Betting on sports is hard and can be a lonely experience. My kids are both under four years old, so they don’t care about sports, point spreads, moneylines or sports at all, really. With some prodding, I decided to talk to ChatGPT to work through some of my recent troubles. Surely the exciting new chat bot could enlighten me while catching a game in the man cave, kids comfortably off to sleep upstairs.
If ChatGPT could pick winners, it would be the dawn of a new and promising era. No more AM sports radio for me. And the family vacation fund would get a nice upgrade, too.
What is ChatGPT?
ChatGPT is a chatbot launched by OpenAI in November 2022. It has garnered attention for the amount of responses it can generate based on a wide array of sports topics. After your initial question, the chat bot will incorporate future questions, answers, and refinements in its subsequent follow-ups. In essence, it fine tunes its responses to better answer your question. If only my high school math teacher was as capable!
OpenAI trained ChatGPT using a substantial dataset, including existing print media, Wikipedia articles, books, and other reference materials. Its repository is current though 2021. That means anything that’s happened since then won’t be included in its responses.
You’ll also find that ChatGPT misses the mark on many things from before 2021. While it’s pretty good at giving you a broad overview of general knowledge, it stumbles when it comes to specialized knowledge.
Table of Contents
- Scouting Report
- ChatGPT for Sports Betting
- ChatGPT Wishy Washy
- ChatGPT: Erroneous Monk
- ChatGPT Weighs In
ChatGPT Sports Betting Scouting Report
Here are some quick and dirty notes after going a few rounds with ChatGPT.
- Great for the Basics – ChatGPT does a good job explaining basic sports betting concepts like the moneyline, point spread, and over-under total bet.
- Trivial Pursuit – ChatGPT provided generally accurate responses regarding professional team rosters, coaches, stadiums, and recent championships.
- User Experience – It feels like you’re chatting with a bland middle school teacher, which is actually a plus in some ways.
- Trustworthy tone – The chatbot is refreshingly straight forward and seemingly honest. It will occasionally provide caveats when it can’t fully answer a question. It’s polite and amiable.
- Voluntarily Voluble – ChatGPT responses were fairly detailed, especially when prompted to write a response of a certain length.
- Misses finer points – When I dug into exotic bets like the parlay, it was good at defining the bet. But it lacked detail about the mechanics of the bet, particularly regarding tie selections. It didn’t disclaim that grading wagers is up to an individual sportsbook’s rules. It also didn’t differentiate between an off the board parlay and parlay card. Perhaps it needed more prompting?
- Ken Jennings Is Still King – I don’t think ChatGPT would beat Ken Jennings at Jeopardy just yet. It runs aground once you get into specialized knowledge. If they ever meet in real life, take Jennings on the moneyline as the easy winning favorite.
- No Laughs Here – If you want to be entertained, go elsewhere. ChatGPT didn’t make me laugh, and my kids would rather listen to Baby Shark on repeat.
- Overconfident – No, not like Dennis Rodman. Sometimes ChatGPT doesn’t know when it’s skating on thin ice. It will provide a deceptively helpful reply without disclaiming its own limitations or potential lack of knowledge. (Well maybe like Dennis Rodman?)
- Analysis Paralysis – ChatGPT can’t come up with its own analytical angles. It only repeats and synthesizes what has already been done. Applying a method and creating a method are two different things!
- Rated PG – It doesn’t get controversial, political, inappropriate, or R rated. That’s probably a good thing, but real life isn’t Disney World either.
ChatGPT for Sports Betting
Disclaimer: ChatGPT is not intended to predict the outcome of sporting events. Using ChatGPT responses to place wagers is against its Terms of Service. SportsBetting3.com does not encourage anyone to use ChatGPT for sports betting. You’re honestly better off using our site. 🙂
ChatGPT easily detected most attempts to pick game and futures winners. It offered a common canned response that didn’t offer much handicapping insight. In fact, it has no handicapping insight or analytical abilities except regurgitating team stats and standings you can readily find elsewhere on the web.
We don’t recommend using ChatGPT any more than open water swimming with sharks. At least in the latter case, you can swim away and possibly live to talk about it. If your buddy asks you to “Hold my beer” while placing a ChatGPT bet, it’s safe to assume you’ll be buying the next round that night, and possibly his cab ride home.
ChatGPT Sports Picks: Wishy Washy
As an avid gambler, I’m always looking for an edge. ChatGPT isn’t the place to find one. In fact, the AI model is perfectly content to stay on the sidelines of making any predictions. However, some of the things that Chat PGT had to say provided some insight on how history and other factors impact sports.
A few of the answers made me ponder some preconceived notions I had.
