When it comes to sports betting, there are often many cognitive biases that get in our way and prevent us from making consistent profits. One of these cognitive biases is the optimism bias, which makes us feel so invincible that the negative events that affect others won’t affect us.
But how does the optimism bias work in sports betting? And how can you avoid it?
We find out in this article.
What Is The Optimism Bias?
The optimism bias is one of the most deceptive of all cognitive biases because it truly makes us feel superior to everyone else in that, while others will be badly influenced by negative events, we will escape unharmed.
For example, the gambling addict believes that, while everyone else will succumb to a terrible addiction and lose all their money, they won’t. They are in control – they’ve got this.
It’s the same with an alcoholic living in denial. They proudly assume that while others can’t handle their drink, they can.
How The Optimism Bias Works In Sports Betting
For many, the optimism bias in sports betting centers around their reasons for placing a bet.
For example, let’s say you’ve already made up your mind about a bet. You are so sure about this bet that nothing – not even clearly analysis and data – is going to persuade you otherwise. This is because you are too positive. The bet is definitely going to win!
Another way the optimism bias gets us is that we tend to be more optimistic when we’re in control. How many times have you ignored a betting tip given to you by a friend but instead gone with something you personally thought had a higher probability of winning? This is the optimism bias at work because you’re in control here.
(this can be applied to driving. We tend to feel more confident when we’re behind the wheel rather than someone else)
The optimism bias also makes us overly positive about “surefire” bets. Let’s say Bayern Munich has won 12 games on the spin, and for their next game, they’re playing at home. Of course, they are going to win again, right? They’re the clear favorites. They literally never lose.
Not exactly. When betting, gamblers must weigh up any possible outcome objectively – they need to look at the data and the statistics before placing a bet and not rely on mere stereotypes alone. Just because something has happened 12 times in the past, that doesn’t mean it will happen again.
Avoiding The Optimism Bias
To avoid the optimism bias, you simply need to be more objective with your bets. This means pouring over data and statistics and basing all your bets on cold, hard analysis – rather than simply using anecdotes as a reference.
It means not going with something just because it looks good or because it has already happened once or twice in the past. Instead, you must remain coldly detached and consider the conditions particular to any game in relation to the odds set by the bookmakers.