Sports Betting: 4 Reasons NOT To Listen To Your Gut



When it comes to sports betting and life in general, you will come across these things known as “gut feelings”, or intuition for a better word. Many individuals in life believe that their gut feelings provide them with some sort of advantage, either real or perceived. While gut feelings towards one team over another may lead you to winning bets once in a while, relying on your gut feelings is certainly not the right way to go about sports betting. Although gut feelings may appear to be rational at first, most gut feelings do not hold up, either mathematically or tested against historical results.

Being Affected By Lines

When you view a moneyline payout or a point spread, you may instantly agree that the favourite on the moneyline or point spread is indeed the favourite that you had in mind. However, this is not often the case as oddsmakers certainly have an impact on how you view the game. If you had not gotten a chance to look at the moneyline or point spread for a game but knew which two teams were playing, you might actually end up believing that the likely winning team turns out to be the underdog as perceived by oddsmakers. As a result, it is important to handicap games before looking at the moneyline or point spreads since these lines may implicitly alter your perceptions.

Availability Bias

The availability bias is defined as the reliance on immediate examples that come to a person’s mind when evaluating something. For example, if you had just heard on the news that a surfer was attacked by a shark, you may feel less inclined towards swimming in the ocean – this information was available to you shortly before you had to make a decision as to whether to go swimming in the ocean or not. The same concept applies to sports betting. If a team had just defeated another team by a huge margin, you may feel like this team will definitely win their next game as well. The reason the availability bias is so prevalent in the lives of many people is due to the fact that it completely makes sense in the minds of these people. However, in most cases, it fails to match up with reality.

Increasing Commitment Without Warrant

Many sports bettors make the mistake of increasing their commitment on a team that the have just wagered on without any reason that they should do so. For example, if an individual has just taken a team to win as favourites on the spread, but at halftime, this team has played terribly and is losing, the individual decides to make an additional bet on the same team to cover in the second half. However, this clearly doesn’t make sense – the team may just be having an off day. Why increase your commitment when you should be cutting your losses?

The Gambler’s Fallacy

The gambler’s fallacy, also known as the Monte Carlo fallacy, is the mistaken belief that if something happens more frequently than normal during a certain time period, it will happen less frequently in future periods. However, many times, these events are completely independent of each other. If a coin is flipped heads 100 times in a row, is it more likely to be tails on the 101th flip? The answer is no since each coin flip is independent of each other. The same applies to sports betting. If a team has won against the spread for seven straight games, does this mean that the team will be less likely to win against the spread in its eighth game. Like the previous question, the answer is no since each game, especially when it comes to the spread, is independent of all prior games.