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Psychology of betting

If you are trying to learn how to make money on sports betting, you will sooner or later come across the term ""betting psychology"".

The theory suggests that in any situation, people tend to maximize their advantage and minimize their losses. That makes sense, doesn't it? Well, that's true on paper, but does it really work that way in practice? Let's find out.

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Irrationality applied in bets

Are scientists right when they say that people don't always act according to rational axioms? This is a long discussion, but there is one point worth taking into account. Just because you said you want something, don't think you will act accordingly.

Real life shows that any choice depends heavily on the context, available alternatives, financial incentives, deadlines, goals, and ambitions. So blindly believing that because you have told yourself that you want to make money by betting, you will also act accordingly is itself an irrational assumption. In fact, rationality is so rare that it is almost unattainable.

Does it make sense to bet on a total of more than 2.5 goals in a football match just because a team easily scored four goals in their last match against a strong opponent and so now ""almost certainly"" will do it again against a weaker team? If you think this is the case, then you are a victim of accessibility bias.

If you are serious about earning a steady income from betting, do not place another bet without checking whether it serves your goal of constant profitability by calculating its expected value.

Have you ever increased your bet after a series of losses? After all, it's time for your luck, isn't it? This is a classic case of player delusion; and it's not the only mental trap that players have to defend against. Psychologists have found a number of cognitive biases in the game that constantly lead players to lose money.

So, how do you overcome these biases? The simple answer is that you can't overcome them at all. All you can do is control your actions by betting based on their expected value, rather than your feelings and assumptions, because you are determined to become part of that elite minority that makes money from sports betting.

The expected value is the amount that a player can expect to win or lose if they bet on the same odds many times. It is calculated using a simple equation that multiplies your probability of winning by the amount you could have won per bet, and subtracts the probability of losing multiplied by the amount of losing per bet.

So why are you betting?

What do you know about the reasons why you want to bet? Do you like the rush of adrenaline? Do you like the random reward of a random win? Is this your favorite leisure activity? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then betting is a means of entertainment for you. Feel free to continue betting based on your gut feeling and enjoy the roller coaster ride. Just keep one thing in mind: as with any form of entertainment, make sure you only spend the money you can afford to lose.