SBC News John Harlow, Stats Perform: why the Women's World Cup will be unexpectedly different

John Harlow, Stats Perform: why the Women’s World Cup will be unexpectedly different

SBC News John Harlow, Stats Perform: why the Women's World Cup will be unexpectedly differentThe FIFA Women’s World Cup is a week away and the quality of on-field action and volume of media coverage is expected to drive an explosion in global interest in the women’s game, teams, and players.

SBC News spoke with John Harlow, SVP of Betting at Stats Perform, about why this World Cup will present some different opportunities for sportsbooks, the role of Opta data in powering fantasy games, media, broadcasts and betting at the tournament, and of Stats Perform’s News team who will also be helping to raise the profile of the on-field action.

SBC: Which betting markets do you expect will be most popular during the Women’s World Cup and why?

JH: No-one will be surprised to hear me say that player props and same-game multis powered by Opta are expected to be particularly popular, due to their consistent rise in football over the past year! We’re delighted to be covering the tournament to the same high level as other leading competitions, meaning the betting experience will be second-to-none for our Opta customers and their bettors. 

There’s a couple of aspects to the Women’s World Cup that I expect will make player props betting even more interesting and popular though.  

Firstly, unlike the men’s tournament, more of the Women’s group games have the potential to be unevenly balanced, with very short-priced favourites. This means that more bettors may be looking to add player legs, to increase their potential payout and make the games more interesting. 

Secondly, although there are already several star players among the 32 competing teams, there are still many others who may not yet be familiar to fans or traders. This situation presents somewhat of a challenge.  There will be a heightened demand for bets on players, but the players are less well-known. Bettors will need to have ready access to player information at their fingertips. 

SBC: In that case, could we get some insights about key players? 

JH: Absolutely, although I should probably admit I didn’t know all these stats and had to ask Stats Perform’s Opta research team for help with some of them! 

Marta: 37-year-old Brazilian striker Marta stands as the all-time leading scorer in Women’s World Cup history, with an impressive tally of 17 goals in 20 matches.  

Megan Rapinoe: American forward Megan Rapinoe has been a force to be reckoned with in the last three editions of the Women’s World Cup, directly involved in 15 goals across 17 matches. 

Sam Kerr: The prolific Australian was the top-scorer at the 2022 AFC Women’s Asia Cup, netting 7 goals. Side note, I’m reliably informed by my colleagues down under that she is on every billboard in Australia at the moment, which is a fantastic sign of how big the tournament will be. 

Alex Morgan: A superstar of the USWNT, this might be Morgan’s last World Cup, bringing the curtain down on a career in which she’s bagged an astonishing 121 goals for USA. That’s one or two more than J. Harlow nabbed for Spartak Clapham! 

Alexia Putellas: Putellas enters the tournament having won the Ballon d’Or Féminin and the Best FIFA Women’s Player in the past two years. 

Alba Redondo: The Spanish forward netted an impressive 27 goals in 30 league appearances for Levante in Spain last season, with 25 of them coming from inside the box.  

Mary Earps: At the other end of the pitch, England’s exceptional shot-stopper amassed the second-highest number of clean sheets in Europe last season.  

Asisat Oshoala: The Nigerian forward showcased her scoring prowess in the Champions League, finishing as the second highest goal-scorer with 5 goals.  

Frida Maanum: The Norwegian midfielder demonstrated her exceptional long-range shooting skills, scoring the most goals from outside the box (3) in the Champions League last season.  

Khadija Shaw: The Jamaica and Chelsea striker scored the second-highest number of headed goals (8) in the top five European leagues last season.  

Geyse Ferreira: The Brazilian player displayed her creativity on the field, registering the second-highest number of assists (5) in the Champions League last season, for Barcelona.  

The combination of our expert research team and massive database of women’s football stats means we are ready to help ensure bettors are informed with facts like these, as well as stats feeds and our new Same Game Multi Assistant.

SBC: As well as players to watch out for, predictions play a significant role in football fan discussions. Can you share the Opta data team’s predictions for the group winners in each group?

JH: Opta’s ‘supercomputer’ predictions engine has been prominently featured in news and sports broadcasts in recent months and increasingly also by sportsbooks. One reason for this is its ability to objectively predict in real-time not only game winners but also the final league positions, such as Champions League spots and relegation positions. These captured a lot of fan and mainstream sports media attention at the end of last season and already are for the new European seasons.  

I asked the Opta supercomputer to provide insights into the predicted Women’s World Cup group winners, and the results are as follows: 

Group A: Norway (53.14%) 

Group B: Australia (43.90%) 

Group C: Spain (63.75%) 

Group D: England (69.09%) 

Group E: United States (70.42%) 

Group F: France (56.08%) 

Group G: Sweden (49.81%) 

Group H: Germany (63.13%)

SBC: In what other ways will Stats Perform’s products enhance the coverage of the Women’s World Cup?

JH: Stats Perform’s Opta data and PressBox products will be behind more entertaining betting, broadcast, fantasy, and media experiences throughout the 2023 Women’s World Cup. We won an award for our coverage of the Women’s Euros and are proud of our investment in helping the women’s tournament and competitions keep growing. 

In addition to powering player props, our PressBox Live tool will be providing producers, journalists, commentators as well as sportsbooks with interesting insights and stats to connect fans more deeply to the game and players.  

Visual content produced by PressBox Graphics (and automated by Opta data) will grab attention for broadcasters and sponsors on social and in blogs.  

Our Stats Perform News team and PressBox Video service will be providing on-location video content featuring fans, teams and players from Australia and New Zealand to the world. New tech ensures we’ll be delivering clips to global news desks faster than ever before, meaning more timely and better content to drive further exposure. 

Lastly, Stats Perform’s brand-new AI-powered advanced tracking data, Opta Vision, will be providing teams and broadcasters new metrics such as line-breaking passes and pressure intensity, providing deeper-than-ever insights into the tactical aspects of the game. 

It’s going to be a huge tournament for us and our customers. To find out more visit Statsperform.com or follow Opta Joe or The Analyst on Twitter to get quick stats, insights, facts, and content throughout the tournament. The Stats Perform team and I will also be at SBC Summit Barcelona in September and are always happy to talk sports content and relive what will be an amazing month of football! 

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