Knowledge is everything - my betting story

Knowledge is everything - my betting story


I started betting when I was as young as 15 years old. Back in 1993, it was illegal but none really bothered about what’s legal. Even an underage could smoke, drink and even gamble. I remember visiting a local betting shop almost every day.

By now, you must be wondering, I must have won a fortune every day to have the urge of visiting the place so frequently. Well, that’s not the case at all! If analyzed closely, I used to win only 2 games out of 20 and lose all 18! It used to take me as little as 2 weeks to exhaust my betting budget of an entire month.  That’s terrific, right?

I remember that there was not much choice when it came to selecting a sport. Tennis, football and ice hockey - that’s all we had in our 3-way results market. I remember that fancy places had cycling and volleyball and I rarely tried my hands on them. Accumulator tickets were yet another crucial issue.

Explaining betting odds

When you are planning to place a bet, the first thing to consider is probability. That’s the most practical approach to adopt. Using the decimal odds, you can know that the probability is 50% when the fair odds is 2.00. Take a look at the calculation process below.

Probability = 1 / decimal odds x 100%

Therefore, for 2.00, 1 / 2 = 0.5 x 100%= 50%.

In the case of accumulator bets, you have to take the stake and then multiply it by the odds mentioned in your betting slip. For instance, if you got three bets with odds of 1.4, 2.3 and 4.5, and your stake amount is £10, here’s the calculation of your chance of winning:

10 x 2.3 x 1.4 x 4.5 = £144.9

The general formula is as follow: 

Odds(1) x Odds(2) x Odds(3) x … Odds(number) x Stake = Potential win

The psychology of Betting

Summarizing the core of betting psychology is tricky. It’s not possible, to sum up, psychology in one line. None could do it, I cannot do it either. However,  I can explain it to you. Before we start, you need to cut the emotions out of it and simply follow the betting strategies that rely solely on mathematics. Maths and emotions don’t go together - never did, never will. In my book, I have discussed all betting strategies. So here, let me focus on betting psychology.

If you are wondering why you should know psychology instead of strategy, let me tell you it will help you to avoid losing your money! Here’s an example to start with.

Suppose you have 20 bets in one row and you have lost 18 of them. You are sick of the entire thing. The strategy will allure you to bet another buck on the next bet. But it’s high time for you to stop. Even if the strategy encourages you, whether you have had enough or not, just quit.

This is what is meant by the psychology of betting - avoiding the following cases.

Team A has to win

There’s nothing called “has to win” in the world of betting. If the football predictions suggest that team B has a high chance to win, yet you place your bet on team A simply because it should win, you are wrong.

Though the approach is logical, the result is not satisfactory if you follow this logic. From my earlier experiences, it made sense that Leeds United should win the match in order to avoid any relegation. And Bayern Munich has no motivation as they are already out of the championship. However, to my surprise, I found that the team with no motivation to win had won over the one with all the reasons to win.

As you can see, the probability is pure mathematics. 

It’s fair for team B to win

Now, suppose a mathematical football prediction suggests that team C has a fair chance to win but you have placed a bet on team B as you consider the latter team should win for a fair game.

You can clearly see on the scoreboard that team B could only score 2 points in the last 5 games. So you believe that team C should let team B win as it’s the latter’s home stadium. After all, it’s about the visitors.

If you sync with such a mental process before placing a bet, stop at that. It’s high time to recognize “it’s fair” is not the right approach to place a bet. Betting is not a place for a fair game.

Moral of the story? Probability has no concern about what’s fair and what’s not. 

You are a fan

This is probably the most difficult one. I have seen many (including myself) bet on their favourite teams to extend their support. Your betting has nothing to do with your affection for your national team. This is utter nonsense.

If you don’t have the will to place a bet on the opposite team even if your calculation suggests so, here’s the thing you can try. Skip placing a bet entirely when your favourite team is involved in a game. At least you won’t have to lose your money then! Chose your bet wisely, just like your bookmaker.

You see, probability has no regard for affection and love.

So, what does the probability really care about?

Probability doesn’t care for your needs, love or fairness. It simply cares about probability. Here’s an experiment to do. Toss a coin 10 times and pray that it lands on heads up for more than 60% of the time. Now, repeat the same experiment 50 times and check if the prayer worked.

The psychology of betting can be explained with one line here:

If a bookmaker offers odds of 2.3 and your verified prediction recommends 1.9, you can find a 21.1% value and you might go for it. If you have made the predictions right, there’s no way you can go wrong with the probability factor. In the long run, you are about to gain 21.1% on your stakes.

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