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Session 1: Behavioral Forecasting in Wagering Trends

By: John Ryan
Date: Sep 27, 2018
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The West Gate Super Contest and the smaller Gold contest attract many sports wager enthusiasts with increasing numbers of them with each passing year. With the increase in entrants, comes even more data that I can extract and scrape and organize so I can then perform what is commonly called Behavioral Forecasting among my circle of data scientist colleagues. More on this later and in the weeks ahead. In Week 3 the top-5 teams selected by the 3,125 Westgate Super Contest contestants was New Orleans (823), Seattle (806), Baltimore (756), San Francisco (707), and New England (678). Those five combined for a 3-2 ATS mark. In Week1, the top-5 selected teams went an impressive 4-1 ATS and then in Week 2 went an imperfect 0-5 ATS. So, for the first 3 weeks of the 2018 NFL season, the top-5 selected teams have gone 7-8 ATS. I have studied the contest for more than a decade and over the years have applied advanced mathematical techniques to the dataset and have gained valuable insights to contrarian metrics. An example of a contrarian metric is when betting consensus shows that the public has an irrational exuberance for a team and reflects more than 75% of the number of bets made were on that team. For whatever reason, more times than not, the opponent of that team wins and covers easily shocking the public bettors including ESPN media headlines. So, we will start with a simple query showing the teams that have been selected in the current week from entrants that have gone 5-0 ATS the previous week. Out of the pool of 3,125 entries only 32 entries had a perfect 5-0 ATS week in Week 1 and no entries are perfect through two weeks of contest results. In week 3, there are five teams tied on top of the contest standings with 13-2 ATS marks. I become very interested to know what teams these entrants selected now and from that query identify the most popular team selected. In Week 3, the teams that went 5-0 ATS had selected Washington, Detroit, Oakland, San Francisco, and Arizona as the most popular teams. These teams went 2-3 ATS and San Francisco also appeared in the overall most popular top-5. No one could have predicted the season-ending injury to Garroppolo, but a loss is a loss and when these simple data slices mesh, there has been a strong tendency for that team to vastly under perform the contestants expectations. I will publish another dose of behavioral analytics Saturday, which will reveal, who last week’s 5-0 ATS teams, 0-5 ATS teams, and the top-50 in the standings overall selected and we will track how they do.

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