To win Super Bowl 2023
Well, there you have it – no real opinion on Super Bowl 57 featuring the Kansas City Chiefs vs the Philadelphia Eagles. ChatGPT weaseled out of this one with a bit of legalese. Stay with us, it gets better.
Can the Denver Nuggets win the 2022-23 NBA Finals?
The odds were stacked against the Denver Nuggets and the rest of the teams that came from the ABA to the NBA in the late 1970s. The NBA accepted the Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, San Antonio Spurs and New York Nets, but made things tough financially for all four franchises. Since coming into the league, the Nuggets are the only one that hasn’t made an appearance in the NBA Finals.
Denver hasn’t even really come particularly close. The Nuggets have made the conference finals three times. Denver lost to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1977-78 in six games, to the Los Angeles Lakers in five games in 1984-85 and to the Lakers again in 2008-09 in six games. This year’s team is special because of the presence of Serbian triple double-machine Nikola Jokic. Jokic is a fantastic player who doesn’t necessarily pass the eye test.
Jokic is stockier center who doesn’t appear off the court to be someone who moves real well. But opponents on the court can’t ignore his presence.
On Nikola Jokic
The Nuggets have the best odds to win the Western Conference at +600. Defending NBA Champion Golden State +800 has been inconsistent this season and doesn’t play well away from home. The Memphis Grizzlies +1000 are young and energetic, but still have a lot to prove.
The haunting question when it comes to Denver is can the Nuggets overcome their history to break through. It’s not like the group of players played — or were alive — for the team’s disappointments in the 1970s or ‘80s.
Can be teams be cursed? ChatGPT’s response regarding Jokic’s contribution to the championship-hungry Nuggets was, well, a bit lackluster. Of course “team depth, coaching, and luck also play a role”. I’m not so sure it’s a puzzle, though. ChatGPT offered a safe response to question really needed more consideration.
Does Past Performance Indicate Future Success?
Buffalo Bills’ fans are always waiting for the guillotine to drop. Thankfully, during the most recent playoff performance, the Bills were never competitive in a loss to Cincinnati. However, Buffalo’s playoff history is filled with failure. In the early 1990s, the Bills famously lost four straight years in the Super Bowl.
Two years ago, the Bills were 13 seconds away from going to the AFC Championship game before they lost to Kansas City. Certain franchises just seems can never get out of their own way. The Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs are famous examples of teams that couldn’t get over the hump. But, when it comes to the NBA, the league is dominated by the top franchises. Can that dominance eventually resign certain teams to their fate of perpetual disappointment? Perhaps its best to ask an a famous oil man in Dallas.
Does Jerry Jones Care?
This response produced a laugh. Jerry Jones is famous during his tenure of the Dallas Cowboys for being overinvolved with the product. When Jones took over the Cowboys, he and former coach Jimmy Johnson conducted an incredible turnaround that produced three Super Bowls in four years.
However, since the Cowboys beat the Pittsburgh Steelers to win Super Bowl XXX 27-17 in January 1996, Dallas’ results on the field hasn’t lived up to their brand. The Cowboys have only won a handful of playoff games and haven’t even been back to the NFC Championship game.
When it comes to how Jones handles things on the field, he is notorious for having prickly relationships with coaches and players. Driven by hubris and pettiness, Jones has made the Cowboys feel like a team that is tainted by poor playoff performances. How Dallas turns around its fortunes in the playoffs remains to be seen.
So it appears ChatGPT was diplomatic, to say the least, about Jones’ leadership of the once great Cowboys. We might need to look elsewhere for better insight.
ChatGPT Knowledge: Erroneous Monk
It’s hard to keep up with everything going on in sports. Not everyone can be like Norm in Cheers and have an encyclopedic knowledge of sports. Even with its vast server farm and wide ranging dataset, ChatGPT fell short when it came to sports betting in a few areas. Better talk to Norm in stead!
What is the Grand Salami?
ChatGPT gets the technical definition of the bet correct. But it doesn’t know that the Grand Salami is offered for NHL hockey betting, too. Though this may be a bit of a nitpick, it is a glaring omission. Moreover, it doesn’t explain the moneyline odds on each side of the Grand Salami line. Yes, this is common knowledge and likely assumed in the response, but we aren’t impressed. It honestly looks like ChatGPT is repeating what it read elsewhere.
Record for College Football Overtimes?
Here is a good example of ChatGPT’s limited dataset, showing that it could be both incomplete and dated. The record for most college football overtimes is 9, set October 23, 2021, when Illinois beat Penn State 20-18. Also, there have been multiple 7 overtime games, including Arkansas defeating Kentucky 71-63 at Commonwealth stadium on November 1, 2003.
Be Specific or Beat Pacific?
