Should Wipeouts Prevent Bettors From Taking Favorites in Alpine Skiing?
On Tuesday, Austrian skier Matthias Mayer wiped out in the slalom leg of the men’s Alpine combined downhill event at the Winter Olympics.
This is not an unusual occurrence in Olympic Alpine skiing. In fact, this winter sport has seen the greatest number of runs end in DNFs (did not finish) or DQs (disqualification), according to data pulled from Sports-Reference.com.
Research done by FiveThirtyEight.com has shown that nearly one in every three Alpine skiing attempts at the Olympics ends prematurely. That stands in stark contrast to one of the craziest sports on ice – the skeleton. Despite rocketing face-first down a mountain on a sled, 99.4% of riders finish each skeleton attempt.
Why should bettors care which sports have the most wipeouts? Increased variance caused by DNFs and DQs makes a sport more unpredictable, which should lead to value on underdogs. Does the data support this theory?