Gambling data as a proxy for excitement in sports

Posted to Statistics  |  Tags: ,  |  Nathan Yau

After he noticed gambling odds fluctuate wildly at the end of a football game, Todd Schneider realized a correlation between betting odds and game excitement. The Gambletron 2000 is a fun look into the proxy.

It occurred to me then that variance in gambling market odds is a good way to quantify how exciting a game is. Modern betting exchanges allow gamblers to bet throughout the course of a game. The odds, which can also be expressed as win probabilities, continually readjust as the game progresses. My claim is that the more the odds fluctuate during a game, the more exciting that game is.

Games and odds update automatically up to the minute, with a highlight on the “hotness” of games, or the amount of variation over time. A blowout game shows a line that heads towards 100 percent probability that a team will win, whereas a comeback game shows a dip towards 100 percent for one team and then a trend back towards 100 percent for the opposition.

I had the odds for the Golden State-Portland game open for part of the time tonight, and it was kind of a fun accompaniment.

Mobile alert app for sports, anyone? Current offerings are abysmal.

Favorites

Unemployment in America, Mapped Over Time

Watch the regional changes across the country from 1990 to 2016.

Divorce Rates for Different Groups

We know when people usually get married. We know who never marries. Finally, it’s time to look at the other side: divorce and remarriage.

The Best Data Visualization Projects of 2011

I almost didn’t make a best-of list this year, but as I clicked through the year’s post, it was hard …

How We Spend Our Money, a Breakdown

We know spending changes when you have more money. Here’s by how much.