By DEBORA RUBI
When researching a specific sports event, such as this week’s U.S. Open or an NCAA football game, quick access to scores and statistics can be a key aspect of the writing process. An interesting way to quickly find results and statistics — as well as weigh specific match ups — is to look at various betting websites on the Internet.
These sites are not only broad in variety, but they provide in-depth assessments of the match ups that could be used when trying to make an argument in a blog or column, or simply when preparing a preview for a certain match up.
Using the Scores and Odds website, we can take a focus on the Miami vs. Ohio State game. At the time this was written, the game was still a day away.
Upon looking at the website, we find the box for the game titled MIAMI FLORIDA V OHIO STATE. The box provides the time of the game and what channel it is being broadcast on (ESPN). The box also provides updates injury updates.
Clicking on the betting trends, takes you to another page (http://www.sports.com), go to the NCAAF site and find the game. There the spreads for the game are provided (this can be used to gauge how much of an upset a win/loss would be which could be useful for the angle of a story).
(Quick aside on betting odds using the odds of the Miami vs. OSU game. Whenever there is a minus (-) that team is the favorite and you lay that amount to win a dollar. Where there is a plus (+) that team is the underdog and you get that amount for every dollar wagered. So the higher the numbers of each +/-, the bigger the perceived difference between the two teams. The numbers for this game 280/340 imply that OSU is a favorite to win the game.)
Also provided on the page is a status of the game (not started for this specific game) and a link to further statistics. The statistics provide team trends (for example — UM history against Big Ten teams, which is 5-3 since 1992, and as an underdog, since 1992 UM is 24-17).
Using the http://www.bet365.com game we can see not only how the websites differ, but how these sites can be useful with a game in live action.
http://www.bet365.com is an international website, so it provides a lot more sports. This time we’ll look at the match between the No. 1. Bryan brothers versus No. 16 Bopanna/Qureshi in the men’s doubles final of the U.S. Open.
The site provides score updates and changing odds according to the game as it progresses. As the game progresses tied the odds slowly come to favor the underdogs. Had we come to the match previous to the game we would have seen huge odds against Bopanna/Qureshi — helping push the underdog story.
Of course this is meant only to be a supplement to actual research — in providing cold hard facts. Extra research will obviously be necessary to find the human aspect of a story.
An example is the Bopanna/Qureshi match. Of course, the sites can be used to see how big an underdog they are and how dominant the Bryans are, but it would not provide the great human interest story of a Pakistani and Indian doubles team breaching conflict and rivalries within their home countries to make a Cinderella run to the finals.