All you need to know about sports betting algorithms


Alex W



Huge sports fan. Football & MLS fanatic. Lover of all things gambling - Sports betting, Casino, Poker and of course, Las Vegas.

If you want to know how to start betting on sports, there are numerous different tips and strategies out there that can help.

Ultimately it is challenging trying to predict sports outcomes, so any help along the way is valuable. When you sign up for an online sportsbook or mobile wagering apps, the goal is to make money betting online. One of the ways to do this is to utilize a sports algorithm.

Now, you may think creating a sports betting algorithm or betting algorithms, in general, are dull and complicated, and you would be right. Building a gambling algorithm of any kind takes hours and hours of entering data, setting up a sports betting database, creating spreadsheets, and then extensively testing to ensure it works. Once you have gone through all of that work, there is still no guarantee that the sports betting model you have created will start producing frequent winners. However, although what we describe may sound hard, it can be a wonderful thing to make if you are a passionate sports fan and enjoy sports betting.

Additionally, if you have your own functioning model, there is no need to use a Vegas bookie or read up on inside Vegas lines.

Bookmakers and sports betting operators employ people with the highest maths qualifications from the best schools in the world who work 24/7 with numerous tools at their disposal to create the lines/odds/spreads that bettors try and beat. Consequently, it will take a considerable amount of time and effort to create a sports prediction algorithm that can win. However, if you input the correct info, you can come up with a winning formula. So, if you are wondering how to create a sports betting model, where do you begin?

Sports Betting Algorithm

An Endless Amount Of Data

Your model will need a vast amount of data. The more data you input, the better your algorithm will be. It is just as critical what data you put into the model. It is absolutely essential that you have a considerable amount of knowledge of whatever sport you are building the algorithm for. You should have the mindset of thinking about the most crucial stats in determining the outcome of a game and then importing them into your model.

Let’s look at football as an example and use a scenario where you are attempting to create an algorithm to predict NFL games. First, we should look at the key stats that typically decide the outcome of a game. These are points scored, points allowed, kicking, punting, penalties, home or road game, Red Zone efficiency for offense and defense, third-down efficiency, kick and punt returns, turnovers, and win-loss record. There will be loads more pieces of data that could be entered into an algorithm for football. However, the easy part is thinking of what data could be used. Next, comes the tricky part, how do you weight that data so it all balances out? This takes a massive amount of time and testing.

Before you place a bet with real money, run the algorithm against games that have already taken place and determine its accuracy in those past games. It is important that you keep making improvements to and continuously tweak the weighting so that the results are more accurate with the past performance. Think of this as almost machine learning sports betting where you are trying to increase the probability of having consistent winning bets.

Where Is The Data Source?

There are many services available that can offer you all the data you need to create your algorithm. Some of these data sources are free, while some with huge reserves of data can cost a fortune.

To save yourself a considerable amount of money and the tedious and complicated data entry process, we highly recommend investing in some data scraping software. It is worth the value, as doing this will allow you to scrape data from websites directly into your spreadsheets. Learning how to do this will save you hours of time. In fact, it will save you weeks in terms of data collection as well as the subscription cost of paid services. Additionally, the learning process is straightforward nowadays due to the impressive range of intuitive software available.

Other Example Models

Before you delve into the world of online sports and algorithms, it would be wise to look at some other, more prominent data-driven algorithms that predict sports and football. One such model is the ESPN Football Power Index. This system aggregates stats and determines the probability of one team beating the other.

Another company we recommend taking a look at is analytics giant FiveThirtyEight. They run scores of football predictions using their ELO method. They also run an annual contest to see if anybody can defeat their algorithm. As a nice bonus, they even let you have a peek into their code, which you can then use as a template for your future algorithms, which you could use for future sporting events.

Finally, a third company that would be beneficial to use as an example is Swedish-based TheOddsFactory. They run Monte Carlo Simulations on sporting events globally. They play the game 10,000 times using their program and then provide the most likely result of the game. Additionally, the company has helpful information on its website that can assist. The sports betting stock of companies such as these continues to rise.


As we mentioned above, you definitely need to be a passionate sports fan and interested in betting to be willing to go through the mundane work required to create a sports betting algorithm. However, if you are patient and are willing to lay the foundations and stick to a strategy, we are confident you can create something that will bring you some profit, entertainment, and excitement.