Sports Betting Strategy

Sports Betting: How To Spot Errors In Prediction Models

The professional sports betting gurus and sportsbooks use prediction models in order to ensure they are making profits in betting markets. The decisions they make are based largely on the models they use so it’s important to understand these models and how they work. It’s important to remember that while these models are usually extremely accurate they are not prophecy and they could be influenced by error.

Here is a look at how to spot errors in prediction models.

Selecting The Wrong Model

The first and most obvious error that could occur is the wrong model is selected. The sportsbooks must start with which model makes the most sense for their prediction but if they choose the wrong model it opens the door for error. If the shape of the model needs to be a square but they use a triangle, then there could be factors that aren’t accounted for by that model. For example, while the normal distribution seems to be a good fit to goal differences, it may not be the best predictor for home team goals scored. With a multitude of potential models possible, the perfect fit may not be used and that initial error could lead to bigger errors in the overall prediction model of any one specific matchup.

Selecting The Wrong Parameters

While an error with the actual shape or model is easier to spot, the wrong parameters could be another issue that comes up when it comes to prediction models. The sportsbook might have a square in a situation where a square is required but if that square isn’t the right size and doesn’t cover the necessary parameters then it will not work as expected. It’s important to understand the way these models work and the multiple reasons why there could be flaws with the models.

The Process Error

In addition to selecting the wrong models as well as the wrong parameters, it’s also important to understand the potential errors that could arise in the process of arriving at conclusions. In a sports prediction environment, not every outcome is replicable based on the models that are used. So while the models are good indicators of what to expect based on the data that they comprehend there is no absolute guarantee that the models can compute all of the data necessary to arrive at conclusions. Errors can occur even after the right models are selected if there is a problem that comes up in the process of calculating all of the necessary data in a prediction model.


While the sportsbooks and professional handicappers rely heavily on these betting models to predict outcomes they definitely understand the importance of evaluating their own models for error and so should you. By breaking down the numbers on your own you can get an idea of what to expect and you can more accurately predict where the errors can occur. It’s important to remember that while these models are extremely effective they are not perfect and if you can spot the errors in prediction models it can lead to some major profits betting against those mistakes.

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