The Psychology Of Sports Betting

Understanding the psychology behind why we bet, specifically on sports, can actually help us to become better bettors.  What’s more, successful sports betting has become increasingly more possible since the advent of the internet.  A wealth of information is now available to anyone with an Internet connection.

Strangely enough, each and every one of us is naturally programmed, or hard-wired if you will, to make the wrong betting decisions.  This is thanks to our survival instinct – that part of the brain or instinct that makes us to not see things exactly as they are, despite all information pointing us in a specific direction.

This is exactly where the advantage is to be found.  Those who understand the psychology behind why we bet and why we make the decisions that we do (by instinct) are better equipped to off-set those decisions with better ones, creating a decided advantage over those bettors who do not understand the psychological process behind their reasoning.

Improving Personal Odds

Research has shown, quite contrary to what science has dictated up until very recently, that we tend to make better betting decisions when we are hungry.  Interestingly enough, hunger seems to enable us to better appreciate the value of a future award, something that is quite vital in sports betting.

The reasoning behind why this works is that bettors are prone to make better strategic decisions when hungry due to strategy having been an important skill in earlier times when food had to be found and hunted for; a task that was more often than not, performed on an empty stomach.

The Turn Of The Season

Returning once more to ancient times, our ancestors used to be much more in tune with and aware of the changing of the seasons.  This was because winter was a dangerous time, and food a scarce commodity during the colder months.  People adjusted to the challenges that winter posed by living in a more conservative fashion and taking fewer risks during the colder and more treacherous months.  We may not face the same challenges in today’s day and age but on many levels we are still programmed to deal with certain things in certain ways.  What this means for us now is that we are less likely to make risky decisions on shorter (winter) days than on the longer, warmer days of summer and spring.

Understanding this will certainly aid a player in making better decisions, whatever the season, than those who are not aware of this predisposition.  This is more applicable to sports betting than any other form of betting, due to most sports being season-locked.

Understanding The Sunk Cost Fallacy

The term “sunk costs” in economics refers to any cost that has already been paid and cannot be recovered.   A good example would be a hardware store business having invested a sizable amount of money into new hardware stock.  The money has been spent and the stock acquired.  The money spent should no longer be a factor as far as future business decisions go.

Another example would be buying tickets to a music concert.  On the morning of the concert you fall ill with a cold.  You instinctively reason that the concert must be attended as the money for the tickets has already been spent.  The concert has been scheduled for a cool winter evening, resulting in your cold becoming even worse.  Despite the cold, you decided to go because otherwise it would have been a “waste of money”.

The fact of the matter is that the money has been spent and you will not be able to get it back – you aren’t going to have a great time at the concert due to the illness, and what’s more, you’ve now ended up making matters worse.  You have fallen victim to the sunk cost fallacy.  Nobody wins in this particular situation.

The sunk cost fallacy often rears its ugly head in sports betting.  The fact of the matter is that a lot can happen between the time of having placed your bet and the actual sporting event.  This can significantly alter your predictions regarding the outcome of the match or game.  However, the bet has been placed, and not much can be done about this after the fact.  It’s no use going back and betting even more money on the initial premise, simply because you have already done so.  Your mind should only be changed by new information and not by the fact that an investment has already been made in a certain direction.

Simply placing a bet will not make the proposed outcome any more likely to happen.  Mere commitment should not be allowed to alter your prediction.  Information should always be evaluated on pure merit – never on emotional partiality!