Spread Knowledge Founder Charles Ormsby joins Ryan on episode 64 of the Knup Sports Show to talk all about data driven sports picks & trends. He talks about where SK was originated from and where it’s going in the future.
Ryan Knuppel: 00:00 On this show, we talk to Charles Ormsby of Spread Knowledge about data-driven sports picks and trends. Everywhere you turn, it’s the same old sports talk, the same headlines, the same news, and the same boring information. This podcast is here to change all of that. We bring you hot sports stakes, winning sports betting strategy and picks, reliable gaming industry news and breaking interviews with some of the biggest names in sports business. My name is Ryan Knuppel, and welcome to the Knup Sports Show. All right, all right, all right. Welcome back to another episode of the Knup Sports Show. I’m your host, Ryan Knuppel, here with you each and every episode. Today, I’m joined by Charles Ormsby of Spread Knowledge. Charles, are you with me?
Charles Ormsby: 00:39 Yes. Hello, Ryan.
Ryan Knuppel: 00:41 Hello. How are you today, Charles? You’re doing well?
Charles Ormsby: 00:42 Doing very well, how about you?
Ryan Knuppel: 00:45 Awesome. Doing well here in sunny Orlando, Florida, I’m doing well. So I appreciate you joining me. Charles has developed a pretty cool little data-driven sports system called Spread Knowledge, a website service that I think you listeners are going to want to tune in and really understand what Charles is doing because they are crushing it with some picks. And I would love to just get inside Charles’ brain here and understand, I guess, where Spread Knowledge came from, what it is, where they’re going with it, how it can help all of our listeners, and stuff like that. So over the next 10, 15 minutes, that’s where we’re going with this conversation. Charles, give us just a quick overview, what is Spread Knowledge? You can go.
Charles Ormsby: 01:29 Yeah, so we started this project about 10 years ago, and I’m a data scientist so it spawned out of many other projects that I was working on at the time, and some friends needed some fantasy data aggregated for them. And what we started doing was reading-in data from all sorts of different places all over the web, from APIs to web scraping and all sorts of different techniques to really… We’ve become a massive aggregator of sports point spreads and scores, so what we try to do is grade every point spread that we read into the system essentially. And we read them from a whole collection of different places, so about six or seven different sports books and scores come from, probably, 20 or 30 different sites all over the world. And what we do is we marry up those spreads to the scores for the purposes of grading each pick, and essentially providing those picks, in a ranked way, to our members so they can see which ones are the most profitable.
Charles Ormsby: 02:33 So we float the profitable picks to the top, and show the users, based on the sport that they care about, which point spread picks are the most profitable. So in a lot of ways, it’s a historical profit index, and that’s at the heart of what we do, and we’re a new take on handicapping. In the past, handicappers have said, “Take this pick,” or, “This stake is hot,” for whatever reason, but what we really try to do is present all the data to our members and let them choose which ones they think are the best from the A’s or the five star type picks.
Ryan Knuppel: 03:16 Yeah, that’s really cool, and I’ve noticed you guys have been doing really well. I think we met back in… Gosh, where was it? Was it New Jersey at one of the conferences? I believe the Betting On Sports conference. And from there I’ve noticed you guys doing some great things. I think you got on board as a covers expert. I’ve noticed several articles about you guys. So you guys must be producing winning advice, is that correct? This thing must be working, correct?
Charles Ormsby: 03:43 Yeah, we have a machine-learning layer that sits on top of the analytical layer, and that optimizes the stat model essentially based on each sport. So, for example, our baseball picks have been really great all season. It’s been about 190 wins to 140 losses or so, and that’s way above the averages in terms of point spreads, so that really includes the run line and the totals, essentially. And what we’ve found is, presenting those picks to the user and letting them choose, is really a better method than saying, “Hey, take these three picks and let us know how you do.” So, our NFL picks have been fantastic. It doesn’t really matter so much the line or the price, per se, and we don’t get into the injury level and things like that.
Charles Ormsby: 04:42 What we look at is the price and the line, and we essentially say, “This price and this line is profitable for this team,” or, “It’s not profitable for this team,” and that has been working. So, obviously for the NFL, the Patriots are always at the top. Last year, in the first half, the Rams were really doing really well up against the point spread. So it changes by sport, but our machine-learning tells us which ones are going to be profitable in the future, essentially.
Ryan Knuppel: 05:13 Now you guys obviously analyze a bunch of data to make these picks. What kind of data points are you looking at? Besides just the typical spreads and things of that nature, are there other data points that you’re throwing into your formula to spit out some of these results?
