May 2, 2013
May 2, 2013

What can baseball betting teach soccer bettors?

What can baseball betting teach soccer bettors?
To the minds of many soccer bettors, the eye test is the one true method of understanding the fluid game of soccer. ‘Go with what you know’ is the attitude, but without supporting data, do we know much at all? Perhaps taking some tips from stats-heavy baseball could improve our soccer betting, so we asked Senior Traders from both sports for their insights.

Lead EPL Trader: “The big difference between soccer and most other sports is that the concept of applying statistical analysis to soccer is quite a bit more immature than it is in baseball, basketball, or hockey,”

“A lot of bettors are pretty familiar with the analytics applied to fantasy sports in those areas and are ready to adapt them to betting, while in soccer the entire analytics concept is still picking up steam.”

Baseball is alien to many of Pinnacle’ bettors, in part because it deviates so completely from soccer. Each play has a start and end point, with a focus on the battle between pitcher and hitter.

It’s that focus that makes baseball easier to analyse than a sport like soccer. Baseball is also noteworthy for its meticulous recording of every season, game, inning, at bat and pitch, which provides the kind of data availability soccer bettors can only dream of.

The articles at Pinnacle attempt to provide some statistical insight into soccer betting. From examining how bookings affect soccer outcomes to finding new ways to analyse goalkeeper performance, our soccer articles are an important destination for anyone looking to improve their soccer betting results.

It’s not just a lack of information that the trader thinks is a problem – and not only for soccer. “I would suggest most bettors rely on gut too much, not just soccer bettors.” A human’s gut instincts are scientifically known as heuristics – something discussed in more detail here. Essentially, our heuristics – developed to help us survive and evolve with limited information – can actually play against us in our modern world.

How baseball helps soccer bettors

Lead Baseball Trader: “There is a lot of data in a form that is easier to utilize than in any other sport, there are so many different angles that the data could be looked at in order to find a pattern that a smart bettor could take advantage of.”

“You could look at something on the league level (Teams play better coming off of flights of less than hours), the team level (a certain team might struggle when they face left-handed pitchers), and the player level (some pitchers have more success pitching indoors, and others vice versa).”

“Since there is so much data available in baseball, a smart bettor may be able to figure out a real trend that in other sports you wouldn’t be able to tell if it’s a small sample size.”

The soccer trader agrees that similar patterns exist in the soccer world, listing Pythagorean expectation models and Simon Gleave’s ISG Coefficient as examples where data has offered predictive power in soccer circles. We’ll discuss these models in the coming weeks.

“The causation chains are much longer and more complex in soccer, and a lot of the current work in the field is trying to work out what really matters. On the other hand, the betting odds in soccer probably don’t take nearly as many stats into account as the ones in baseball, so if you develop new ways to look at the game, you stand a reasonable chance of profiting from it.”

…And there’s the point. By equipping yourself with data alongside the eye test, you better position yourself for success, especially when so few bettors are applying a valuable tool.

The data protects the user from faulty eye tests, while the eye tests act as both a starting point and confirmation – just ask baseball bettors. Apply the attitude to one sport, and you can then apply it to all.


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