Using Machine Learning to Predict Football Matches

Using Machine Learning to Predict Football Matches

Today, we rely on technology to do almost everything, from shopping to ordering a taxi or other transportation service. With that in mind, people often rely on technology to do almost anything, even make decisions for them. Even if you use the Google I’m feeling lucky button, you are taking a chance, even gambling.

Gamblers also love using technology, to find more online casinos, to find betting promos and other ways of predicting a possible outcome of a match. That being said, what if technology could be used to predict football matches, or any other match? It technically could, but there are some problems with that idea.

How Machine Learning Works

Machines need time and data to work. The more data you have, the better a machine gets at predicting an outcome. The problem with sports is that there is always that x factor, that something which makes one team or individual play better on a certain day. Who knows, the coach might deliver a great pep talk during the half-time break and they might end up scoring who knows how many goals in the second half.

An AI cannot account for that, and even if they could, the odds would be astronomically low for a team which is not favored. What the AI could do is gather statistics about the teams and players, not to mention bookmakers, to find the perfect solution. The data is there, but the likelihood of such a machine being implemented is still low. Someone might do it in the foreseeable future.

Would that Be Legal? 

Machine predictions could be legal, on the basis of them being predictions. A machine predicting something does not automatically make it better than a human predicting something, especially in a world where things can change from one minute to another, such as sports. Football, especially, has its moments where changing a player or two changes the dynamic of a team, making it better. An AI is very unlikely to be able to predict the outcome of a match and be right 100% of the time. That is just impossible, due to so many factors being involved. Predictions are one thing, but going to the future and looking at a sports almanac is another thing entirely. That means that building and training such an AI would be legal, albeit maybe not profitable, even though it would help advance the field of machine learning.

Should we fear AIs predicting matches as well as everything else? Probably not, sports are safe for now, or rather, as unpredictable as they have been for centuries, despite the daily predictions of many bookmakers. Someone has to create the odds in the first place.