Charles Ormsby: 05:29 Yeah. So for each pick, we have 3,872 different data points.
Ryan Knuppel: 05:35 Wow.
Charles Ormsby: 05:35 [crosstalk 00:05:35]. Yeah. It’s great though. So, a simple data point that everyone understands is after a loss. So a team, particularly in baseball, performs very differently after a loss, than versus after a win. And that applies to other sports as well, so teams have a nature about them, and so, as an example, after a loss… A more complicated example might be after, against the spread, a loss at home type of situation, and then, you can get even more complicated ones such as, after, against the spread, loss at home against an individual rival, or against a team that… Their offense is outperforming the field by… They’re in the top 80 percentile type of thing. So you can take those trends or data points and keep taking them a bit deeper and a bit deeper at each level, and that’s how we get to those, approximately, 4,000 that we process for each pick.
Ryan Knuppel: 06:37 That’s pretty cool, man. And like you said, most sports betters… You have a mix, right? You have the sports betters that just want to be spoonfed picks. There’s those, but then there’s a vast majority of people that still want to have control and want to make their picks, and that’s where I fall. I really enjoy still having that decision of making picks, and what I’m hearing here is Spread Knowledge is just the ultimate tool to help you in your handicapping, really. It’s not going to necessarily say, “This is the pick.” It’s going to say, “Hey, here are some picks that you may want to look at,” and then, combined with whatever else you’re doing, your own handicapping, or other tools you may have, or whatever, it’s just another tool in the tool shed, per se, correct?
Charles Ormsby: 07:23 Yeah, absolutely. We have a set of tools that we think are productive for a sports better, and we encourage using those tools how ever they best fit your current processes today, because every better has a process, right? So we’re really looking at people adopting our tools as a step in that process.
Ryan Knuppel: 07:47 Now being a business owner in this space and being somebody that’s kind of at the cutting edge of all of this, I’m going to ask you a tough question. What are some of the challenges, or one of the biggest challenges you’re facing as a business in this space? You have something that sticks out that, man, you’re like, “This is one of my challenges. This is what I could really use help with,” maybe from audience listening or for myself or whatever. What are some of the challenges you’re facing, simply, in business with Spread Knowledge?
Charles Ormsby: 08:15 Yeah, so our biggest challenge, I think, is probably common with most consumer products in the sports betting space and, probably, the broader gaming space, and that is, you can give a sports better the winning picks every day, and at the end of the day they can still have a losing day because they made some bad picks on their own, right?
Ryan Knuppel: 08:34 Yup.
Charles Ormsby: 08:36 So we found that we can have a great day. Let’s say, all our top A, or A Plus picks win that day, and we go five and O, we saw this situation where a member, for whatever reason, did something like took some different set of picks that maybe we were explaining that there were good value picks down at the B Plus level, for whatever reason. And they took those picks and, for whatever reason, it didn’t work out that day. So we’ve had situations where they’re like, “Well, you want me to just take all the A Plus picks, or should I just bet on the A picks?” It’s hard to really say because we don’t really want to be touting one particular pick or one particular set of picks.
Charles Ormsby: 09:21 What we want to be is a source for a double check, really, against your intuition and the other tools that you have in your process to say, “This pick has been historically profitable, and we think it’s a winning pick. It has some expected value if you take it at that line or price,” versus just using your other tools that, maybe, don’t have the depth of the dataset that we process every day.
Ryan Knuppel: 09:46 That’s interesting, and I think that’s a common problem in this space. And I don’t want to offend anybody listening, but I may. I think sometimes sports betters and people that are especially buying picks or buying services or joining services like yours, at the end of the day, the ownership still comes down to the better and making their decision. I think a lot of times, you see people that want to put the blame on the service, or put the blame on the picks or whatever, but at the end of the day, you still have the ultimate decision to use that information how you want, to make your own picks. You’re the one still making the pick, you’re the one still placing the bet. So I think there’s a disconnect there, where people want to put that blame on the service, where, really, you’re just an assisting tool to help make a better pick. Nobody’s ever going to win them all, right? And so I think the ownership needs to come back to the consumer a little bit, in cases like this.
Charles Ormsby: 10:46 Yeah, absolutely. And-
Ryan Knuppel: 10:46 And… Yeah. Go ahead.
