Have you ever experienced that feeling where you absolutely know what the outcome of an event will be to the point where you need to state it or explain it or bet on it? Everybody that has bet on a sporting event has been there before. It’s that feeling in your gut like you know exactly what to expect before it happens. How many times were you right after all? The problem with trusting your gut is that thoughts that appear rational at first might not seem as realistic in the long run when you reflect back on them. After all, if you feel so strongly about the prediction in the first place then that actual feeling might provide an inherent bias. Here is a look at the four biggest reasons not to trust your gut when betting.
One of the biggest problems with trusting your gut is the way that it can change your perception of an event. For example, if you look at a point spread and one team is favored by five points over the other, your brain could actually tell you that the favorite is actually a better team than the underdog regardless of whether or not it is actually the case in the given matchup. Sometimes referred to as anchoring in the sports betting world, it’s important to understand matchups as they are and not allow your gut to alter your perception of a given event before it unfolds.
Another problem with betting with your gut is that you could subject your self to an availability bias, which happens when you attach meaning of a recent event’s influence to your selection. For example, if two teams play in a rematch of a recent game in which one dominated the other, it makes sense that you would think the team that prevailed in the original meeting would have the edge once again in the rematch. While it makes sense in your head, it isn’t necessarily the case in reality. This type of bias could influence you to feel more strongly about a potential outcome than you should and influence you to bet on it.
Imagine that you want to bet on two teams that appear on the surface to have an equal chance of winning their respective matchups. Only your gut is telling you that one team seems more likely to win than the other. Do you put more money on that team than the other? What happens when you put more money on the team your gut is telling you to bet on but that team loses and the other team you bet on wins? Assuming they are equal odds, now you have lost more money than you have won. The biggest mistake that those who bet with their gut make is increasing their investment on one side and risking more than they should on one outcome.
The Gambling Fallacy
The Gambler’s Fallacy is the tendency for people to believe that independent events influence a sequence of events statistically when they don’t. For example, if one team has beaten another four times in a row then the other team is due for a win, right? Wrong. There is no actual correlation between a head-to-head win streak and the probability that the winning team loses its next meeting. It’s important not to let your mind trick you in to these types of gambling fallacies. In order for that to happen, it’s important to avoid trusting your gut and stick with your brain when it comes to betting on sports.