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What are the most common mistakes sports bettors make?


What are the most common mistakes sports bettors make?

How to avoid the most common mistakes in betting? How important is the bookmaker you choose? What impact do cognitive biases have on bettors?

While Betting Resources aims to educate bettors about everything from the basics of betting to predictive models, some bettors still fall into the common traps that inhibit success. This article provides a basic explanation of the common mistakes bettors make and how to avoid them. Read on to learn more.

Failing to understand the concept of value

Value isn’t as simple as finding a soccer team on a winning streak that is priced at high odds against a team that has lost a few games in a row.

Value is about understanding what betting odds represent, calculating your own probability estimation, converting it into odds and then looking for discrepancies in what you believe the odds should be and what the bookmaker believes.

Bettors often make a mistake when determining what value is. It isn’t an opinion but rather the use of information, data, models (like expected goals) and historical results (handicap performance being one example) to form a more accurate prediction than the one provided by the bookmaker.

Once you know what value is, you can begin to calculate expected value for any bet you place - this is essentially a calculation that will tell you how much you can expect to win or lose if you were to place the same bet multiple times over.

Not choosing the right bookmaker

Bettors are given an endless supply of bookmakers they can choose from. Just like any other industry, there are different approaches to bookmaking and everyone will claim to be the best. However, it doesn’t take much to analyse your options and discover that some bookmakers offer a lot more than others.

Most bookmakers give away free bets and bonuses that appear to offer value. What a lot of bettors don’t know is that in order to provide these offers, bookmakers will increase their margins - something that ultimately impacts the odds you bet with.

While these kinds of bookmakers lure customers in with expensive marketing campaigns and false promises, they also don’t let bettors win. If you make a consistent profit betting with the kind of bookmaker that offers you free bets, your limits will be severely limited or your account will be completely closed.

Choosing a bookmaker because they offer you a free bet is a mistake bettors simply cannot afford to make - especially when Pinnacle offers the best value odds, lets you bet however much you want and doesn’t ban or restrict winners.

  • Bet with a bookmaker that gives you everything you need. Join Pinnacle.

Not using a staking method

If you want to make a profit from betting you need to have an advantage over the bookmaker (this is referred to as an “edge”). An example of having an edge would be knowledge of team news in a soccer match, changes in the weather in an NFL game or any other potential influence on the outcome of a match that the bookmaker is unaware of.

Regardless of where your edge comes from it is made redundant if you don’t manage your money correctly. The use of staking methods is essential if you want to make money from betting and failing to do so is a mistake that can cost bettors dearly.

If you don’t manage your money when betting, you won’t have any money left to bet - it’s as simple as that. There’s nothing wrong with an “all in” approach, as long as you know not to expect it to result in consistent profits.

Not being aware of cognitive biases

It is natural to assume we control our thoughts and actions but those who are interested in psychology and behavioural economics will know there are certain “biases” that cause humans to deviate from what we would class as rational judgements.

Confirmation bias is one such bias that can be applied to betting - this is effectively being drawn to evidence that suggests the bet you are making is right whilst disregarding evidence that proves otherwise.

Anchoring is another bias that bettors may not be aware of. Anchoring, also known as focalism is the tendency to rely on the first piece of information offered - this could be very detrimental in betting as things can dramatically change in a short period of time.

This lack of objective thinking and logical reasoning can cloud judgement and lead to betting decisions that are based on opinion as opposed to critical thinking. Bettors may not be able to control cognitive biases but one of the biggest mistakes to make is failing to acknowledge them.

Being too concerned about losses

Loss aversion - a preference for avoiding losses instead of acquiring potential gains - is also prevalent in betting and is another cognitive bias that many bettors aren’t aware of.

One of the most common misconceptions in betting is that good bettors don’t lose. This simply isn’t true. Good bettors lose less often than they win and if they lose, they will use a staking method to ensure they don’t lose all of their bankroll.

The presence of randomness and luck in sports betting means even the most sophisticated models can sometimes be wrong. Thinking that you need to avoid losses at all costs is one mistake that bettors should certainly avoid.

Betting because it’s convenient

Even if bettors know what to do in order to succeed and avoid the common mistakes mentioned above, the element of convenience can still undo a lot of hard work. 

Of course, for those who bet for entertainment purposes, betting out of convenience doesn’t matter but if the aim is to make a profit, you should only bet when the time is right (when you have an edge and positive expected value).

The increase in popularity of curated bets, online betting and the emergence of mobile betting apps has made the process of placing a bet much easier than ever before and bettors who want to make money cannot afford to bet because it’s convenient.

Instead of betting on a soccer match because it’s on TV or an NFL game because your bookmaker has sent an app notification saying that they’ve increased the odds, stick to what you know, stay disciplined and remember you’re betting for long-term success, not short-term profit.

 

 

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Benjamin Cronin
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