Computer scientists take hats off to sports bookies

Computer scientists at Carnegie Mellon University say plowing through millions of tweets to gauge fan sentiment probably isn't going to help you make a mint betting on NFL games, though doing this themselves has given them newfound respect for sports bookies.

The researchers, who will report the findings of a study of three years' worth of Twitter posts at an upcoming analytics conference in Prague, were trying to figure out if crunching numbers based on the microblogging site's content could make predicting football game outcomes any easier.

Their conclusion was that using machine learning tools to analyze the tweets (42 million a day during the 2012 season) wasn't helpful with winning over/under bets or predicting straight game results, but was slightly helpful in picking against the spread (55% accurate). Why? Because bookmakers take into account things like fan sentiment in setting point spreads, and the CMU researchers were analyzing tweets based on volumes of hashtags about specific teams, plus looking for positive or negative words in such posts.

"One thing that surprised us is how hard setting the point spread is to do well," said Christopher Dyer, assistant professor in CMU's Language Technologies Institute, in a statement. "And the sports books are very, very good."

It wouldn't surprise the researchers if sports bookies are doing a little Twitter analyzation of their own.

However, they probably aren't getting funding for their research like CMU, whose work on this has been backed by the National Science Foundation and Sandia National Laboratories. Researchers in recent years have analyzed tweets for various reasons, from predicting elections to spotting disease hotspots.

Math and computing whizzes increasingly have been using their minds and machines to forecast sports results, too, including for major league baseball and college basketball.

Bob Brown tracks network research in his Alpha Doggs blog and Facebook page, as well on Twitter and Google +. 

Read more about software in Network World's Software section.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

5 cornerstones of a strong digital culture

Creating a strong company culture may sound like a daunting task, but it’s actually pretty straightforward. In fact, company culture is created in exactly the same fashion as a religion or democracy. Behaviours created from the organisation’s inception are reinforced over time by leadership, attracting like-minded people and eventually reaching critical mass to become an accepted ‘truth’.

Anthony Stevens

Founder and CEO, Digital Asset Ventures

Should you rebuild your company’s tech stack in blockchain?

The question I get asked most regularly these days is: ‘Do I need to rebuild my company’s systems on Blockchain?’ And the answer, every time, is ‘No, you’re asking the wrong question’.

Michelle O'Keeffe

CEO, Engaging.io

Customer value proposition: Getting the brand promise to your customers right

Throughout my career, I have witnessed a litany of brand names that profess to have a unique customer value proposition (CVP). In reality, however, they’ve had little more than a ‘value proposition’: A simple list of benefits applied to a general audience.

Ric Navarro

Global director of marketing and communications, Norman, Disney & Young

RE: Sales and marketing SLAs, often the choke point isn't the teams but them getting the data into the tools they want to use with the da...

Ed Fry

Why sales and marketing alignment is more important than ever

Read more

Amazing article Mitchell. I really enjoyed the read. Chatbots will be critical in the future evolution of banking and financial services ...

Giridhar Prathap Reddy

7 businesses successfully implementing chatbots

Read more

Thank you for the good and very helpful information. It is very interesting. I love all the things you share and see your beautiful creat...

รัตนาวดี ภูมิวรรณ

Former eHarmony marketing chief joins telco startup

Read more

Colin Kaepernick, not Mike Kapernick.

thisisw

Zenith's innovation leader: Mid-digital age not benefitting media, brands or consumers

Read more

AGA KHAN HOSPITAL is in need of kidney donors for the sum of 2 crore, Contact us today if you want to sell your kidney for money, and thi...

Sebastian Friedrich

Mindshare gets behind blockchain advertising alliance

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in