Analysis: Can Body Language Experts Help You Live Bet Basketball? 

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Jay Croucher is pretty sure it has never before been done.

“A head of trading at a sportsbook, a body language expert, a certified sports psychologist and Carlos Boozer,” Croucher said.  “All getting together to provide insights on a college basketball game.”

Croucher is the head oddsmaker at PointsBet Sportsbook, and he is talking on the operator’s first body-language live stream.

Living the stream

PointsBet debuted this live stream during the Final Four round of March Madness.

It ran on Instagram and Twitter at the start and halftime of both semi-final games, and featured:

Did bettors tune in to PointsBet stream?

The idea behind it was to potentially help customers win money, or as PointsBet put it, “to explore how a team’s state of mind on the court can affect player performance and overall team dynamic.”

There was indeed plenty of interest in the concept.

“This exceeded our expectations,” Liam Roecklein, PointsBet SVP of content, told LSR .”We wanted to provide a different perspective from these behavioral experts, and people tuned in looking for that edge.

Sizing it up

Roecklein said 580,000 viewers tuned in during the four sessions, including 17,500 concurrently. 

“The feedback was strong,” Roecklein said. “Bettors loved the insights the professionals provided for them. We can see it in the numbers that the live streams generated and its impact on the overall increase in bets and handle.”

Is there an edge?

So far, so good then. But can a behavioral expert actually help you win?

That is less clear. The experts provided plenty of insight, but it felt more reactive than predictive.

For instance, at halftime of the Kansas-Villanova game, we learned the Jayhawks were feeling loose and happy in the first half based on the length of their gait.

By contrast, the Villanova players were taking smaller steps and keeping their arms pinned to their side, suggesting they were feeling tight and a little overwhelmed. 

We also learned the Villanova coach was under a lot of stress based on his pursed lips and furrowed glabella (the smooth bit of the forehead.) But then, Kansas stormed out to an early lead and were up 40-29, so of course they were feeling free and easy.

Plaudits to PointsBet

We were told to watch for the length of the gait in the second half to see if Villanova was gaining confidence. But it feels like you would end up just backing the team with momentum, which is probably the opposite of a winning strategy.

That is not to say the concept was a failure. Half a million engaged viewers is no joke for a debut stream. Plus it was infinitely better than watching other people watch their bets *cough Barstool cough.*

Indeed, any attempt to innovate in sports betting content should be applauded. But it is an age-old problem; good content does not necessarily mean winning content for bettors.

So maybe think twice before you take out your tape measure and start trying to measure stride length on your TV.