Sports betting comes in various forms and categories. It goes from being a harmless pastime and a great way to spice up a game night with friends in a bar over a couple of pints, but it is also much more than that.
There is a thin line between the harmfulness of betting – even at a much larger scale that that casual betting with friends – and between a betting addiction which is bound to catch upon all of those you do not understand the betting psychology.
Psychology is involved in betting from start to finish and it affects your thinking process in betting starting from the games you choose; how much you want to invest all the way to handling winning and losing.
A bettor’s mind is a thing of its own and can often play tricks, misleading you through understandings the nature of probability which is core of betting – and gambling in general for that matter – and blurring your vision with emotional betting which can make mind your enemy in pursuit of consistent betting profits we are all after.
The biggest trick your mind can play on you is to give you an illusion of control. Psychology behind it claims that you can never control the outcome of a game, regardless of how skilled you think you are or how good you might know the teams you are betting on and against.
The result – and the same thing goes for gambling once more – is one thing you can’t control, no matter how hard you tried. Behaviours such as changing seats at a betting operator’s retail shop or making a pick via the betting app at certain period of the day and in a certain room of your home will only give you a false sense of control of the outcome.
Near miss belief is another big betting psychology issue as almost winning something can – if you don’t get careful enough – be equally exciting as actually winning. Near misses are more common with betting on goals when you are certain that Real Madrid, in example, will score four to glide past Malaga on a Sunday afternoon, but then Cristiano Ronaldo hits the post on a 3-0 result, five minutes from final whistle and your selection is dead.
That near miss optimism – and optimism in general – can be a harmful thing in betting as it can take you on a chase, which in betting terms has the negative connotation. Chasing your losses will, without exception, take you on a downward spiral as your mind will trick you into thinking that you can beat the law of probability.
‘They will win the next game. They lost five on the trot, they will win the sixth game.’ And similar self-consoling morale-boosters will get you in a fight against probability and randomness you can never win.
It is in human nature to see patterns when there actually are none and especially in betting when the outcome of a game depends on so many factors that are beyond your control.