Avoid Optimism Bias to Get Rich
When it comes to getting superrich through sports betting, you need to develop the right kind of psychology to get there. Nothing denying that optimism is a very healthy trait to possess for anyone wanting to be rich, as it makes life easier in several different ways, you must be careful with such optimism when you’re indulging in sports betting. When it’s about sports betting, an overoptimistic and cheerful attitude can become a huge liability for you, and have a major negative impact on your betting returns. This is where the optimism bias comes into the picture.
About optimism bias
Optimism bias is something that makes you believe that you’re pretty unlikely to be impacted by negative events, and are more likely to benefit from positive events, compared to other people. Such optimism bias can impact our lives in several different ways, including the area concerned with betting activities.
A significant example of optimism bias is the false belief of some smokers that they’ll never ever get lung cancer ahead of their other smoking friends. The same logic applies to people who drink often and think that they’ll never become alcoholic (despite having such tendencies) or are least likely to get addicted to gambling.
Although these are all common examples, optimism bias doesn’t just impact these specific areas. It is in fact an integral part of our day-to-day lives, which includes betting as well.
Optimism bias – Its 4 elements
There are 4 major elements that constitute optimism bias. These are:
– Various cognitive biases
– Info about yourself vs target info
– Your mood
Customizing our reasons depending on our goals
There is a very obvious and distinct advantage of optimism – it makes you feel good! You can easily suppress your negative emotions and doubts for as long as you maintain your optimistic state. It’s exactly for this reason that we naturally tend to find information which reinforces and supports our optimistic outlook. It’s one of the ways in which the confirmation bias manifests itself.
This can be observed whenever you place a wager and then write an analysis for it. You see yourself naturally seeking arguments which support your wagers. While you should be looking for counter arguments with the same zest, in order to correctly judge the merits of your bets and make an objective assessment about them.
This is the reason why statistical betting models are extremely popular and valuable as they enable you to put a great deal of objectivity behind the facts, and build an important relationship between them. But your intuition will push you to seek more and more reasons which support your bet, and may even push you to violate consistency, just to help you find those reasons. This leads to a situation where new sports bettors don’t place ample weight on reasons which go against the bet.
About control and the illusion of having it
The feeling of being in control enhances your overall optimistic outlook by a great degree, often more than justifiable levels in several cases. Driving is an excellent example of this. All of us believe that we’re less likely to meet with an accident if we are the ones who were driving.
We often forget that we’re still at the mercy of other drivers on the road no matter how good or bad we may be. Regardless of our driving skills (which are normally aren’t as good as we think them to be), a major part of accident-related risk lies with the other people driving on the roads, whose behaviour and mental condition is out of your control. Although it may be an excellent idea to drive strictly in your lane, it can’t guarantee that you’ll be protected from the wrong way drivers.
The same way betting also gives you that feeling of being in control, but often as in case of driving, it’s a feeling that you’re most likely to overestimate. Why this is so is because any given sports event’s final result is much more random than we think of it to be. Bad referee calls, deflected shots, red cards etc. can all push the match into a completely different direction and alter its expected result.
It’s due to this reason that you must always remind yourself of this illusion of control, and continue doing so until it becomes your second nature.
Please remember, the only thing that you have control over is the betting odds that you’ll accept for the bets place.
You’ll never have any control over the actual outcomes. This is the reason why being successful at sports betting isn’t about picking the winners, but about shopping for the right prices.
We’re far from being objective!
If we see closely we’ll notice that optimism is often fuelled by many cognitive fallacies, like the representativeness heuristic. What it means essentially is that whenever we make comparisons, we normally think on the basis of stereotypes, rather than thinking in a detailed manner about the real subject matter. Doing so is obviously the easier path for our brain to take, but often results in poor decisions.
To give you an example, whenever drivers are asked to envision an accident scenario, they are more likely to think about a bad driver behind the wheel, rather than a regular one. Hence, we normally under estimate the chances of an accident, as none of us likes believing that we could be bad drivers too! In fact, statistics reveal that as many as 90% of all the people behind the wheel believe they’re more than average drivers, which is not actually the case.
This belief of being over average can have a major negative impact on one’s betting endeavours as well. For instance, whenever you think about a particular soccer match, you may go with the general opinion and think of home team to be a huge favourite to win, especially if it’s a reputed team like Real Madrid or Arsenal. However, in reality you shouldn’t be basing any of your sports betting decisions on generic opinions. You must comprehensively analyse the conditions surrounding every single sports event you’re betting on, and compare them with the odds set by the bookmakers. Else, you run the risk of asking and answering all the wrong questions!
Info about yourself vs target info
Isn’t it natural that we all know much more about ourselves compared to what we know about other people. Why this is so is because it’s pretty difficult to access information out of your circle, as it would often be limited in nature. Similarly, we have a tendency of treating information not easily available to us as if it doesn’t exist only. Resultantly, we end up underestimating uncertainty and risk due to unknown factors.
9/11 terror attacks are a typical example of this. No one would have anticipated such attack and the way it was executed, simply because it wasn’t ever experienced by any country in the past. Ironically, there is major overestimation of the risk of another terror attack after one has already taken place.
The same mechanism holds true and has great significance in sports betting too. Normally, inexperienced sports bettors have plenty of knowledge about only few teams in a certain sport competition, which is most likely to be their favourite team/club. Although such fans are pretty well informed about the weaknesses and strengths of their favourite team, they don’t have the same level of insight into the opponent teams.
Unfortunately, rather than leading to a more cautious approach, it results in overoptimistic predictions. Although strengths of one of the teams in the competition is still relevant, it doesn’t tell you everything about all possible outcomes, as you are unable to assess such information against the strong points of the opponent/s, and with regard to the corresponding odds.
You must ensure that you never neglect the details of any of the teams in order to correctly predict the odds in the sports betting field.
A rather simple point which makes plenty of sense is that everything seems brighter whenever you are in a good mood. The entire world seems like the perfect place to stay in when you’re happy. The same becomes applicable whenever you experience a winning streak in your betting endeavours.
Quite sadly, this can impair your judgement. Sometimes to a great degree. You’re more likely to make overoptimistic decisions when you are in a good mood, including decisions related to sports betting. You may solely base such decisions on your gut feeling, even when making private bets with your family/friends. To give you an example, you may bet a beer case on your favourite team winning the championship, right after that team has scored a major upset, just because you were a little drunk!
To summarise, although there’s no better feeling than exuberance, it’s not the ideal feeling with which you should make important decisions. Your sports betting decisions should always be made when you are sober enough.