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

How to create profitable pricing

How do we price goods and services? As business leaders, we have asked ourselves this question since the history of trading.

Lee Naylor

Managing partner, The Leading Edge

Sport and sponsorship: The value of event sponsorship

Australia’s cricketers captured the nation’s attention during their recent run to the semi-final of the ICC Men’s World Cup. While the tournament ultimately ended in defeat, for over a month it provoked a sense of belonging, hope and empowerment for millions of people across Australia. Cricket, and sport in general, has a near-unique ability to empower individuals, irrelevant of their background, demographic or nationality.

Nikhil Arora

Vice-president and managing director, GoDaddy India

AI ethics: Designing for trust

As artificial intelligence (AI) becomes much more prevalent and increasingly a way of life, more questions are being asked than answered about the ethical implications of its adoption.

Katja Forbes

Founder and chief, sfyte

I spend a lot of time in my professional life as a provider of marketing solutions trying to persuade customers that CX, UX, UI and Custo...

sketharaman

Gartner VP: Why CMOs and CIOs must band together to make CX a discipline

Read more

I live the best deals at LA Police Gear.

Tyrus Rechs

6 Ways to ramp up Social Media to Your Web Design

Read more

Its absolute over priced acquisition. The CEO, must be fired for this all cash transaction. Absolutely no justification for prospective P...

about_face

Analysts question long-term play of SAP's acquisition of Qualtrics

Read more

Very well written Nikhil! Indeed this is a big ticket investment, but the impact on brand, sales and employee motivation should make it w...

Yugal Sachdeva

Sport and sponsorship: The value of event sponsorship

Read more

As someone with both experience in marketing and working with UiPath both, I can say that I cannot wait to see more marketing processes u...

CiGen RPA

What robotic process automation can do for marketers

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in