Nov 4, 2015
Nov 4, 2015

How to find academic publications on sports betting

How to find academic publications on sports betting
An increasing number of academics are turning their focus to sports betting but how do you go about finding and getting free access to this cutting edge research? Dominic Cortis a regular Pinnacle contributor, and lecturer in maths, explains.

Sports modelling and betting markets are of great interest to many researchers, especially those from an economic or mathematical background. Historically, the initial development of probability was due to gambling.

The history of probabilistic studies

An Italian priest Gerolamo Cardano was the first to write about probability in the game of dice. There is also an interesting exchange of letters in the 17th century between Pascal and Pierre de Fermat discussing a problem of (again) dice. They both got it fascinatedly wrong.

The key difference the study of probability brought about, is the belief that there are multiple possible outcomes due to chance, rather than to gods will. Without this concept, we wouldnt have statistics, the mother of all sciences.

The rise of sports analytics

Fast forward to today, most recent probabilistic techniques were developed within the financial sector. The interest in probabilistic studies within the betting markets however remains strong, as sports betting is similar to financial trading and there is a sufficiently large number of participants involved in it. Research in this sector tends to come from economists.

The Moneyball approach refers to the success of Oakland Athletics baseball team that was based on statistical techniques; published in a book and a film starring Brad Pitt.  Although his was not the first time statistics were used extensively, it did increase the awareness about sports analytics.

The research conducted in this area is particularly extensive as the sports industry has become a financial behemoth in itself. It is well-known that such analysis has creeped its way in football too with notable teams being Southampton and Brentford FC.

Some researchers compare the predictive capability of their models by beating a betting market. Researchers in this domain are typically of a predictive analysis or other quantitative background.

The best starting point when in search of such a paper is to use google scholar, which is a search engine for academic publications. You can also create alerts to follow particular titles or authors.

On reading a paper, take a note of which other articles it refers to (called citing). Details of citations are usually to be found in the references section at the end of a paper. Similarly, using the google search engine, you can find other articles that are citing the one that interests you.

Academic publications are typically published in a refereed journal. Refereed means that the article was anonymously vetted for quality and suitability of the publication in the journal.

That means that all attempts to publish academic material are checked by other researchers who may accept or reject the paper altogether. Only the accepted ones are published.

Top online journals on sports betting

This results of this peer review is that all papers published in an academic journal meet a certain level of academic aptitude. Some journals tend to be of higher quality, which sometimes means that they reject many more papers than they accept. Some of the top journals that publish in sports analytics or betting markets are:

The bad news is that some of these are behind a pay-wall. So, what if you want to read a paper which you cannot access? Firstly, if you are a student at any educational institution you probably have access to the paper through your library.

Secondly, you can google scholar the paper as it might be available as a pre-print elsewhere.

Finally, consider contacting the author or viewing their personal webpage. It might also be available through ResearchGate, a networking package for academics.

Some academic publications are open-access: that is free for all to read. Typically this is a journal policy or the author pays a fee to publish or a sponsor has paid an additional fee to make it Open Access.

Pinnacle, for example, have recently paid the Open Access fee for my latest publication publication Expected Values and Variances in Bookmaker Payouts: A Theoretical Approach Towards Setting Limits on Odds.

Good luck with your hunting for academic publications!

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