It’s another wonderful day in sports analytics! Today, we will briefly discuss the theory of probability as an approach to sports analytics. An understanding of the theory of probability is important to properly apply it in the field of sports. Coaches and analysts employ probability as a tool to determine what aspect of their team sporting activity need improvement. Their aim of doing this is to increase their chances of winning a competition as well as improving their abilities.
This method starts with an experiment. In this context, we describe an experiment as any course of action where the outcome is random. An experiment can be very general or more specific. An example of a general experiment is a football game while a quarterback pass to a particular receiver can be explained as a more specific experiment. These two types of experiments are widely used in the analytics of sports
After an experiment has been determined and chosen, the next step is to look at specific events. Events are the outcomes of the performed experiment. In a football game for instance, the event could be the final score, the number of passes attempted, or the number of passing yards.
In terms of the quarterback throwing a pass experiment, the event could be whether the pass attempt was a success or failure and the number of yards gained.
Events have corresponding probabilities. Probability can be explained as a measure of the likelihood that a particular event will happen when the experiment is done repeatedly. Probability refers to what will occur in a theoretical situation. If a coin is tossed for an infinite number of times, 50% of the time, a head shows up. However, if a coin is tossed only twice, there is no probability that a heads will be flipped once and a tails twice.
The probability that something will not happen can be determined by subtracting the probability that the event will happen from 1. The chance that an event will happen is most often referred to as probability.
However, in some cases, it is easier to use odds rather than probabilities. Odds can be determined by taking the probability of that event happening and dividing it by 1 subtracted by the probability of the event. In cases where the probabilities are very small or very large, odds are preferably used because too small or too large probabilities are often difficult to analyze.
When odds are applied in the world of sports, they can indicate relative difficulties of an event. This is because, the greater the odds, the harder it is for success to be achieved and less likely it is to occur. Sports analysts utilize probabilities and odds to make predictions concerning outcomes of games and the performance of various players during the game of sports.
How mature is your team’s analytics program? Take the Sports Analytics Maturity Assessment.
Learn about the Groundbreaking Sports Analytics Model coaches and sports analysts are talking about!
Learn all about Sports Analytics here.