Storyblocks Photo of a Single White and Black Dice on a Wooden Table.
Storyblocks Photo of a Single White and Black Dice on a Wooden Table.

What Are the Odds?

Photo Credit: Storyblocks.
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About This Episode

What are the odds that a last-second Hail Mary pass will work? How can machine learning and artificial intelligence help us decide to go for it? On this episode of StarTalk Sports Edition, Neil deGrasse Tyson and co-hosts Gary O’Reilly and Chuck Nice investigate with mathematician and author Matt Ginsberg. 

We investigate how superstition can manifest itself in sports when people can’t control the outcome. Matt tells us how he assists sports programs by using data to help predict certain scenarios and patterns. You’ll learn why machine learning is “statistics on steroids.”

Find out why Matt says you can’t predict anything with 100% certainty. We explore “asset management” in sports and using data to find surprises. We ask, “If you can find everything you need with numbers why do we still need coaches?” Matt tells us about his work with the Oregon Ducks volleyball program and how the NCAA intervened. 

Matt explains why you should always go for it on 4th and 1. Matt shares his experiences dealing with coaches and their “not-invented-here” syndrome. Discover more about using naturally-occurring data vs. using synthetic data. Matt also tells us about the football play he invented – the passing/optional self-safety. All that, plus, you’ll hear why every underdog in football should go for two every time. 

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In This Episode

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