Avoiding the availability bias can help you place better bets by replacing emotions with logic.
Sounds pretty cool, right?
It is. If you can swerve the availability bias, you won’t guarantee insane winning bets, but you will at least improve your decision making.
In this brief guide, we’ll be explaining exactly what availability bias is and how you can avoid it.
The availability bias can best be described as your brain relying on quick answers to different questions. It uses information it’s already stored from past events to help you interpret a new event.
For example, let’s say someone told you at the start of the coronavirus pandemic that 500,000 people had already contracted the virus. Maybe you shrugged and said “okay.” You weren’t alarmed. 500,000 is just a number.
If someone told you that someone on your street had contracted the virus, you’d feel a LOT differently.
Essentially, whereas statisticians and data analysts crunch information and data using numbers, we ordinary humans digest things more easily with our own eyes and personal memories.
The availability bias in sports betting also goes against actual probabilities – which is hardly good when it comes to sports betting.
For instance, let’s say you’re watching a tennis game and you notice that Player A has just held to love 3 times on the spin. So, you naturally assume they will hold to love a fourth time. This sort of thinking goes against actual probabilities. To interpret the likelihood of Player A holding to love again, you should rely on stats and data – and not your emotions.
The good news is that the availability bias can be avoided – but it may take extra work on your part. And you may even need to “rewire” your brain.
Essentially, the availability bias is a case of a sports bettor gambling with their heart and not their head.
For instance, maybe they recall how the first leg of a European Champions League semi final always seems to have under 2.5 goals. Using this anecdote as a reference point, they bet on under 2.5 goals in the next semi final – and lose.
Or maybe they remember how the number 1 trap in a greyhound race seems to win more often than any other number.
To swerve the availability bias, you need to let rational thinking take over. Be logical about your bets and remove all emotions. Don’t rely on past memories and anecdotes as you place your bets. Instead, take the time to read up about form. Devour stats, take notes, and conduct your own careful analyses.
Only place a bet when you’re learned the actual probability of something and have a good reason for betting on it. Don’t bet on something simply because it’s happened once, twice or even three times in the past. Often, when something has happened three or more times on the spin, the actual probability of it happening again is severely reduced.
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