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Sports Applications Technology

Twitter Users Can Help Beat NFL Betting Spreads

September 16, 2013


When it comes to sports betting, everyone seems to have a system. Technology and the sports world have been colliding over the last few years. Social media and sports have long been partners. Now it appears that social media, tech and the sports betting world are coming together in ways that we didn’t see coming. Researchers are now saying that analyses of Twitter (News - Alert) feeds can actually help people win money when they are wagering money on the NFL.

Findings that are supposed to be officially announced on September 27 took three years of NFL results, as well as a stream of tweets that averaged more than 42 million messages a day in 2012. Hashtags that mentioned NFL teams were then filtered out of the stream and were examined. The messages that were sent at least 12 hours before a team’s game was played. In 2012, there were more than a million messages that involved the NFL.

When looking at all these messages put together, it became clear that predicting winners or losers was not really possible. What could be determined to some degree is whether or not a team is going to cover the spread. While the system is far from foolproof (the report says it’s about 55 percent accurate) it does show that there is a pattern to be had.

One way Twitter posts might explain how you can tell who will cover the spread is to take into account that the spread is not just set by which team is markedly better. Vegas bookies tend to look at how much action one team is seeing over another. Finding out how Twitter users feel about certain teams could certainly help predict where the spread will land. That in turn could help astute bettors play against the spread and win some money.

Edited by Ryan Sartor