Gamblers Fallacy Explained: How It Misleads Gamblers…

Gamblers fallacy is a cognitive bias that frequently leads to poor decision-making. It is often spoke about in sports betting as poor reasoning for a bet.

Being unaware of it is likely to cost you a small fortune, which is why in this article we will explain everything you need to know.

  • What gambler fallacy is?
  • Where you might see it?
  • Why it’s so powerful?
  • How it tends to mislead masses of football fans every single week!

Alright, let’s get straight into it…

What is Gamblers Fallacy in Layman’s Terms?

The Gambler’s Fallacy is the false belief that two unrelated events impact each other in some way. Like when football fans believe that if their favourite football team has won five matches in a row, they’re less likely to win the next one because they’re “due” a loss.

In reality, each match is a fresh start. The outcome by itself of one game doesn’t affect the chances of winning or losing the next game at all. Just like flipping a coin, no matter how many times you win or lose, every match has its own set of variables. Past results alone do not affect the future outcome.

In order to use past games properly we have to look deeper into the data, rather then relying solely on results by themselves.

Why is gamblers fallacy so common?

Humans have a natural tendency to look for patterns in everything, including completely random events.

This instinct helps us in many areas of life, like recognising faces or predicting the weather. However, it often misleads us when dealing with games of chance or probability. We mistakenly believe that if something happens more frequently in a row, then the opposite result will have occur next in order to “balance” the distribution.

For example on a roulette wheel, if we see the colour black hit 8 times in a row. Our natural instinct is to expect that a red will occur next. However the probability of whether we see black, red or green remains exactly the same for each spin.

Our brains like to think that everything is connected and follows a predictable pattern. Even when it’s purely random. Essentially, gamblers fallacy happens because we’re trying to apply everyday logic to random distribution. Our desire to make sense of the world catches us out.

This is one reason why casino’s make so much money. Pretty much all casino games are designed to be unbeatable,  the mathematical edge is with the casino. However in Las Vegas for example, there are casino’s full of people that who believe they are “lucky” enough to win or have a system based on gamblers fallacy.

Marketing The Gamblers Fallacy…

This simple bias can be found in all walks of life, particularly in advertising. However, the most notable examples of gamblers fallacy centre around betting.

Here are three examples of the gambler’s fallacy in action:

Sports Betting: After a football team has drawn several matches in a row, a bettor might assume they are less likely to draw the next match because their “drawing streak” must come to an end. This assumption does not consider the actual strengths, weaknesses, or circumstances of the teams involved in the upcoming match.

If you watch a sport long enough you will see some of the most unlikely streaks happen over and over again.

Online Slot Machines: The machine user keeps track of the outcomes on a slot machine, thinking that after a long dry spell, the machine is “due” for a big payout. However, each spin on a slot machine is a separate event, with the odds of winning remaining constant (excluding some of the nasty patterns wired into modern machines).

Online Poker: A player has lost several hands with good starting cards and begins to believe that they are “due” for a win, leading them to bet aggressively on a mediocre hand. This belief ignores the randomness of card distribution and the strategic play of opponents. No doubt it won’t end well.

Avoiding Gambler Fallacy in Football Betting

Football statistics sites often love to highlight streaks on all manner of events.

  • Winning
  • Losing
  • Unbeaten at home
  • Never won away all season
  • Over 2.5 goals
  • Under 2.5 goals

Sometimes they will bring up statistics such as “Aston Villa haven’t won in 10 years at Old Trafford.”

Despite the fact that over the 10 year time period teams completely change. Players come and go, managers, coaching staff etc. The relevance of a game 10,9,8 years ago has absolutely no relevance to the game being played tomorrow.

Often you will find football statistic sites highlighting a current streak and pushing you towards a bookmaker affiliate link. They want to give you enough knowledge to be confident in your bet but ultimately expect you to lose long term.

Relying solely on historical data or past performance of a team to forecast future game results can be misleading. It’s crucial to weigh various factors, like injuries, team dynamics, weather and current form (is the team playing well?). When researching a bet your approach needs to be well rounded.

The key is to evaluate each match based on its unique circumstances. Looking at potential reason for why the market could be wrong. For example a team may be on a great winning run however there last few performances suggest their heavy playing schedule is having an impact.

Using Opta Stats

Opta stats offer in-depth statistical analyses of various sports aspects, especially in football. These statistics are marketed not only to those covering football events but also to entities aiming to boost betting market activities.

However, relying on Opta stats alone can inadvertently mirror the gambler’s fallacy if used alone without other variables. As mentioned earlier in this article to make good value bets in football we have to consider all aspects surrounding the game.

What Opta can do is allow us to look deeper into the statistics of a team. We can see who are the most important key players throughout a team. For example if you were to ask the average man on the street who the key players for Manchester City this season were.

Most would probably answer Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne.

Opta actually have Rodri and Phil Foden as the two key players for Man City this season. Which would surpise many, if you were to see a lineup without these two. Then placing a bet against Man City may be the smartest move as the majority of the market are not aware of their significance.

Betting companies love to use use Opta stats to points bettors towards an outcome, suggesting that their bets are grounded in informed decision-making. It’s vital to recognize that these stats are merely one of many aspects to consider and shouldn’t be the sole basis for predicting football match results.

The true value of Opta stats and similar datasets lies in their application. While they provide valuable insights into player and team performance, their effectiveness increases when combined with other critical factors like team dynamics, player injuries, and psychological conditions.

If you are looking to make profitable football bets then basic football statistics are a good way to start. However they should never be the sole reason that you make a bet.

Related: Football Accumulator Betting Strategy: Win BIG Money With Low-Risk 

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