Predicting the outcome of sporting events is a business which has grown in popularity in recent years. Handicappers predict the outcome of games using a variety of mathematical formulas, simulation models or qualitative analysis. Early, well known sports bettors, such as Jimmy the Greek, were believed to have access to information that gave them an edge. Information ranged from personal issues, such as gambling or drinking to undisclosed injuries; anything that may affect the performance of a player on the field.
Recent times have changed the way sports are predicted. Predictions now typically consist of two distinct approaches: Situational plays and statistical based models. Situational plays are much more difficult to measure because they usually involve the motivation of a team. Dan Gordon, noted handicapper, wrote “Without an emotional edge in a game in addition to value in a line, I won’t put my money on it”. These types of plays consist of: Betting on the home underdog, betting against Monday Night winners if they are a favorite next week, betting the underdog in “look ahead” games etc. As situational plays become more widely known they become less useful because they will impact the way the line is set.