Face-Off Win Percentage
Individual player statistics include points per game, power play goals, assists, and more.
Basketball is another example of a sport with a greater depth of statistical information than at first meets the eye. Keeping track of points in such a high-scoring game is task enough in itself, but it turns out there are a host of other betting stats for punters and bookmakers to look into. Some of them include:
- Field Goals Made/Attempted
- Field Goal Percentage
- Two-Pointers Made/Attempted
- Three-Pointers Made/Attempted
- Offensive/Defensive Rebounds
- Personal/Technical Fouls
For each of the sports listed above - and many more - all of these betting statistics combine to create a more nuanced picture of the game. In addition to providing a wealth of information to be used for traditional forms of sports betting like outrights and over/unders, the abundance of statistics for sports betting creates ample opportunity for the increasingly popular prop bets, or specials. Additionally, data feeds offer detailed statistics on players’ individual performances. Using these team-wide and individual statistics, sportsbooks and punters alike can make informed decisions about how to set their spreads and place their wagers. Sports bettors have come to expect a very detailed data feed from bookmakers.
Official vs. Unofficial Sports Feeds
Sources of data feeds are also a source of debate. Speed and accuracy are sometimes competing virtues in the world of sports data. There are both official and unofficial sports data services. Official data sources, often the teams or leagues themselves, have a number of advantages. Official sources have real-time access to data, making official data faster than data from unofficial sources. Official sources also have access to deeper information, given their direct access to the venues and their facilities. Additionally, official sources of data have the element of integrity and authority.
Some experts believe that all sportsbooks should use the same official data sources in order to avoid situations where punters who place the same bet with different bookmakers have different results.
However, there is much to be said for unofficial sources of data. Proponents of unofficial data sources argue that the speed with which official sources provide data creates opportunities for inaccuracy. Also, reducing the number of available sources increases the chances for monopoly, which carries the risk of data manipulation.