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AI and Betting: Use Neural Networks to Predict the Outcome of Sports Events

Article writer: Elliot Clark
Bookmakers and experienced players are actively using neural networks and Big Data in forecasting, and without knowing it, they are of great service to artificial intelligence theorists.

Scientists studying AI have to solve a lot of mysteries. Together with the developers, they are trying not only to understand the essence of human intellect but also to create unique technologies. What the world needs is not an ordinary mind but unmistakable thinking, a rational agent that will not let us down. In AI, intellectual tasks are automated, so this area concerns any sphere of human activity.

Big sports, bets, and risks attract true intellectuals who, bypassing the test of Alan Turing and the Chinese Room of John Searle, switched from the philosophy of consciousness to the net profit.

Artificial intelligence: general info

Find out how bookmakers handled improving sports forecasting from Bett-Market specialists. We offer turnkey sportsbooks and separate software products.

Coefficients and Prediction of Results

What is a betting shop in general and how does it work? A bookmaker's office is an organisation that accepts bids on various outcomes of events and sets the probability of winning. Unlike sweepstakes in sportsbook locations, each participant can calculate their victory in advance.

To do this, gamblers just need to multiply the size of their wagers by the coefficient set by the betting shop. Talented bookmakers usually offer a large number of odds and options, and they will have their percentage of everything.

However, if they make a forecast and calculate the probabilities incorrectly, they risk being left without margin and assets. Therefore, when predicting the results of matches, a large number of factors must be taken into account. Odds and sports forecasting — that is the subject field of artificial intelligence.

Today, nobody will be surprised by the complexity of calculations and multivariate, these are just numbers. And accurate forecasting requires the analysis of a huge amount of information. It is like intuition, only a million times more powerful.

Neural Football Prediction

There are many successful examples of the use of AI in the sportsbook niche. In a lab at the University of Lausanne, graduate students created a product based on innovative technology that could foresee the results of Euro 2016 matches.

Several nuances of their work:

  • Specialists have developed methods that are many times more accurate than machine predictions.
  • Their system takes into account the personal performance of individual players, so more variables are taken into account. Conventional programs check the productivity of the entire team.
  • The probabilities of the outcome of events are analysed using Bayesian inference. This statistical method allows you to understand how much the forecast is trusted.
  • Uncertain factors that can unexpectedly influence the outcome of the competition are taken into account: the presence of a new player in the national team, an unknown opponent, etc.

A recent example is the football match between Iceland and Portugal at the Euro 2016 championship. The likelihood of a Portuguese victory was clear. But the Icelandic team was seen at a serious world competition for the very first time.

Therefore, the result of the match, from the point of view of neural prediction, could be unexpected. This was taken into account in the coefficients of the new system. To everyone's surprise, the match ended in a draw. Artificial intelligence against public opinion — 1:1.

While bookmakers all over the world used a knurled scheme and focused on the collective mind, the technology of Swiss scientists worked perfectly well.

The results of forecasting for the Euro-2016 period have been published on the website of the Kickoff system. The accuracy of predictions is 80%. This program has changed the field of sports forecasting.

Prediction of the Football Matches Results from IT Corporations

Sports forecasting: football

Let us move from start-ups to IT giants. They also did not stay away from football and showed the power of AI in an alternative field.

The Microsoft company launched the Cortana Intelligence Suite cloud service, which immediately produced a successful prediction. France defeated Romania with a score of 2:1 at the opening of the Euro 2016 championship.

Such an accurate forecast by Cortana Intelligence Suite is the result of processing gigabytes of information about the participants of the competition:

  • previous games;
  • the performance of the players;
  • their injuries, etc.

News content and social media posts were also analysed. Getting into the service, the data is constantly updated. Thus, the prediction of a football match is made based on the most relevant facts.

Such corporations as Google have also stepped up and made use of neural network forecasting. They considered the internal features of the team and analysed detailed statistics from 4 years ago: line-ups, performance, and development of the team.

