French economist Christophe Barraud traces his passion for forecasting to his teenage years, when he and his father bet on horses at tracks around Nice. At a 2002 race, they wagered 100 euros on a winning pair of horses -- the short-odds darling and a long-odds entrant -- and doubled their money, mostly from the latter’s second-place finish. The payoff spurred Barraud, then 16, to dabble with rudimentary computer models to pick the most-profitable bets in sports.
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