Written on September 5, 2003 — later updates (especially new dedicated software).
The success (correctness) rate of SPORTS.XLS, the Excel spreadsheet for sports betting, is around 2 out of 3. Actually, it is higher at picking straight winners or pick 'em. It can still hit at least 60% when applied to point spread betting, as in the American football.
A 60% success rate translates equivalently that a player can pick one game at a time and be successful in 60% of the cases.
If picking 2 games, the probability goes down to: .6 x .6 = .36 or 36%.
Picking three games: .6 ^ 3 = 21.6%. A 5-team parlay can expect a success rate of .6 ^ 5 = 7.7%.
The most favorable case is for straight-up betting: One game only. The house advantage (edge) is also the most favorable: 10%. That is, a 1-unit bet returns a .9-unit payout. Usually, American football bettors pay 110 dollars for a 100 dollar win.
A five-team parlay offers, at best, a 25% house advantage.
If betting straight-up 10 times (or weeks, as in NFL pro football), the player should expect 6 wins and 4 losses. The four losses result in 4 units. The 6 wins amount to +(6 x .9) = +5.4 units. The net win is 1.4 units. If betting $100 at a time, the net profit should be $140 over a period of 10 weeks.
A probability of over 50% yields also longer winning streaks and shorter losing streaks. The mathematical player can draw a big advantage from that probability feature. The non-mathematical bettor should keep in mind that an over-50% probability tends to repeat in the very next trial; a bet increase is favorable. Conversely, a 60% probability event will not lose very often more than three consecutive trials; again, a bet increase after three consecutive losses is good money management.
The SPORTS.XLS spreadsheet can be further fine-tuned to cover more variables. For example: inter-division results; inter-conference results; keep track of losses against the point spread, etc.
Here is a very interesting aspect: Repeat-winning pro football teams from previous weeks. I have a 244-week result file in NFL (National Football League, USA). The results are against the point spread (ATS). The last result is week 5, the 2006 NFL season.
Given my previous type of software, I recorded 15 results in every professional football week. If the week has only 14 games (due to bye-week scheduling), I write 'open' at the end of the result line. If there are 16 games in the week, I discard the result of the Monday Night Football game.
The software counts how many NFL teams from one week were also winners in: one week back, two weeks back, and three weeks back. The results are very similar, as far as the average number of repeat-winners is concerned. I analyzed 20 weeks, 100 weeks, and 244 weeks. Here are the averages:
1-. Repeat-winning NFL teams from one week back:
Average number of repeats: 6.36.
2-. Repeat-winning NFL teams from two weeks back:
Average number of repeats: 6.45.
3-. Repeat-winning NFL teams from three weeks back:
Average number of repeats: 6.48.
Usually, there are fewer winning teams in the first week of the season in rapport to the last week of the previous season. Things change from one season to the next! Betting against the winning NFL teams in the previous week(s) offers a positive balance.
How about random play, like the quick-picks in lottery? It could help the biased sports betting player. Many sport bettors have a bias towards favorite teams, including football. Reality is that only a tiny minority of teams are dominant. Therefore, most biased players are losers. They would be better off choosing the winners randomly. I offer free software to pick sports results in a random manner, like the lottery. This page lists the most important free programs that generate random sports picks—as numbers and also team names.
A program I wrote in August 2003 has become a big success: PermuteCombine.EXE. The combinatorics software generates all four types of numeric sets: permutations, arrangements (some say permutations of N, M; like exactas and trifectas at horse racing), combinations (like in lotto), exponents (like in the pick-3 lottery and soccer pools 1,x,2). The program generates numbers OR words (such as sports teams names). There is a sample text file — TEAMS.NFL — with all 32 NFL football teams. The option applicable to the American football is 'Arrangements; Words; Random'.
The option applicable to soccer pools (1,x,2) is Exponents; Words; Random (use the sample file 1X2.TXT).
It's best to run a random option several times in a row. Common sense tells you that hitting in a first try is a very rare event in gambling. The program is presented on this page: Calculate, generate exponents, permutations, combinations, for any numbers or words (text, such as sport team names).
Here is a list of software that handles sports betting. Check the software download site for all that's available as free-to-run (for registered members only).
• SPORTS.XLS - an Excel 95 spreadsheet. This is a template to use with the sports betting system presented on the aforementioned webpage (Sports Prognosticating or Betting - Best System).
• BellCurveGenerator.exe generates combinations within the bell (Gauss) curve, including for sport bet. The Fundamental Formula of Gambling calculates the median automatically. The application handles just about any game: pick-3, pick-4, lotto-5, lotto-6, lotto-7, PowerBall-6, PowerBall-7, horse racing, roulette and sports betting (including the famous European soccer pools and American sports teams). It is not a simple observation or following the guts: It is a formula, therefore a law. The results tend to cluster in the FFG median area, with no exception. I have analyzed extensively 5-team parlays in the NFL. The games have been randomly selected. The results come predominantly from the FFG median area. I am yet to see results such as combination #1, or combination #2, or #31, or #32! Roulette is different because the numbers are not laid out sequentially. A special conversion is necessary!
• PermuteCombine.EXE: generate random or sequential sets (combinations) of sport team names and soccer pools 1x2. No other program in the world can do what PermuteCombine.EXE does!
• BETUS32.EXE is an intelligent random combination generator for sports betting, the American way. The player selects a number of games to bet on. The player bets on either the favorite football team to win by more than the point spread, or the underdog to lose by less than the point spread.
• AMBET.EXE is much like BETUS32.EXE—but with a twist! You can add W or L at the end of a team name. Add W if the NFL football team was a winner in the previous game (week). Add L if the team lost the last game (week). For example:
• Generate1X2.EXE generates football pools (variants, reduced systems) from text files with 1,X,2 symbols. The input files can have from 2 to 16 games (for NFL games as well). The special Randomization function in the generating of variants offers better chances to hit higher prizes, as compared to lexicographically-reduced 1X2 systems (minus 1).
Resources in Sports Betting: Theory, Mathematics, Excel Spreadsheet, Systems, Parlays.
See a comprehensive directory of the pages and materials on the subject of sports betting, software, systems, and parlays.
• The excitement is higher when it's hard to predict the results. The NFL 2002 season offered great excitement. It is valid for college football too. There are no favorites! Or, every team has a good shot at winning any game, against anybody! Looks like the stats play a minor role. That's not exactly true! The results still follow the stats, within statistical limits, of course. What the fans and especially the sports bettors see is the discrepancy between the betting lines and the actual results. The betting lines try hard to ignore the randomness.
I use in-house sports betting software. It is founded on the same principles as LotWon. Therefore, randomness plays a very important rule in generating football team combinations. The programs are applicable to parlays. The 5-team parlay software is clearly more successful than the statistical spreadsheet! The programs eliminate certain patterns from previous results and generate lottery-like combinations. The numbers are replaced with sports team names. The hit rate is better than 2 out of 3 weeks. I haven't encountered two or more consecutive losses. The playing field amounts from 6 to 16 parlays per week. The payout can be as high as 24 to 1 (25% house edge or vigourish). Thus, the worst winning case comes to +8.
Here are some useful sports links. They offer schedules, betting lines, odds, results, and useful information. Things can change dramatically on the Internet. You may need to copy-and-paste the addresses, or google the essential keywords.
Read Ion Saliu's first book in print: Probability Theory, Live!
~ Founded on valuable mathematical discoveries with a wide range of scientific applications, including probability theory applied to sports betting, football, NFL, spreadsheet software, real winning systems.