Sports and Math – The Lethal Combination

A sports team’s performance depends on a multitude of factors, such as trainings, whether it’s a

home or an away match, on available or injured players, rainy or dry weather, referees,

sometimes even political prearrangements. However, these variables do not prevent many

professional sports gamblers from winning big by predicting match results.

How do they do it? Surely, it cannot be all luck, otherwise there would be no “professionals”, but

only extremely lucky people.

It’s pure math – statistics, probabilities, Poisson distribution. Let’s take a look at what it

means and how it can be applied to sports betting in order to have bigger winning chances.

cropped-math.jpgMath + sports = <3

The Poisson distribution indicates the probability of a number of independent events occurring

in a fixed time. There are some conditions which should be met simultaneously for it to

accurately predict a result: the variable cannot be a negative or a fraction; the events should be

rare, independent of each other and equally likely to occur in the given period.

You might have thought by now that soccer goals perfectly fit this description, so this theory can

effectively be applied in order to predict the chances of one team scoring versus some other.

With sports where goals and points are more frequent throughout one match, this kind of

probability “guessing” is not that effective, as the conditions stated above are not entirely met.

How math can win you money – applying the theory

First, let’s get you organized: Excel makes it easy for you to do all the calculus, as it has the

Poisson function built in. So we recommend it as an efficient way to keep track of your data.

Now that you have the tool, you need the relevant info about the team you’re betting on: similar

past performances, the current situation which might affect the overall results. So first you need

to know what the mean average of goals is.

The mean number represents the average number of goals your team has scored in a given

period of time. It can easily be calculated by dividing the number of goals scored (this season,

for example) by the number of matches played. Of course, the result is not enough in order to

predict their performance at the next match, so you can add up to your calculus’ relevancy by

looking up the info published by the spread betting companies. Usually, they do a pretty good

job in coming up with the supremacy and total goals for the most important matches of the


Once you get your hands on these details, it’s time to fill in your Excel sheets. Take the average

number of goals of the home team and the mean number of the away team – using the Poisson

function you can extract the probabilities out of the raw data.

Of course, even though you can see what result has more chances of happening, doesn’t mean

that so it will. A 1% chance of occurrence is not probable, but still possible, so you have to be

prepared to leave a big part of t to luck as well.

Now that you are accustomed to the basics of how the process of sports statistics works, you are

ready to make your entrance on the betting stage. May luck complement your figures, so you get

the money you’re hoping for!