Both programs predicted Germany's victory in the championship. But at Euro 2016, we saw a competition between French and Portuguese athletes. In a word, the IT headliners overlooked their forecasts.

The Most Accurate Prediction for Euro 2016: AI Believed in France

Euro 2016 betting: results

The German national team is very strong, and the support of the fans was tremendous. But the NeuroBayes program ignored the public's opinion. The product was created by the head of the analytical department of the CERN nuclear laboratory, Michael Feindt, who believed in the French team. The solution predicted that there was a 34% chance that France would be in the final. Such a result deserves special attention.

NeuroBayes used data on the results of all matches, both local and international. After a thorough analysis of the chances of winning for each team at Euro 2016, the program produced about 95 billion possible outcomes of events.

All this is too complicated for the limited human mind but the numerical Monte Carlo method came to the rescue. With the help of modelling random variables, the forecasts were systematised.

With such a wild technology race based on artificial intelligence, the betting business will be able to reach a new level. In addition to wagering on the results of sports events, bids on the results of neural prediction will be placed.

For example, people can make bets on:

  • Google;
  • Cortana;
  • NeuroBayes.

Bookmakers will always find what to offer gamblers. It is unlikely that Alan Turing suspected such prospects when he worked on his projects.

Artificial Intelligence in Tennis

Speaking about sports betting, it is worth considering OhMyBet tennis match prediction, which is also based on neural networks. The service has a subscription system and a built-in option that calculates the amount of winnings but this is not the main thing. OhMyBet has a wide database of matches — there are already more than 825,000.

The service generates the entire branch of the athlete's matches played, as well as news and social media content. The accuracy of OhMyBet forecasts is 85%. The system is constantly being improved because, with each new tennis match, the database is updated. It affects the quality of forecasts.

Neural Service for Horse Betting: Connection of Human Resources and AI

Let us discover other surprising things about artificial intelligence technology in the bookmaking field. The power of AI in predicting the results of sports events has gone even further.

It became necessary to take into account:

  • the emotional state of players;
  • the level of air humidity during the game;
  • the percentage of voters of Donald Trump in Oregon;
  • the behaviour of the animal, etc.

Horse racing is an ancient, noble, and exciting sport. How to develop the right metrics and what factors to consider for making an accurate forecast?

A bet on the Kentucky Derby recently went from $20 to $11,000. Such an amazing jackpot was the result of the combination of the collective mind and artificial intelligence. The UNU program, which included both human resources and AI, was able to identify 4 horses that would get the prize a few days before the race, although the chances of winning were 540:1.

The developer of this product, Lewis Rosenberg, used a special AI system — Swarm Intelligence. It describes the behaviour of the team in a self-organised system. According to Rosenberg, UNU empowers the human mind, not replaces it. This solution shows that you can not only compete with artificial intelligence but also make friends with the technology.

How Does This Happen?

A group of people connects to the system through any gadget, smartphone, or computer. After that, participants are asked a question and allowed to select the options for an answer. With the help of moving a virtual magnet, a person makes his choice. The magnet can be moved within 60 seconds. This is the time given to make the final collective decision.

There is group intuition at the heart of the system. It also has some advantages over a regular survey where people are divided into categories according to their opinions. UNU shows a compromise solution.

This program also demonstrated its capabilities at the Oscars. The system correctly identified 11 winners out of 15. Such a result shocked even experienced film critics and bookmakers. As for the technical side, there are tons of complex codes used in the service. Let us consider the example.

How to Set Up Sports Forecasting

An artificial neural network is available on GitHub hosting. Its task is to predict the results of BetBoy football matches. This is not a completely new project but is quite enough to understand how everything works.

Key Software Requirements


  • Pyside for Python 2.6 32-bit;
  • Python 2.6 32-bit.


  • Python 2.6 or 2.7;
  • Pyside;
  • Pyfann.

