Common Betting Mistakes

By Loot, Sports Handicapper,

Common Mistakes of the Betting Public: Reasons Why Most Bettors Lose

There are clear reasons why some bettors thrive while droves of other betting men are sidelined wondering where it all went wrong. It comes down to perception, how we process different information, and then how we apply it to the act of wagering. Here are a few things that can help your overall bottom-line including why most bettors lose at sports betting.

Past performances can be helpful to review in the hopes of adding insight to our picks. A lot of people, however, take it too far or look at it the wrong way. Do not rely on past scores. What do scores really tell us about a game? Sometimes you see a blowout score and it shows that one team had its butt kicked. Or a close score might convey a close game. But relying on that exclusively will have you missing the boat more often than not.

Any number of things can contribute to a score. A top player may have had a bad game. A key reserve player had too much on his mind, leading to getting burnt a few times. The team had to show up at the game in the last minute because of weather issues. It can be anything. And then there’s the score itself. Maybe a team had played the opponent close for the whole game, but a couple weird twists at the end made the score look lopsided. Or maybe a team was battering its opponent, but let its foot off the gas late, allowing the opponent to narrow the deficit and make the final score look a lot closer than it was.

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As bettors, we sometimes lose sight of the real hard work we should be doing. We fall into the trap of thinking hard work is all about hashing through the mountains of information that are available for any game on the betting board. Then we bog ourselves down by getting too caught up in the morass of stats and taking past results at face value.

What we should be doing is watching and listening. There is no substitute for actually watching the games. Determining how good or bad a team is, in addition to how they are playing at this precise moment, is not something that can achieved by looking at your computer screen and exhaustively pouring over numbers. Watch the games. Now you’re working. You’re seeing things with your own eyes. You’re making observations based on what you see on the field of play, as opposed to numbers on the screen.

Your opinion counts. At the same time, don’t make it all about your opinion of who will win the game. There is a reason why the general betting public picks so many favorites, as opposed to underdogs. At root, it comes down to the public making it all about their opinion as to who will win the game. They will, for example, think the Patriots will beat the Ravens and just bet New England without even really paying adequate attention to the odds.

When you think a team will win, you need to determine if they can do so by the number of points in the spread. Seems obvious, right? But a lot of bettors just say “screw it” and bet the team they think will win and sort of blow off the importance of the odds. Say you are looking at a baseball game. You think the Yankees will beat the Royals at home in the Bronx. Fair enough. They usually do. But if the Yankees are -320 on the money-line, it’s not so much about you thinking the Yankees will win, is it? It’s if you think the Yankees chances of winning surpass the -320 quote.

Instead of letting the simple mindset of “Who do I think will win? guide your wagers, you should be asking yourself which bets have a better chance of panning out in relation to the odds that are being given. That might mean you’re betting on things you think will lose! If a boxer is a 6-1 underdog, you should think he’s going to lose. But if you think he should be more of a 3 or 4-1 underdog, you found a spot where the odds are better than what you determine to be reality. That’s what it’s all about. It’s not about who you think will win. It’s about finding bets that offer better value. It’s about finding wagers where the chances of winning are better than what the bookie is forecasting.

If you liked this article, you may also enjoy my piece on common handicapping miscues.

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