Here’s what happened when I asked if Alabama is better than UConn…
I was purposefully vague to see what ChatGPT would conjure up. First we get the usual non-committal drivel. Next, we get a couple gaffes, particularly for anyone from the Nutmeg State. First, both Alabama and UConn have basketball teams. Second, UConn has had a football team since 1896. In recent years, the Huskies have played in the American conference, the Big East, and D1A Independents.
We all know Alabama would crush the UConn Huskies football team. But basketball might be a different matter. Hopefully those from “the land of steady habits” aren’t too offended.
ChatGPT’s Verdict on the Greatest Debates in Sports
I asked ChatGPT to weigh in on some of the greatest debates in sports. With the dazzle and flair of a retired tax auditor, ChatGPT stepped up to the plate, swung, and hit a couple of easy ground outs to the shortstop. I’m not sure ChapGPT could keep up with the continually evolving, always expressive, superman with a monster vocabulary Stephen A. Smith. Have a read and think about it.
Can Cleveland Be Redeemed?
This debate is a tough one for me. As a Pittsburgh native, there is no love lost for the Cleveland Browns, who have been know as the Factory of Sadness for many years. However, if you go all the way back to the franchise origins, it is hard to put the Browns behind other perennial sadsacks like the Detroit Lions, New York Jets or other poorly-run franchises. Cleveland came into existence in the All-America Football Conference.
The Browns won four AAFC titles before joining the NFL in 1950. Cleveland then proceeded to win the NFL in 1950, 1954, 1955 and 1964. The real downfall of the Browns came from their treatment of star running back Jim Brown. Cleveland owner Art Modell, who would later move the team to Baltimore amidst a dispute with the city over a stadium in the 1990s, didn’t want to give Brown a raise. He decided to take his talents to Hollywood and make movies, including “The Dirty Dozen”. Cleveland has largely flopped since.
However, the Browns have company in misery. The Arizona Cardinals are also poorly run and haven’t won a championship since 1947. The Jets have only won one championship since they came into existence as the New York Titans. The Lions have largely been a disaster and haven’t won since the 1950s.
Jordan vs Bird?
When it comes to the debate between Jordan and Bird, the stats largely show that Jordan was much more durable than Bird. Bird’s career was cut short by back problems that limited his last three seasons. Jordan played a few more seasons, and even appeared in all 82 games with the Washington Wizards during the 2002-03 campaign. He was also a more explosive player than Bird.
Jordan won more titles, scored more points and became one of the most successful pitchmen to ever hit the advertising scene. Jordan also played basketball with Bugs Bunny in a movie. Spam Jam anyone?
Is Tom Brady the GOAT?
It’s hard to knock Brady. I won’t be caught dead seeing 80 for Brady, his new movie, in theaters, but his play on the football field was ruthless. Leading two teams, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New England Patriots, Brady won seven championships and played until his mid-40s. While coming back to the Buccaneers for a third season may have impacted his marriage, Brady was always focused on football.
Brady’s numbers are staggering, but few may be more surprising than the ones he had in Tampa Bay. At age 44, Brady led the league in passing, throwing for 5,316 yards and 43 touchdowns while leading the Buccaneers to a 13-4 record.
For his career, Brady passed for 89, 214 yards and 649 touchdowns. Brady’s the best because he was driven to play, despite having a model wife for most of his career that also made a ton of money, until his mid-40s. Can’t see someone matching his accomplishments anytime soon.
Bonus points for explaining the “GOAT” acronym, my high school English teacher would have been proud.
To be honest, I’m not sold on ChatGPT for sports betting. It has a ways to go before I would even consider using its responses to handicap a game. To be fair to OpenAI, it’s obvious they trained it on a limited dataset. Future upgrades will undoubtedly include larger knowledge bases, new sources, and improved quality control.
It’s safe to say ChatGPT will eventually correct the factual errors I identified. It will likely provide more comprehensive, and hopefully more definitive responses to the questions I asked. With additional data and training, it’s quite possible ChatGPT could predict the Browns evolving into a dynasty. But let’s get their history nailed down first.
Finally, read between the lines. It’s obvious ChatGPT filters and moderates some of its responses to stay out of legal trouble. Though Jerry Jones probably doesn’t care about this newfangled invention, others might not like ChatGPT’s opinions of them being circulated on the internet. This offers fertile ground for legal experts, lawsuits, and more lawyers in general. Sheesh.
Back to sports betting, I’d sooner ask my toddler which team will win March Madness or whether the Chiefs will win the Super Bowl. ChatGPT has yet to impress me with any knowledgeable sports insights, analytical edge, or clever angle. With the family vacation plans on hold for now, it remains to be seen whether ChatGPT can get off the fence and do more than just repeat information it may not actually understand.