My post yesterday included a few lines about meaningless data, and another example reared its head on the Simple Soccer Stats blog. In a post titled Corner Odds User Question And How They Are Calculated we see (edited for readability):
This question was received this morning
Example: Aston Villa v Swansea for the Line 9.5 corners in Match. Your site says for under 9.5 the odds are 1.33 so when I get under 9.5 on bet365 at 1.83, there is a big value or is the 1.33 not the odds?
The reply given was
Yes that is saying there is value. Aston Villa at home have had 14, 9, 9 and 8 corners and Swansea away have had 7,4,7 and 12 so that means 6/8 matches have been below 9.5 corners.
6/8 = 0.75 (75%)
1/0.75 = 1.33
Using the past games the price should be 1.33 but obviously there are lots of other factors to consider and it is not as simple as that. The price is just a guide to convert past results into a decimal price.Indeed, it really is not as simple as that, as the author does at least recognise, and his blog is certainly honestly named. I just find it incredibly irresponsible to even put that 1.33 out there. It's complete nonsense, based on a sample size of four matches, and no context whatsoever - even a beginner would recognise that a Home game versus Manchester City is not comparable to a Home game versus a (for example) manager-less Aston Villa. A 37.6% edge is huge, and indicative that someone is missing something. If it's not the market, it's you.
I know some excellent sports data analysts, some who have worked with firms both here and America. It is a whole different head-space. One I have known since high school, originally he dove heavily into the stock market then taking his love of numbers and incorporating it into sports. Conversations with him have taught me the one thing that is of utmost importance: each piece of information has to be put into context.The big problem with Simple Stats model is the reductio ad absurdum that such a complex and random problem as total corners can somehow be be turned into something easy.