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Sports Betting: The Internal Psyche of a Successful Gambler – 2024 Guide

Are you interested in why some sports bettors seem to ride a winning streak without being thrown off as it were? On the hand, other gamblers never seem to win a single wager.

The succinct reason for continued wagering irrespective of the external conditions is best described by considering psychology behind sports betting, including the thrill of the win and the despair of the loss. In summary, it plays a huge role from both the bettor’s side as well as the bookmaker’s side. Secondly, it is essential to acknowledge the relevance that the “thrill of the risk” when placing wagers has on gamblers and their seeming inability to stop gambling even when they are on a losing streak.

At this juncture, it is interesting to note that scientists at the University of Cambridge used brain imaging tools and technologies to determine why people gamble in spite of the fact that the “house always wins.”

What is the house?

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As an aside, if you haven’t signed up with a sportsbook, you won’t be able to place any wagers. Therefore, it is worth studying the bookmakers reviewed on to help you decide what sportsbook to sign up with.

In summary, the house is the bookmaker or sportsbook. And, the reason why the house always wins is that a sports betting agency is in business to make money. Its business model is selling the opportunity for sports pundits and sports fanatics to wager on their favourite sporting events. Therefore, the sportsbook address mark-up, edge, or overround to each bet.

This overround is usually only between 1 and 9%, but it is added to every bet. Consequently, if we assume that the bookmaker’s edge is 5%, for every time you wager £100, you will always lose £5. In other words, you will lose £100 for every 20 bets you place (£5 x 20 = £100).

The only exception to this rule is when a sportsbook offers gamblers’ specific promos or bonuses where the bookmaker’s edge is removed.  For example, if your sportsbook decides to offer a promo on a specific match between Football team A and football team B. The real probabilities of the book, called a fair book, before the bookmaker’s edge is added, always adds up to 100%. When the house fee is added, the total percentage of the book for the match adds up to more than 100%.

Therefore, if a sportsbook decides to offer a promo on this match, one of its options is to remove the overround (the percentage over the 100%) and return the probability numbers to 100%. The bookmaker will lose its margin on this match, but it will increase the number of people placing bets which in turn will increase its overall profitability levels.

The psyche of a successful gambler

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In summary, a sports betting agency’s primary role is to get as many people as possible to place lots of high-value wagers. On the other hand, most sports pundits are emotionally attached to their favourite team’s latest wins and losses. And, this emotion is known to transfer into the sports betting arena, to the delight of the sportsbook.

Consequently, let’s consider how a successful sports bettor must think and act as there is definitely a mindset difference between a successful and unsuccessful gambler.

Keep emotions out of wagering decisions

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The only way to determine whether a betting option is worth considering is by looking at the mathematics behind the betting odds. You cannot base your wagering decisions based on your emotional attachment to a particular team or not.

For example, let’s assume you are an ardent Burnley fan and you are keen on betting on the match between Manchester City and Burnley.

Your sportsbook is offering the following odds on this match:

  • Man City 1/8 or 88.89% probability of winning the match.
  • Burnley 35/2 or 5.41% probability of winning the match.
  • Draw 15/2 or 11.76% probability of the match ending in a draw.

The implied probabilities have been calculated and added next to the published odds. If your passion for Burnley overrides all logic, you decide to wager £1000 on Burnley winning the match. If we assume that the outcome of the match is along the implied probability lines, and Manchester City wins, you will have lost £1000.

Now, let’s remove the emotion from the wagering exercise and study the numbers. There is an 89% (88.89%) chance of Manchester City winning and a 5.41% of Burnley winning. Consequently, logic dictates that you have to wager on City to win. If you cannot stomach the thought of a team other than Burnley winning, it’s better not to wager on the match at all.

Practice patience

The reality is that you will always win and lose wagers. The idea is to work at winning more wagers than losing them. In other words, your overall betting strategy should be a winning strategy, but need to accept that you will lose some wagers. The trick is to lose as few as possible.

This takes patience as well as a well-made up mind to stick to your strategy and commit to stop placing bets when you are on a winning or losing streak, especially a losing streak. Getting frustrated and placing larger and larger wagers to try and win back what you lost is not a good idea.

Therefore, it is important to set aside a daily betting limit, and to include a fixed betting amount in your monthly budget so that you are not attempted to keep on betting until you have no money left in your bankroll.

It is essential to note that sports betting is a high-risk activity. Consequently, you should never wager money you cannot afford to lose. And, as the gambling mantra says: Winners know when to stop.

Finally, the secret to profitable betting is to only wager between 1% and 5% of your total bankroll on each wager. Therefore, if your total bankroll is £1000, the total amount you should wager on any given sports match is £50.

About Frank Ingram