Charles Ormsby: 10:46 So, one of the other things that’s kind of key to what we do too, is providing live in-game spread value alerts, and what that means is, essentially… We had a situation where Aaron Rodgers was down at halftime last year in Detroit, and he was down by four touchdowns at half time. And then the live point spread was Packers plus-24, and Aaron Rodgers ended up coming back, leading them to almost win that game. They lost by field goal at the end. But, regardless, they covered that 24 points really well. We have a tool that alerts our users to that. But that’s another example of something where, just because we alerted you to that Aaron Rodgers pick, where the Packers were plus-24, it doesn’t mean that pick’s necessarily going to win, but we have had users that try to play all those live picks that we promote, and it doesn’t always work out for a given period, especially if the sample set’s short.
Ryan Knuppel: 11:44 Sure.
Charles Ormsby: 11:45 Our picks win really well over three months, six months… They’re very profitable, and that’s been documented all over our site, but the truth is, if you take them for a week or so, it’s hard to really guarantee that they’re going to be profitable for you, especially with the user ultimately having full control.
Ryan Knuppel: 12:07 Yeah, and that just goes straight back into bankroll management and being able to look at this as a longterm investment or a longterm space, instead of the short term. Nobody’s going to win every pick in the short term, but over a longterm, if you’re grinding out profits using systems like what you guys have, and advice that you have, that’s what it’s all about, but educating consumers that, that’s what it’s all about. I think it’s a tough space sometimes when we’re in this environment, in this industry and in this world that want it now. They want winners now, they want money now, so I can imagine that’s a tough, tough thing for you guys to work through and just mentally work through, I guess, as a company.
Charles Ormsby: 12:49 Yes. It’s tough because when we first launched, back in 2013, we launched primarily as a fantasy contest or polls type of place for office pools and things like that, and that didn’t work out really well. But we relaunched back in July, just now, and it’s going a lot better because our tools are more focused now, and we are able to provide profitable picks, so if you took all our A’s and our A-pluses over the last 12 months, you would be up a lot of units in terms of profit. But the truth is that the users just want the best picks for the day, and they want the winning picks, so in some ways we were forced, by our members, to create a Pro Picks area. So we have Pro Picks area where we try to handpick some of the best picks that we think that the machine had graded really highly for that day.
Charles Ormsby: 13:46 However, what we’ve even found over time is that, even though we try to hand manicure those picks, it doesn’t perform as well as the machine picks, and if you just took the machine picks every day, in a lot of ways you would outperform what we have as the Pro Picks.
Ryan Knuppel: 14:02 Very interesting. So what’s next? What’s in the future for Spread Knowledge? Do you guys have growing ambitions? Do you have more functionality coming? What’s next with you guys?
Charles Ormsby: 14:15 Yeah, so there’s a few things that we have cooking in the background. One of the things that we try to promote to the best of our abilities is our Social Picks. So on our platform, you can make a pick for, pretty much most major sports markets. We’re going to be adding props soon, so you’ll be able to do props. You’ll also get value grades on props as well, and event futures, so future bets. So we’ll be running those through our model as well. In addition to following other users who are doing well and things like that, we’re also going to roll out a contest area like what we had launched with back in 2013, so you’ll be able to run point spread based and money-line based office pools and contests through our site as well. And you’ll see the grades. You get to see the machine grades too, while you’re competing in the contest, so you’ll get some supplemental analytics while you’re facilitating or participating in that contest or pool.
Charles Ormsby: 15:20 So those are two key things, and then, we’re also going to start doing live analytics on endgame point spread betting, so probably in the short future, I’d say in the next month or two, we’ll be taking our Matchup Preview product and turning that into a Live Match Up analytics product that will show you where the value is in-game for both totals and then, of course, the point spread betting for each team.
Ryan Knuppel: 15:50 Wow. Lots to come, man. That’s pretty impressive though. As you know, there are other competitors in this space, or other people that are doing similar type products. I guess some of the stuff you’re talking about seems to really stand out over the crowd. What would you consider your differentiator? When you’re talking to people looking for this type of service, why would they choose you, I guess, over others that are in this space? I know you just mentioned a whole bunch of stuff that I actually hadn’t heard from other competitors, but do you have a differentiator that you would consider Spread Knowledge having?
