AI and Sports Betting
Huge potential benefit to humanity or existential threat? These are the two polarized opinions about the effect that artificial intelligence will have on the world that we live in.
Elon Musk has even declared that it means we won’t need to work in the future. Easy for a billionaire to pronounce but perhaps a little less practical for the rest of us.
But, while this may be a wild prediction and projection, AI is definitely making an impact in virtually every sector, and that includes sports betting. What’s more, it’s affecting it in more ways than you might imagine.
Generative v Analytical
Before we get into the precise details of what these uses might be, it’s important to differentiate between the two general types of AI. The first of these is generative. This is the kind that actually produces content of some kind.
Perhaps the most high profile form of this in recent times has been the arrival of Chat GPT. As anyone who has used it will know, this can produce everything from articles to scripts when given a simple instruction about what to write about.
Analytical AI, on the other hand, is capable of wrangling and analyzing huge amounts of data in order to do everything from spot patterns to pinpointing anomalies that might pass un-noticed by a human analyst.
Data analysis and prediction
At the heart of any sports book is the range of bets it offers across the sports it features. These must be set at odds that realistically reflect the probability of defined outcomes while also offering value to the betting customers.
This can cover everything from game odds for basketball fans to offering odds on which NFL team will win the next Super Bowl.
AI can draw on many streams of information to create these odds with far greater accuracy than ever before. It achieves this by using algorithms that take everything from current and past performance, injuries to the teams’ players and even the predicted weather on the day of the game into account.
Live betting adjustments
For many fans, it’s not just the pre-game betting that’s so appealing. They also like to be able to enhance their watching experiences by indulging in a little live betting. This may be on who will score the next touchdown or home run, to give just a couple of examples.
Thanks to its lightning-fast data processing capabilities, AI can accurately provide odds for these predictions. This dynamic use of the technology does a great deal to encourage and promote greater engagement. Good news for the fans who are offered an increased number of betting options – and good news for the sportsbooks thanks to the additional revenue it helps to generate.
More personalized experiences
A critical feature of AI is that it is constantly learning from the cues that are delivered to it. So most sportsbooks have set it to analyze the behaviors and preferences of its players. Armed with this knowledge, it the allows sportsbook operators to adapt and adjust their offering right down to an individual level.
It may entail promoting the kinds of bets that the individual player favors or using chatbots to communicate with them in ever-more realistic ways. In doing so it undoubtedly generates increased loyalty, and greater enjoyment, amongst players.
Eliminating fraud and foul play
In any sphere in which there’s money to be made, fraudulent activity and other forms of cheating are always going to be a risk. It also seems like no sport is exempt from this – even tennis.
But AI is also helping to identify and eliminate this too. It is achieving this by identifying unexpected results and behavior in sporting events which then raises a red flag demanding greater investigation. It doesn’t simply manage this through examining results, it can also take social media activity into account as well. So if there is a particular buzz about a match or event, this will never go un-noticed.
Unfortunately, some betting fans will also always try to game the system. But their erratic behavior and betting patterns can also be quickly identified, leading to closer investigation of what they may actually be doing and whether they may be breaking the law.
Increasing player engagement
It’s important to remember that the sports teams and players themselves can also have an indirect influence on sports betting by providing content. So more and more they are also using AI to generate news and information for fans. And, the more engaged they are, the more likely they may be to place a bet on the upcoming action.
So, as you can see, AI is having a huge effect on many areas of sports and sports betting. As to whether it will prove Elon Musk right by replacing the sports people themselves, that’s about as likely to happen as his planned colony on Mars.