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Common False Assumptions in Sports Betting

If there is one trait shared by almost all losing sports bettors – other than the fact that they lose more bets than they win, of course – it’s that they make too many assumptions. At the heart of it all, sports betting is about looking at facts, comparing those facts, and determining which factors matter and which don’t. That’s hard enough to do when your facts are well established and proven. When you are trying to base things not on what is proven but what you assume to be true, then, you are doomed. You would be in trouble if even a small number of your assumptions were not true, and in most cases it’s more than a small number of losing bettor’s assumptions that don’t really hold water. Here are five types of assumptions that are often made and often false:

Value of a player – The general betting public loves big name players and assumes that they have a big impact on their teams and the games they play. In their view those players can win games almost single-handedly when they are healthy, and when they are injured the team is doomed. Those believes are often reflected in odds movement – especially if the affected player is a key position like quarterback or point guard. The truth is, though, that the impact of players – or their absence – can often be overstated. Before you make bold assumptions about any player you really need to look closely at what the impact of the player or the injury really is.

Strength of a team – There are some teams that people always think are good, and other teams that are always assumed to be bad. In baseball, for example, the Yankees and the Red Sox always get the benefit of the doubt, while the Royals and Orioles are always assumed to be lousy. Sometimes, though, the Red Sox and Yankees aren’t as good as expected, while the Royals and Orioles can be better than expected. Most people would assume that the Yankees would beat the Royals and would rarely look deeper than that. That’s just lazy, and it’s an assumption that could lead to a number of bad bets.

Your edge on a type of bet – In order to be a sports bettor you have to have an ego – you need to believe that you are smart enough to outsmart the sports books, and that you know the teams better than they know themselves. That ego often leads people to assume that they are more successful bettors than they really are. Losing bettors will continue to make a type of bet even though they are losing money with the bet because they assume that they are successful. It’s very hard to find a lasting long term edge in sports betting, so it is very important that you keep good records and check that you have an actual edge, not an assumed one.

Impact of playing at home – Home field/court/ice advantage is a familiar concept to even the most casual of bettors. Bettors give the home team a lot of credit – especially because home teams are often favored and the public loves favorites as well. Sometimes the impact of playing at home really is significant. Often times, though, the impact just isn’t big at all. In fact, for some teams playing at home isn’t really an advantage at all. Some teams are weak home teams, and some teams are particularly strong on the road. Some home crowds are loud and helpful, while others are negative and largely absent. If you make assumptions about home advantage without checking to see if that assumption is warranted then you can easily give the home team too much advantage and find yourself on the wrong side of close games.

Matchups – People make strong assumptions about matchups without looking closely at what could really happen. For example, if a strong run defense in football is matched up against an average running offense then a lot of people will just assume that the defense will dominate and the offense will have no impact on the ground, and they won’t look closer than that. There are a lot of problems with that, though. Does the offense need to run to score? Is the run defense consistently strong, or do they have good days and bad? How does the run offense perform against top run defenses – do they step up their game or struggle? Making assumptions about matchups can lead you to move in entirely the opposite direction to what you really should be moving in.

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