One of the so-called laws of sports betting that I hear all of the time is that you shouldn’t bet on teams that you are emotionally invested in. If you care then you can’t be objective, and if you aren’t objective then you are making bad decisions – or at least that’s how the argument goes. The question, of course, is if that actually makes any sense. There are a lot of so called laws that we follow because we have been told to follow them, but questioning them every so often is a good thing. Let’s take a look before you start making your picks:
You know one team better than any other – The more you know about the teams playing a a game the more chance you have of making a good decision. If you are thinking of betting on a team that you are a big fan of then you probably already know more about that team than any other. Provided you aren’t blinded by that knowledge, and that you do a lot of research on the other team as well, then you are already well ahead in the handicapping process.
You are more likely to do in-depth study of the game – It’s easier doing in-depth analysis of a game when it involves your favorite team playing a rival then it is to get excited about breaking down a thriller between Backwoods State and Upper Armpit Tech. If motivation is a problem in your handicapping at times, then betting on teams you are invested in might be a good solution for you.
You’ll be on top of the injuries and roster moves – The more familiar you are with a team the more sense you are going to have of how healthy the players are, who might be playing hurt, who is likely to find a new and unwelcome spot on the bench, and so on. That could help you to find an edge if what you know isn’t widely known by the betting public.
You’ll know the coaches well – This is especially true in conference games. You’ll know the coaches on your team well – their strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies. If the opponent is a team your team plays every year then you’ll have a better than average sense of what their coaches are capable of as well. Knowing the coaches is a big source of advantage in handicapping – especially when betting on college football.
It will take you a lot to make you bet against your team – If you analyze the game and come up with the opinion that the opponent is the right bet then you can probably be fairly confident in that – it would probably take a pretty convincing argument to make you bet against your team.
Only you know how emotional you are – Some people just aren’t capable of controlling their emotions and making a bet that makes sense if that means betting on your team to lose. I am diehard Michigan fan – I blue Maize and Blue – but I have made good money the last couple of years betting against my boys. I can obviously make the decision to do what is right from a betting perspective even if it isn’t what I am hoping for. There is an exception, though – I will never bet on the Michigan-Ohio State game. I hate Ohio State with such venom and intensity that I know I can’t possibly be impartial and objective. If you can be self-aware like that then it’s not a problem, but not every can be – or is willing to be.
Not much fun to be in a situation to have to cheer against your own team – For some people the best days of the year are the ones that you get to sit down with some beer, some food, and some friends and watch your team play. Betting against your team and having to hope – at least on some level – that they lose is probably not much fun then.
Could make bad bankroll decisions if you aren’t careful – If you aren’t objective then you could bet too much on your team because you perceive that the edge is bigger than it is, or you could bet too little on your opponent because you don’t think that their edge is as big as it is. Playing these games without a good level of objectivity could be brutal to your bankroll.
Know one team better than the other – Earlier we talked about how knowing one team very well can be an advantage because half of the homework for the game is already done. The problem, though, arises when you don’t bother doing that homework. If you know everything there is to know about your team and far less about the opponent then it will be hard to make a sound betting decision.
I bet on and against my teams regularly, and the results are no worse than betting on other teams. There is one big reason for that – more important than anything when I make a bet is that that bet makes sense. I trust myself enough to not make a bet when I don’t have an edge regardless of who is playing, and I don’t need to have a bet on a game to enjoy watching it. If you can see the same then you can ignore this ‘law’ as well, but if you can’t then maybe it is aimed at you.