Before starting to work, it is necessary to install these modules. Like any program, sports forecasting has its structure.

BetBoy consists of 8 blocks:

  • Statistical data collection module. Here, you can see the statistics of the selected league and sports events.
  • Match selector. This option allows you to generate a list of upcoming matches for the selected leagues based on the criteria that are defined in the filters.
  • Assembling wages. A whole section of batch modelling deals with bets. It will help you define filters for choosing a bid.
  • Update manager. Here, the database is automatically updated with a list of URLs to download information from websites.
  • Link generator. It allows you to create a file with a list of URLs for the latest updates.
  • League configurator. In this module, it is possible to manually update leagues or independently create them.
  • Export manager. Before using the neural network, you need to export data on the matches and tours.
  • Self-learning block. The neural network is engaged in its development. The algorithm of actions is as follows: select the prepared file from the export, make the settings for the neural network (learning algorithms, activation functions, and frequency), and click the “Learn” button. The outcome will be used for further predictions.

Forecasting based on neural networks starts giving more accurate results. The technology involves very complex dependencies and is non-linear. It is a self-learning but complicated algorithm.

It would seem that artificial intelligence can destroy the main component of bets, excitement, but this is not so. You never know whether a successful scheme will work accurately in the next match. Who can guess what AI “thinks”?

How the Technology Analyses Players

The profitability of betting shops directly depends on the number and solvency of gamblers. Therefore, bookmakers spend a lot of time and money studying behavioural algorithms using machine learning, Big Data analysis, Applied Computer Science, and neural networks.

At the initial stage, the program analyses players and divides them into the following categories:

  • Professional betters. Such people are focused on 1 sport (rarely on 2 or 3), so they never wager on unfamiliar disciplines. Additionally, professionals always alternate reliable bids with risky ones, thus minimising their financial losses.
  • Random visitors. This category moves from one sport to another in the hope of hitting the jackpot. They play chaotically, often place bets without thinking, and are guided only by emotions.
  • Cautious users. Such gamblers mostly choose reliable and understandable bids with minimum risk. The size of the coefficient is not as important for them as the desire to simply not lose money.

Having decided on the category of customers, the program calculates different scenarios for each selected group.

The system can offer:

  • individual selection of matches with preferred events;
  • interesting bonus strategy (for example, personal cashback for specific disciplines);
  • participation in forecasters' tournaments, online sweepstakes, etc.

Additionally, the program monitors and fixes:

  • preferred bets (values, disciplines, and the spread of rates);
  • activity after the victory and defeat;
  • strategies used.

The collection and analysis of information make it possible to edit quotes in a better way, minimising mathematical and strategic errors.

The Main Things about AI and Big Data in the Sportsbook Niche

AI and Big Data in betting

Bookmakers are actively using machine learning in the betting field, creating a profitable event line without losing key players.
  • Neural networks are the future of the industry. The human mind will never be able to qualitatively process the same amount of information as artificial intelligence technology.
  • Most often, AI and Big Data are used to predict results and form balanced quotes on their basis. The program takes into account the personal performance of each athlete, providing the most accurate forecast for upcoming matches.
  • AI-based software is used more often in football and tennis. The most famous football solutions include Kickoff, Cortana Intelligence Suite, and NeuroBayes. In the second sporting discipline, they use the OhMyBet program, which has already processed and predicted the outcome of more than 825,000 matches.
  • AI and Big Data reveal behavioural algorithms in the actions of gamblers. Based on the received information, operators can create the best event line and offer users the most favourable conditions for the placement of bets.
If you do not know how to implement AI, neural networks, and other progressive technologies into your sportsbook project, just contact the Bett-Market studio. We will bring your most daring ideas to life and help with the establishment of a profitable and prosperous business.

From us, it is possible to order betting software from the world’s leading vendors. You will get access to pre-match and live event lines, popular sports, and convenient widgets.

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To receive a free consultation, please contact our managers.

Elliot Clark


Elliot Clark


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