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# Sports analytics: How 'Moneyball' meets big data (gallery)

Summary: Bill James and Billy Beane have led the way for sports teams to make strategic decisions based on analyzing data rather than watching the actual games or players.

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• ## How to bet on sports and win big

Chad Millman, Editor in Chief of ESPN The Magazine, tells how sports analyst Mike Wahl has examined sports betting from many angles and found an almost sure winner in college football. Typical of many current sports gurus, Wahl earned an MBA and then worked in business as a financial analyst before switching to sports.

To find the right winning bet, Wahl searched through six years of college football games (376) when a team was favored by 20-25 points. To bet on an outright game winner is supposed to be evened out by having the wager on the favorite cost more than the one on the underdog. He found that if you bet the same amount on the favorite as an outright winner, you'd have won overall for six years in a row and your return would have been 12.24 percent. But I'm sure this loophole will be closed very soon.

• ## WAR

Billy Beane changed the face of baseball by using new statistics, such as on-base percentage and slugging average, as a better indication of a player's vaue than traditional baseball measurements — batting average, stolen bases, and RBI. An even newer analysis of a baseball player's value is called WAR (wins above replacement) which attempts to indicate how much a player contributes to his team. One major leaguer who stands out is Atlanta Braves outfielder Jason Heyward. His three-year WAR rating is the sixth highest for outfielders under 22 since 1961.

For more read:  ESPN Stats and Info. There are a lot of interesting blogs on the site. The Atlanta Braves analysis is third on the list.

Photo: Wikipedia

• ## Injury list

The English Rugby Union's frequent champion Leicester Tigers are using IBM's predictive analytics software to assess injury risks and then deliver training programs for players at risk. The Tigers are hoping analytics can keep players on the field longer.

IBM has developed software which is designed to measure fatigue levels and game intensity. The Tigers will also crunch physical and biological data from its 45 players. In addition, the Tigers plan to use big data to measure psychological factors such as stress levels, social issues and environmental stress.

IBM's software will also be used to gauge the performance for its under-19 academy feeder teams and choose players accordingly.

Caption: Larry Dignan

Photo: Wikipedia

Topics: Big Data, Data Management

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