Crunching big data to find a winner

Crunching big data to find a winner

Wednesday, July 13, 2016 Posted by Andy McCarron
James Waterhouse's Equotion is using big data to accurately predict winners

Picking out winners has long been a sought after skill in the sport of horseracing and traditionally relied on good contacts at stables and a keen eye for a good performer.

However the rise of big data, and the increasing number of data points around sport, is threatening to shift the balance on the traditional tipster model and it appears pure number crunching could well be the most successful method of prediction.

James Waterhouse is the CEO of Equotion, a new company in the North of England that has just completed a seed funding round with a significant investment from key industry and business leaders in the UK.

Billing itself as a ‘big data sports betting disruptor’, Equotion has received financial back from third generation bookmaker Graham Martin, who formed Bonne Terre Limited – the forerunner to SkyBet, and Gordon Black of Black Family Investments.

Waterhouse is pleased to have won the support from such heavyweights for his vision. He explained: “We built Equotion because I love horse racing and having a flutter but I didn't have the time to invest examining form and horse / jockey performance. I mapped out an automated solution, breaking racing down into a set of mathematical challenges.

“The team were able to turn my ideas into reality and by adding their own analytical capability, exceeded my expectations on overall accuracy. We have almost two years’ worth of “proof” that Equotion really does work.

“With Equotion, we have the capability to drive significant, consistent returns from, without spending hours poring over form guides or relying on good old fashioned luck.”

The company has a roadmap which includes covering all racing, everywhere in the world as well as branching out into football, golf, tennis, cricket analytics. The firm is also developing a new sports betting application allowing the automated placing of bets based across multiple betting sites based on user determined rules and data from the Equotion site.

Waterhouse added that it can sometimes be hard looking at things from a pure data perspective. He told “The good thing is most of my team don’t come from a racing background, so they remain analytical. Because I’m engaged in racing sometimes I may see something that I think will happen and the team will point out that it’s my heart making the decisions as there is nothing to support it in the data.”

Waterhouse believes that there isn't, as yet, the perfect betting application out there. “We believe that there is space in the market for an application that allows you to manage your betting as though it were a share portfolio – with suggested bets, auto placement of bets to deliver the best returns, race tracking and sophisticated analytics that will deliver a complete investment platform for a new generation of sports investors.”

The firm has also found a way to ‘manage’ bookmakers and make sure that its customers can continue to get bets on.

He explained: “One key issue with being successful as a gambler is the withdrawal of betting facilities from the bookmakers if you continually win. The app will manage your returns profile, placing riskier bets with bookmakers you have recently had returns from – minimising the hit on any one of your betting accounts, balancing your winnings across a number of accounts and services greatly reducing the chances of a bookmaker closing you out.”

Totally Gaming Says: “If big data can be used to predict racing so accurately, then perhaps it’s time for some trading rooms in bookmakers to take a look at utilising it to run their books. Bookmakers have an edge of their own, in that they can analyse data from their own customers to make sure they can offer the most accurate odds on the market. Until they do, there will be opportunities for clever firms like Equotion to make money.”

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