How Your Betting Patterns Will EvolveAugust 18, 2016
So the novelty has worn off and my wide-eyed approach to betting has given way to more strategic thinking. But the optimism is still there, I guess idealism is harder to shake off, however it’s still there. Some philosopher says that we all start off as idealists in our young formative years, dreamers to be astronauts, presidents, pop stars and the like and gradually metamorphose into realists because part of the way we have assessed our options and come to a form of achievable reality. In this phase I actually start to do some research. Most of the web only has statistical analysis and predictions in ‘lesser’ leagues (Eastern Europe, Asia and the Americas). Sometimes I find previews written in poor English but their content seem to make sense. The consensus in these various forums are that league positions matter, but form matters more. Well, time to swallow the red pill and see the betting world for what it is.
Herd Mentality and State Reactance
So my best friends/people in my social circle are betting and winning. At least they tell me that they do. And they are betting using techniques I can categorize under my beginner phase. One I’ve tried and tested for several months and my wins have been few and far between. Someone had a nine-fold accumulator on the midweek Football League Championship, League 1 and League 2 games and won. After they won on the weekend too. Here’s the truth. Nobody likes losing, not so much as talking about it. Winning consistently on accumulators is a myth. Everyone likes talking about themselves, well, the good things about themselves and their constant ‘winnings’ and how they’ve ‘cracked the code’ at the first hurdle. So I come to picture these guys as winners and me being in a vicious circle (like the hamster wheel) of being at the same place with no hope of ever getting better.
Which brings me to ‘herd mentality’. This is a mindset that stems from listening to someone else’s beliefs and merely following because of the conviction this particular person expresses, and the approval their immediate social group have afforded to this individual. This is how a beginner and early intermediate type of person will come to experience this. You know this guy. He’s the ‘best’ at betting. He swears he wins 9 out of 10 times. Your friends consider him a legend. So one particular weekend he produces a list and all of us stake on the games. Just a four-game accumulator. We lose. But since I have very few wins and an embarrassing backlog of losses I need to offset, this loss is termed as a flash in the pan. Of course my friends believe in this guy, so who am I to dispute that? So we go again. We are this mini ‘sacco’ of chaps who are going to win big. And soon. But I’ve got one thing coming. On the other side of the herd mentality coin, is a phenomenon known as state reactance.
At this point, I start to rebel against these ‘in the know’ people. Herd mentality can be helpful if you’re an investment group (the normal ones) or a political party looking for power because the successes of such ventures are well documented because of the collective push and they have solid reference points in history. Not in betting. Throw this out. Or keep it to a small extent.
State reactance is a common phenomenon whereby one rebels against advice because it overrides their own feeling of autonomy. On a basic level, it’s the urge to push a button labelled “DO NOT PUSH” or sneaking into an abandoned military air field where access is restricted to civilians. On a larger scale, one gives you advice or tries to push you into something, but all of your being wants to do the opposite. To be unique. In fact, life is all about balancing between state reactance and herd mentality. I realize that betting is more about state reactance than herd mentality since state reactance carries with it gut feeling and logical avenues such as studying of statistics and form and all that ‘real’ stuff. Particularly if one has been watching football for a while now. So I become sort of a lone wolf.
Exploring new markets, Strategy and ‘My teams’
In this stage, I stumble upon new markets since I was taking a punt predominantly on win-draw-win bets. I don’t bet so much on wins as an intermediary because of the probability of outcomes (three-way), although form can sway my opinion a bit if Team X have racked up successive wins in a league, and Team Y are on a heavy losing streak, and Team X have a better head to head record over Team Y. So I look for two way outcomes, such as over/under 2.5 goals and both teams to score. And now I have to come up with a strategy. On a weekend, my stake is divided into three pots, a pot consisting of games with wins only, BTS/GG only and another consisting of over/under 2.5 goals. And my stakes vary inversely in amount to the difficulty of these bets.
It’s easier to win an accumulator having only both teams to score than one on over/under 2.5 goals and even one having wins.
In high scoring leagues such as the Eredivisie, the Swiss League and the Bundesliga (and to an extent the Premier League recently) goals are more likely to be shared between teams closer to one another by virtue of league position. The GG bet is one that can be won the earliest in a game, if you’re looking for a value bet (value bet meaning odds of 1.5 and above). Well, the only detriment is if one team has a player sent off, but of course these are all ‘occupational hazards’.
So I’ve done research for a while now, and now know random information like the location of the Dead Sea, Iceland, Papua New Guinea and the altitude of Bolivia. And with such knowledge comes with it a tendency to know certain teams. Teams that win all the time and for some reason the bookies have never ‘found out’ about them and they keep placing favourable odds on them. Not every bookie is a perfect entity. They will let certain things slip from time to time. Like in less explored leagues in South America. My research tells me that Team X has a clear advantage over Team Y because of a superior head to head record and they have been winning recently and you find both have almost identical win odds, but Team X never changes their first 11. Sometimes these odds are set up to throw you off and this is where good old gut instinct comes in. Other times, in more popular leagues, I have watched Sassuolo play with their attacking 4-3-3 formation and they are up at home against a stuttering AC Milan, or Roma. Of course the bookies will mark Milan as favourites just because they are the bigger club and all that. Then I realize that odds don’t really matter if you know one team well. Funnily enough, I get a new breed of like-minded individuals who I refer to them not by their actual names, but by teams they usually bet on ( well, if you confess vociferously and daily that Steaua Bucharest usually wins every game, people will call you exactly that).
What you’ll find out in the intermediary stage
There are unwritten rules in the betting community about the nature of games you should be betting on. Do not bet on cup games. These are bad for business. A cup game is basically a shootout. In one off games ‘smaller’ teams have the tendency to raise their game and it’s best to avoid such fixtures. In league fixtures there is kind of a ‘big picture’ mentality going on among the teams you bet against, in that if they lose there’s always another game. So potential losses on the back of conceding early can be chalked off by the ‘smaller’ teams, so you get a little bit of leeway. Not so much in cups (domestic ones, to be specific. It’s okay to bet on the UCL and the Europa League).
Do not bet on friendlies. More so International friendlies. Since there’s not much significance on them, particularly in mid-season, you’ll get half-arsed attempts by the teams to actually get a result. Because they are just training sessions. They are for managers to try various things and you know you don’t want people experimenting with your money.
So am winning more at this stage. I stay in it for about 2 years. I win at a rate of maybe 6 out of every 10 bets. I have stopped betting every day. Finally, some self-control. But I want to get better results. And I’m still making mistakes. Find out what they are in the advanced stage (not the 10/10 winning stage, I must add)…