How data is used in sports betting
Data is a key component of operating an online sportsbook, but is also made up of many different strands that enable sportsbooks to produce and market offers to their players. Thomas McGrath, Chief Commercial Officer at TXODDS , explains the role data plays in helping bookmakers format their offers.
Sports betting data is one of the most important components of operating an online sportsbook and in many ways is the product that bettors view, analyse and play when they place their digital sports wagers before or during a sporting event.
In fact, and without wanting to resort to too much hyperbole, it would not be unfair to say that odds data is the most important component when it comes to operating an online sportsbook. As a sports betting technology and odds provider, readers might expect TXODDS to come up with such a statement, but without accurate data there is no sports betting.
Clunky turn of phrase aside, the term sports betting data can sound all-encompassing and somewhat vague, and to a certain extent, it is. This is because it refers to the many different data points that make up the overall product and how operators use them to bring their betting offers to market.
In addition, it can be difficult for those not familiar (and even for those who are familiar with it) with the sports betting industry to understand how all those data points interact with one another and come together to form the final product that bettors see and use.
So when we talk about sports betting data and how it is used by providers such as TXODDS and our customers, what are we referring to?
How are odds feeds delivered to sports betting operators?
Sports betting data is delivered through odds feeds, these form the backbone of the betting markets sportsbooks present to their customers. The feeds are streamed to bookmakers in real time and in a unified format that enables fast and consistent delivery through server-sent events (SSE) push technology. The SSE delivery method ensures ultra-low latency and enables automatic updates from a server via an HTTP connection.
This allows for continuous data streams to our clients and is designed to enhance native, cross-browser streaming through a single application program interface (API) integration that brings together all the different feeds.
When are they delivered?
The feeds are delivered pre-match and during events in the form of live betting odds. It’s worth reminding ourselves how far these betting odds have evolved over the past 10 to 20 years. Whether it’s US lower league baseball data or Latin American Apertura/Clausura football events, betting operators now offer markets on nearly every sporting league in the world and they expect odds feeds that reflect that worldwide reach.
This geographical spread has also been matched by the development of new betting products.
- Pre-match betting continues to represent a major percentage of bets placed in online sports betting, but, using football as an example, pre-match offers have evolved from the longstanding 1X2 (home/draw/away) bets to include offers on everything from first goalscorer times, to both teams to score (during one half or both halves) to the amount of free-kicks, cards or corners there will be during a match.
Betbuilders, accumulators and parlays
- Whether bettors are in the US or UK they will use different names to describe these multi-outcome bets, but all fulfill the same function and are now a standard and required product that sports betting data providers are enabling.
- Their influence on bookmakers’ financial performances is also vital, and one only needs to look at the US market and its market leader FanDuel lead to see the role accumulators/parlays have played in its success story so far.
- The development of pre-match offers has been matched (some would say overtaken) by the rise of live betting that has come with the explosion in smartphones since Apple launched the first iPhone in 2007.
- The development in mobile betting apps, reliable connectivity and ability to bet throughout events, whether it’s during tennis, cricket or football matches; has led to myriad new offers that have been harnessed by the use of live and historical data.
- We are also seeing, especially in the US, the rise of micro-betting, which essentially ‘gamifies’ the sports betting experience through binary betting options on what might happen in the next five or ten minutes.
As mentioned throughout this article, when thinking about online sports wagering, betting data in many ways is the product and is used in many different ways to ensure online bookmakers can present vast amounts of betting choices that their players can avail themselves of as they plan when, how and what they will bet on.
For odds feeds and betting data providers such as TXODDS, our focus is always on reliability, uptime and simplicity: ensuring our best in class products are accessible through efficient, single integration APIs that bring the best betting products to players worldwide.