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Statisticians from Cardiff University take on bookmakers with big data

How to use stats to beat the bookies?

If you are a gambler, this probably sounds like a dream come true. However, a team of statisticians is actually working on ways to defeat the bookmakers by predicting the results of sports events. The statisticians at Cardiff Uni are using big data they have collected from thousands of past events. The mathematicians have created specially-programmed robots and use their analysis to make wagers. Professor Anatoly Zhigljavsky stated that they do not feel it as money. They consider it as a challenge.

His team has recorded about three years of data from approximately 100 football leagues all around the globe. This includes results as well as in-play data, like the number of goals, red cards and yellow cards in every game. The team and the robots analyse all of the data. Afterwards, they compare the odds that bookies offer for matches that are similar to the ones they analysed to the odds they have calculated to be reasonable.

Zhigljavsky stated that he and his team also produce strategies that are more sophisticated than those that their AI use. The professor also added that the team had detected wagering scams in the past, like match-fixing, by spotting unusual inconsistencies in the odds.

Nevertheless, he admitted that the students enjoy it and appreciate the opportunity to apply all of their theories to work. In the field of statistics and mathematics, you rarely get such an opportunity while you are studying.

A student at the University, Ben Morgan, stated that they recently had placed several wagers. He added that some of them had done better than others.