Humans have inherently excited about the prospects of gambling. Unfortunately, some aspects of the same mind interfere with the winners’ mindset and make people lose money in sports betting in the long run.
These prejudices can also be called psychological defects or plain philosophical fallacies. In fact, as a human, every gambler is susceptible to these cognitive traits, and they become a liability and hinder rational thinking. Sportsbooks are well aware of these prejudices, and they use them to their advantage to outsmart the bettors.
OddsMax is going to detail the five most common sports betting biases so that you can quickly identify them and avoid.
1. The Gambler’s Fallacy
The most common and well-known of all the prejudices, the “gambler’s fallacy” is something that is observed in almost every sport and not just gambling. Almost every game based on chance is affected by gambler’s fallacy. Simply put, this phenomenon is “the mistaken belief that if something happens more frequently than normal during a given period, it will happen less frequently in the future.”
Now if this explanation seems a bit too confusing for you, we can understand this phenomenon known the help of an example. We will use the example of flipping a coin to understand the gambler’s fallacy. Flipping a coin is a 50-50 situation; the outcome is either heads or tails. It is clearly a 50% proposition every time, but the bias comes in when an individual believes that the past outcomes will affect future trials.
For instance, if you flip a coin ten times and every time it comes heads, does this mean that the tails on the next toss is most likely? If you think rationally, the answer is no. The outcome of tails is exactly the same as it was in the first ten tries, which is a 50% probability.
In the context of sports betting is the tendency of occurs when we consider a team that has won or lost a few times in a row, we expect the opposite to happen soon. Unfortunately, in reality, the past does not impact the future. If you happen to find yourself betting on the outcome based on the rationale that the final result is likely to happen because it has not happened in a while, then you’re falling victim to the gambler’s fallacy.
Many gamblers have lost to their bankroll due to this cognitive bias.
What is the solution?
Simply evaluate every outcome individually independently from the previous games.
2. Outcome Bias
No one can argue that sports are not the results business. If the outcome is not achieved, then it doesn’t really matter what strategy or calling to make throughout the game. However, you cannot say the same about sports betting.
Confused? Allow us to explain.
If you are a serious gambler, then you should be making your choices based on some form of information rather than just going by your guts. With the Internet, all the information is available at your fingertips, so it is not difficult to dig up the information and find the numbers to support your research to back the odds.
There must always be a strategy behind your gambling choices that must be supported by some form of data. With that being said, there is no perfect way to make a gamble.
You have to consider that there is a very fine difference between weekend gamblers and professional bettors. Professionals make their smart plays based on data. Their bets might not win every time, but they will win over time.
Hindsight is always 20/20, which is why it is common to look at your past losses and kick yourself for the choices you should have made. That’s a wrong attitude if you honestly Sports bet with data there is nothing to regret.
Outcome bias is this very self-criticism that can lead to a lot of frustration, making you easily neglect your strategies. You have to realise a good betting play can still loose; it has nothing to do with your shortcomings.
3. Recency Bias
it is a common observation that sports fans overreact to the most recent events during the season no matter what sport it is.
We all know it is not unusual for a single game to completely change the opinion public has of a team or player.
While it is important that you take all the information into account, it is necessary that you do not put special emphasis on the most recent events. Suppose if an NFL team enters the fifth week at 0-4, but if they win big in the fifth game, you can take bet it will have a significant impact on their odds the following week.
“Recency bias” is a real thing and not just a theory. It actually affects the way the public puts their money and makes a real impact on lines the following week. Whenever you are betting, make sure you are making a decision based on the current matchup and not on the outcome of the previous games to avoid this bias.
4. The Availability Heuristic
This cognitive bias is a lot similar to recency bias. However, availability heuristic has a much more direct impact on your decision-making. This prejudice also hinders your research and prevents you from using data that can use to make an educated decision.
All the sports betting decisions that you make out of your feelings and not based on actual data are because of availability heuristic bias. It makes you take the most recent information and apply it for decision-making rather than researching your bet.
For example, if you see an NFL team went to great games but lost the third one when they play badly, you can have a distorted view of the team. It makes more sense to you because you saw them play poorly they lose, which makes you believe that it is the true representation of the team, however, it is not so.
The easiest way to combat availability heuristic is to never believe “eye test” over the numbers. The only situation when you should involve your personal feelings is when data leaves you with a 50-50 proposition, but it rarely happens.
5. The Affect Heuristic
Hands down the most difficult sports bias for people to ignore is the affect heuristic. Interestingly most people do not even know that they are being influenced by this bias. While you may not be similar to the term but are most likely to be aware of the phenomenon.
The affect heuristic is the phenomenal referred to the process of decision making based on sole emotions and not the numbers or reason. Nearly every facet of your life is affected by this bias which is why it is so difficult to overcome.
The affect heuristic is the reason why you always bet on your favourite team even if the numbers are against them. Even if your favourite team is not playing, you still have a certain bias towards the team or a player.
You have to know that this bias will always affect every wager you make, and it is up to you to recognise and find the best way to overcome affect heuristic.
As a sports fan and a human, you’re always going to get influenced by the stories of the underdogs or root for certain teams of players. However, when sports betting, you have to keep in mind that you are putting your hard-earned money at risk and you cannot allow your judgement to be clouded by emotions that can result in the loss.
Sports Betting is a realm which is analytical and number-driven with minimal or no space for emotional decision making. As a human, it might be difficult for you to separate your cognitive biases from your sports betting decisions, unfortunately, there is no other option for you.
The best way to overcome these five prejudices is to take your time to do research before placing a bet on the game. With so much information available with a click, you have no excuse to bail on data and act on your feelings or hunches.
Remember that every sports bettor falls victim to these biases, all you have to do is to learn to recognise when you are falling victim of the same.