It is well-known that betting on sports involves a large share of the cold-headed probability assessment. However, how many times have you based your sports predictions on personal preferences, emotions, and intuition? Let’s find out why it is probably not the best approach you should choose and what are its dangers.
Possibility & certainty effectThe role of wording & thinkingFocus & rare events
Possibility & certainty effect
How to make the most accurate sports betting predictions? What are the most important criteria you should make your sports predictions based on? If you have ever asked yourself any of these questions at least once, then this sports betting should find you quite helpful.
While those questions are quite common and have been already answered hundreds of times, there are still plenty of punters who make their picks off personal feelings or intuition. Such an approach is a one-way street and is not going to lead you anywhere close to success. You might be able to catch some momentum at the beginning, but it is not going to last long before you will see the bottom of your bankroll. Thus, it is strongly recommended to make your bets based on the value (using the expected value calculations, for example). Nevertheless, there are plenty of bettors who neglect these recommendations and fall into the pothole of making their sports predictions based on their attitude towards the potential returns.
Punters who commit such a mistake make their selections based on the emotional reaction their brain generates the moment they think about their potential winnings or chances of winning. Generally speaking, there are two main feelings that influence such behaviour. The first one is called the possibility effect. It can be observed the moment when something that was completely impossible or extremely unlikely to happen shows a glimpse of hope, automatically triggering the positive emotion. The majority of bettors who overestimate their chances of landing longshot wagers usually make their decisions under the influence of the possibility effect. What is more, it is one of the main reasons why people participate in lotteries, where the incentive of winning a fortune from a tiny investment is quite obvious. The second feeling, on the other hand, is called the certainty effect. It is the inverse effect of the possibility one, where you underestimate the probability when it gets closer to certainty (95-100%), assumed no expected value calculations were made. As for the intermediate probabilities, there seems to be almost no correlation regardless of the quantitative aspect of the likelihood since the qualitative part of it does not trigger the same responses in our brain.
The role of wording & thinking
While falling for emotional betting is rather an incognitive process, experts outline a couple of dangerous scenarios that will lead you right to making biased decisions.
The first one on our list is connected with our personal attitude towards a particular team or player. It is one of the most common mistakes among bettors to pick one side over another just because of the personal belief in either one being a more likely occurrence. What is more, things get even worse, and punters tend to move further away from a proper probability assessment when the outcome in question evokes a stronger emotional response or when the same situation requires us to be significantly more focused on the matter. This scenario is, once again, more obvious among lottery players when thinking about the potential win or, what is more, benefits you get from it, triggers the thinking process, which subsequently overweights the probability of actually scoping it. A very similar process happens when you consider betting on your favourite team or player. Our brain automatically generates strong & desired (rather than realistic) outcomes, which in other words is called - thinking the ball into the net.
The second aspect, which is highly likely to lead you into the same pothole of emotional betting, is connected with your betting selection's actual phrasing. In other words, it is important how your wager is worded. The more complicated or less clear it is, the less likely you are to properly assess the likelihood of it occurring. Moreover, the more detailed & specific your selection is, the better for you. Simplified or shorted ways of your wager’s visual representation automatically will make you overestimate the chances of winning and vice versa. Altogether, you have to watch out for the wording of your selections and stop thinking the ball into the net in order to stay on the right track.
Not only the way your selections are worded but also the way they look or put together is important as well. The way you focus on your selection or the way your focus is directed towards it has as much of an effect on your betting as your emotions. Focusing on the individual options of the wager separately produces a different response than when viewed all together. One psychological study has shown that punters tend to underestimate the probability when looking at individually listed options (for example, on the outright market). Using the NBA Championship example, the study has also shown that the individual approach of assigning the likelihood of each quarter-finalists team winning the ring appeared to be highly overestimated by almost 150%, due to vivid emotional response towards each of the sides. However, when asked to pick the winner of each of the Conferences (out of the list), the aggregate probabilities were ranging about 100% because of a weaker emotional response linked to the decision.
Moving on, punters who love longshots or simply like betting on the rather rare events have another danger lurking on them. While this phenomenon does not have its own name, there was a betting duo called the Hole In One Gang that sort of gave the bias its name. The bettors showed the way rare events (assumed no resources to properly assess them are available) are being comprehended by punters, bookmakers & oddsmakers. They decided to find out the actual odds of the hole-in-one occurring during the famous European golf event and ended up with the odds of 2.25 (5/4) after certain calculations and analysis. Equipped with such information, they decided to travel around the country and ask independent bookmakers to price up such an option without them having enough data for a decent probability assessment. Due to the fact that the event in question was really a rare one and there were little to no records of it occurring in person or during the televised matches, the prices offered by the betting operators were ranging between 4.00 (3/1) & 101.00 (100/1), which is heavily underestimated in regards to probability.
The example above, once again, shows the importance of analysis, price evaluation and risk assessment of every single selection you make. Unfortunately, bettors usually forget about it and get carried away by making their sports predictions based on their emotional responses. We hope this sports betting guide will find you very helpful and prevent you from committing such an obvious mistake that could prove to be quite costly in the long run.
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