Charles Ormsby: 16:27 Yeah. So we were really founded as a small company a long time ago, and our mission is really to help the betting public. Some people might snicker at that and frown upon it, but the truth is that we got into this to really help the betting public be more informed when they go to make their sports bets. So, as a result of that mission, our products are very affordable, they’re what I would consider to be inexpensive for the most part. So we really wanted to make them available to everyone no matter if you were betting $10 on a game or $1,000 on a game. So they’re, in my opinion, priced very competitively. I think the tools and the performance speak for themselves.
Charles Ormsby: 17:16 Everything that we do is documented in our leader-boards area so you can see both our user and our machine picks for every sport there. We’re trying to be as transparent as possible, with the idea that the ultimate goal is really to turn the betting public into a sustainable winner, someone who’s not just throwing 100 bucks in their account and it gets drained by Monday, but someone who can put 100 bucks in their account and learn or adapt to a way that they can maintain that bankroll and have a bit of fun while they grow it, rather than just where most betters go wrong in terms of just not managing their bankroll properly and also making bad picks.
Ryan Knuppel: 18:05 Absolutely. So you mentioned pricing. So tell the audience how they can sign up, where they can sign up, what kind of packages you guys offer, and so forth.
Charles Ormsby: 18:17 Yeah. Everything’s available at spreadknowledge.com. We have a free membership, so we have three tiers. We have a free membership, which gives you access to see a lot of stuff. It doesn’t give you some of our premium content, which is our live spread value alerts and some of our highest creative picks, but pretty much other than that, you can see everything. And then there’s a $20 a month subscription or membership, and a $60 a month membership. And the $20 a month membership gets you access to everything, and you can see everything, it just has the machine learning or AI turned off. And then, for $60 a month, you get absolutely everything with the machine-AI-picks turned on with the stat model that’s very, very profitable.
Ryan Knuppel: 19:04 Wow. And that’s just supporting your point even further. $60 a month, even at $10, a better is betting five, 10 games a day, right? So 50 bucks a day times… They’re betting three to five grand a month. You can afford a $60 tool that’s going to help you win more than it’s going to lose. Even if you gained a few percentages on your win-loss ratio, that’s a no brainer in my eyes.
Charles Ormsby: 19:30 Yeah, we hoped so. I hope everyone feels that way.
Ryan Knuppel: 19:32 Yeah, that’s how I see it. It seems like a great product. I’ve poked around in there, and I’m planning on using it heavily here in the future, so I just got to find that time to really dive in and make it happen. But I urge the audience… I urge you guys to check it out. Charles is a great guy. We had a good time in New Jersey, there at that conference, so I’m looking forward to meet you again at another one, and sitting down, talking shop a little bit, and just hearing what you guys have because it certainly seems that you guys got good things going on.
Charles Ormsby: 20:06 Yeah, we hope so. And I’m available on most channels all over the place online. So, certainly, this is a very important mission for us, and we’re just excited to be out here and providing good picks every day, hopefully helping the betting public, every day, be a little sharper.
Ryan Knuppel: 20:26 Well you certainly are. And again, you’re not out here guaranteeing that you’re going to have 70% winners. You’re not guaranteeing that every pick’s going to win. Your mission is right on, you’re here to help the betting public get better, help them find an advantage when they can. And I certainly appreciate that as a better and as an advocate of this space, I certainly appreciate people and companies that seem to have the betting public in their best interest, so I do thank you for that.
Charles Ormsby: 20:57 Yeah, very welcome.
Ryan Knuppel: 20:59 Awesome, buddy. Well I appreciate you joining me. Everyone listening, this is Charles Ormsby, you can find him at spreadknowledge.com. Check out Spread Knowledge on any of the social platforms, and you’ll be hearing a lot more from them in the future, so go out there and check it out. If you have any questions, you can contact me out on LinkedIn, or you can contact Charles at any of the social media places. So Charles, that being said, I’ll let you go. I appreciate you joining me, and I hope to maybe connect again at some point in the future.
Charles Ormsby: 21:26 Yeah. Thanks so much for having me, Ryan, and thanks audience for listening. And I hope you have a very successful and profitable football season.
Ryan Knuppel: 21:35 All right, everybody. Thank you and have a great day.
Charles Ormsby: 21:37 Bye now.
Ryan Knuppel: 21:38 Thanks for listening to this episode of the Knup Sports Show. If you enjoyed this podcast, please consider subscribing to our iTunes channel today, plus visit us at knupsports.com for more picks, previews, strategy, and news. That’s K-N-U-P sports.com.
You can find Charles on LinkedIn at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/charles-ormsby-iii-3823441/
Learn more about Spread Knowledge on their website: https://spreadknowledge.com/
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