Controlling Optimism Bias When Betting

optimism bias explained

As far as your personality goes, many people will tell you that being a happy, optimistic person is good. This is the case with life, although when it comes to gambling this can be a bad trait and something you need to keep under control. By not doing this, you risk turning your optimistic nature into a liability and one that could cloud your judgement when placing bets.

What is Optimism Bias?

The optimism bias is a personality trait that makes you believe that you are more likely to be affected by positive events, and less likely to be affected by negative events. This means as far as betting goes, you will be more optimistic that your bets will land, this can lead to an over-arrogant approach, and potentially staking a little more than you should because you believe you are going to win before the event has even started.

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While optimism makes you feel good, it also lures you into a false sense of security. When you are looking for information and stats while feeling optimistic, you will naturally look for information that supports your argument, while what you should be doing is looking for reasons to oppose your viewpoint. If you are only reading positive information then you are easily going to talk yourself into backing the selection, which is not always the right thing to do.

The 3 Components Of The Optimism Bias

1 - Intentions?
2 - Cognitive Biases & Information About Self vs Target
3 - Your Mood


When we are looking at an event, we naturally come to a conclusion ourselves, and this is something you can cloud. For example, if you see a football game that involves Manchester City because you know that City are one of the best teams in the world, you will have already associated that game with them winning. However, there is far more to consider when looking at the game, including the odds on offer because without value your punting will eventually come unstuck. Just by knowing the teams involved, you have already come to a conclusion about the game, and that is something you cannot put too much weight behind until you discover the full facts.

2 - Cognitive Biases & Information About Self vs Target

Something else to think about is the information you have available to you about the game. For example, if you are betting on a game that involves the team you support, you will know all of their strengths and weaknesses and be placing your bets based on this. However, what you don’t have is the same intimate knowledge of the opposing team. In order to correctly weigh things up, you need to have two lots of information, and not create a bias because you know a lot more about one team than the other.

The last thing to think about is your mood. This can have a big impact on your betting, as you would expect when you are in a good mood you are more likely to be optimistic about your team winning a game and if you are in a bad mood you may be down about their chances. You should try to place your bets when you are level headed, and if you feel yourself in a particularly good or bad mood, you should avoid betting if possible.

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