Simplebet, a business-to-business product-development company, is behind the new category of in-play sports wagers on Fanduel called “micro-markets.” Using innovative techniques such as machine learning and artificial intelligence Simplebet generates betting opportunities at lightning speed.
The contest could potentially, for example, allow Fanduel players to bet on the next player to score a point in the NCAA Finals. Sportsbooks could eventually use the automated software to offer bets on things like whether the next hit will go over the fence during the World Series, or if the next completion during the Super Bowl will be more than 30 yards.
Founded in 2018, Simplebet launched its first product in August. The company was co-founded by Chris Bevilacqua, former CAA Sports Media Ventures CEO who also had a hand in founding what would become the CBS Sports Network.
In-game Betting Follows Ever-Changing Play
One micro-market offered through FanDuel allows bettors to wager on each drive during an NFL game. For example, before Tom Brady’s third-down pass, sports bettors received odds of +380 on a prop bet that it would result in a punt. While Brady rushed the line, Anthony Lynn, the Chargers coach, threw down a red flag to dispute it. Instantaneously, the odds of a Buccaneer punt fell to +264.
CBS Sports analyst Charles Davis argued during the game’s coverage that the Buccaneers needed to show that the play could defeat the challenge. It soon became apparent that the challenge was null and void. Within seconds, the micro-market odds of a punt rose to +489, finally topping off at +609.
Within two plays, Buccaneers running back Ron Jones ran for 23-yards to the Chargers’ 30-yard line. A Buccaneer’s punt seemed unlikely at this point. Following the play, the odds of a punt stepped-up to 49.26x. After Jones made a 4-yard run on the play, the odds went to 171.3x, representing close to 172-1 return.
The rapidly fluctuating odds highlight the draw of micro betting. A smart sports bettor might have locked in great odds, while a less astute sports bettor would be left crying over the fact that he moved too slow to take advantage of the fluctuating odds.
Simplebet Machine Learning for In-game Wagers
FanDuel PlayAction allows its players to bet on the result of each play. Bettors get 1,000 tokens per quarter, with the option of betting up to 100 tokens per wager.
Currently, the free-to-play game is in a soft launch, but it has delivered good results since its debut. Over three weeks of NFL play, FanDuel exceeded more than 900,000 total bets placed on the platform. Meanwhile, Simplebet co-founder Bevilacqua has been stunned with the level of player engagement, something that indicates the potential for Simplebet product loyalty, as sports bettors become adapted to micro-betting.
Simplebet’s product engineers include a Harvard data scientist adept at statistics, a former analytics manager from DraftKings, and a Northrop Grumman machine-learning expert who developed the algorithms to detect missile attacks.
By using historical data from the country’s professional sports leagues, Simplebet’s data engineers have crafted complex algorithms enabling the creating of thousands of live-betting micro-markets.
For example, data obtained from MLB’s data history has nearly 5 million pitches and close to a million at-bats for the last ten years. Simplebet also obtains live data from top industry providers such as Sportradar and Stats Perform, which in turn, have official data agreements with many professional sports leagues.
Simplebet can combine the MLB historical data on things like pitcher-batter matchups with the live data feeds to come up with real-time odds for individual at-bats. The algorithm also tracks weather conditions, open-air vs a domed stadium, and the type of playing surface. The information is then fed into the Simplebet machine-learning models which gauge linear probabilities, identify game trends, and determine bet prices.
It won’t be long before Simplebet expands into play markets giving sports bettors the option of wagering on a huge selection of derivative bets.
When all of the data feeds are factored into Simplebet’s database, the possibilities seem endless. Simplebet’s system can even automatically detect when something irregular occurs. Through machine learning, bet prices can algorithmically generate all possible outcomes, which means the sportsbooks can achieve a desirable hold percentage.
Reduced Suspension of Bets
William Hill US has been known to suspend in-play betting markets at critical points in a game, potentially even hand-picking certain wagers to accept or reject.
Suspending an in-game line gives sportsbooks additional time to gauge the risk profile for a market. However, some argue that some sportsbooks have engaged in unfair business practices by suspending bets when the wagers are made by smart players following the action. By automating the process, Simplebet can instantly reprice in-game lines, delivering a new price to a sportsbook in under 2 seconds.
Simplebet is Already Licenced in Many Jurisdictions
Simplebet is already licensed in many jurisdictions and the company plans to be licensed in every mobile sport betting jurisdiction by the end of the year. Moreover, Simplebet plans to eventually go live with its own real-money sportsbook, pending regulatory approval.
For now, Simplebet’s primary focus is to innovate its product, becoming a technical leader in sports betting. Ultimately, the company wants to redefine the look of future in-play betting.
The Future Potential of Simplebet
David Forsström, a researcher at the Department of Psychology of Stockholm University, is a leading expert on artificial intelligence within sports betting. Forsström believes that Simplebet’s growth potential is tremendous. Moreover, Forsström thinks that machine learning and artificial intelligence could be used to predict consumer betting patterns before major sporting events.
However, according to Forsström, one thing to keep in mind is that micro-betting could only be sustainable with major league sports. Svenska Spel AB, a Swedish sportsbook, stopped accepting micro-bets for lower divisions because of the risk of derivative market match-fixing on things such as totals and penalties.
In regards to that, Simplebet thinks it can work with sports betting operators to uncover irregular betting patterns very quickly. The system appeals to sportsbook operators because it will enhance user experience due to its automated odds and minimal in-play suspensions.
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