Tim Swartz has a passion for sports analytics. The long-time faculty member within the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science at Simon Fraser University has found many ways to incorporate that interest in his work. For example, he has teamed up with colleagues from his department and other universities to undertake a CANSSI Collaborative Research Teams project in Sports Analytics: Exploring Complex Sports Datasets.
Recently he spoke about his career, and his interest in sports analytics, in part 1 of a two-part podcast on “Statistics and Sports Analytics” on Sample Space, a platform hosted by the Department of Statistical Science at University College London that invites the public to “explore the subject and people of statistics.”
He recalled an early paper in which he used statistical analysis to argue that hockey teams should pull their goalies for an extra attacker far earlier than was the then-current practice when they were behind in a game.
And he talked about how a knowledge of probability can be applied to increase the odds of winning in various sports betting scenarios—although he was quick to caution, “I’m really hesitant to say much about gambling because I’m very aware that, you know, there’s gambling addictions, and bookmakers exist because they make money and therefore most people end up losing.”
The full podcast (along with a transcript) is available here.