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When Are Statistics Useful?

In a recent article , I explained exactly why statistics are important to you as a sports bettor.  When you ignore statistics, you are looking past essential data that can help you come to an informed hypothesis about an upcoming event or even an event in-play.  But that does not mean that all statistics are useful.  Some can be downright misleading.


A lot of statistics are only useful if they take the form of “all else being equal.”  For example, say that you hear a statistic about Manchester United performing poorly against a particular team the last dozen times they played them.  If there have been no major changes for Manchester United or that other team, that statistic could be quite useful, since everything is about the same as it was.  What if Manchester has a number of new players, though?  Or what if the other team has made some changes?  At that point, not everything is equal.  There are confounding variables which could make the future a great deal different than the past.


The biggest danger with statistics probably comes when you are in a hurry, and you do not stop to think.  The same statistics which you might research and reject as useless if you took the time to do your homework can mislead you when you are putting down a last-minute wager.  You might hear that statistic about Manchester and think, “Well, at least this is something to go on.” 


The biggest lesson to take home here isn’t so much about statistics as it is about doing your homework.  Statistics can be very helpful when used properly, and can help you to consistently profit in your bets.  When you use them improperly, however, they can cost you money.  They can give you false confidence that you should not feel.  And when you are in a hurry, they can spur you into making a bad decision.


That is why you want to be careful never to rush with your betting.  Give yourself as much time as you need to really analyse the statistics you find and try to understand what they really mean.  You cannot take everything at face value.  Sometimes sports journalists and online bookmakers even have agendas when they recite stats.  We have all heard the old bromide, “There are lies, damned lies, and statistics.”  It applies in the world of sports betting as well.


That may mean you need to set aside some extra time in your week to really focus on your sports betting analysis.  You may also need to avoid taking certain types of wagers until you learn how to interpret statistics more quickly and effectively.  Taking the extra time and effort will pay off big.  Over time, you will get better and better at interpreting statistics, because your sports knowledge will grow.  The same statistic which might have confused you about Man United a week ago could be one you could easily dismiss a year later, as you learn more about the teams.


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