The psychological side of betting - 6 Golden Rules

Doing your research properly, having a good bankroll management, using data wisely, knowing how to recognize betting value and only betting when you have it, looking to side markets rather than the main markets and using multiple accounts are all crucial in you securing a long-term profit from betting.

But successful gamblers aren’t robots and there’s also a psychological element to gambling that’s just as important as any of the things mentioned above. Here are six things to consider in that regard.

1. Be relaxed and confident

Most of us perform at our best when we’re relaxed. Think of a pianist or a tennis player and how they’re ‘in the zone’ when they’re relaxed rather than frazzled. You’re also at your best when you’re feeling confident rather than doubting yourself. So the best time to be making important decisions with real money- which is of course what betting is – is when you’re relaxed and confident. If you’re not both, or worse still neither, just walk away from your computer and go for a walk. Or do whatever else you need that allows you to get back into a state of being relaxed and confident. That could be anything from successfully doing a crossword to beating your best friend at a game of squash!

Only then you should get back to your betting.

2.Likes and dislike can’t play a part

To be a successful gambler you need to be completely impartial, like a Judge or a marker of exams at University. That means that you can’t let your likes and dislikes of certain teams, players, horses or whatever affect your judgment. If you do, then you may find yourself backing your favourite football team at a price that’s too short or opposing a tennis player you don’t like who’s in really good form just because you don’t like the way they wear their hair, the outfits they play in or the technique of their serve. Both of those are based on subjective rather than objective reasons and you must eliminate those sorts of reasons from your betting armoury.

One way to get around this is to list all the players/teams you particularly like or dislike and then make sure to never bet on any events that they’re involved in.

3. Don’t chase your losses

This could, of course, come under the category of betting strategies rather than psychological elements but if you think about it, they’re very much connected. We’ve all been guilty of having had a bad day of betting and placing bets that we wouldn’t normally have placed towards the end of it because we were in a hurry to recover our losses. But that’s wrong and for the most part, will lead to poor results.

Before placing the bet ask yourself: am I placing it because it’s the right bet or because of what happened with my other bets that day? If it’s the latter, turn off your computer and walk away. Tomorrow is another day.

4.Rested body rested mind

To say that we think clearer when we’re well-rested, isn’t a theory, it’s medical fact. If you’re tired, stressed or worse still…inebriated, hungover or anything else along those lines…you’re in the worst place to be making clear, lucid, well-informed decisions. Take a nap or take the rest of the day off from betting and come back when you’re feeling perky and rested again.

You could do a load of damage to your overall bankroll or betting habits and strategies just through one day of (bad) betting when you’re not in the right frame of mind for it.

5. Don’t follow the crowd

How often do we all do something simply because everyone else is doing it? Like preferring to queue at a restaurant for 45 minutes because it’s full and you think that means it’s definitely a good place to eat rather than sitting down straight away at one that only has eight people in it.

We all have a little bit of a natural tendency to follow the crowd or at least think that because most other people are doing something in a certain way, that they’re likely to be right. But are they? This is where you actually need to be a little arrogant and decide that you know best, not the crowd.

Let’s say that it’s the final of the Champions League between Bayern Munich and Liverpool. Bayern are favourites but after doing your regular research based on stats, team news, head-to-head results and all the other things you normally take into account when prepping for a betting event, you decide that it’s outsiders Liverpool you should be siding with at the current prices. You’re about to place your bet but then just at the last minute, you hold fire for the time being.

Over the next day or so the Media is full of reasons why Bayern are going to win. The stats say so, they’ve been to more finals recently, the key players are in better form etc.

Everyone else seems to be buying the hype about Bayern and as a result, everyone else starts betting on Bayern to win the final, either in 90 minutes or just that they’ll lift the Cup one way or another. Consequently, the odds on Bayern crashes and lengthens on Liverpool.

At this point, you decide that you must have been wrong all along and that Bayern are the bet. After all, everyone else seems to think so!

Big mistake. And it’s a big mistake irrespective of what the outcome of the football match actually is. Firstly, because if you’re betting seriously, you need to be confident in your research and what you’re doing rather than doubting yourself.

And secondly, because you’re actually going to end up taking a shorter price about Bayern than what it should be, purely because it’s a popular selection.

So now you’ve made two mistakes. If anything, you had even more reason to back Liverpool after Bayern had been hyped up because they’re a bigger price than what they were to start with and they were a confident selection for you in the first place.

Betting on favourites at short prices is exactly what the bookies want you to do. So don’t play into their hands!

6. Phone a friend

No, not like on the TV Quiz show ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’. More like, meet up with someone who also takes sports betting very seriously and understands how it all works in order to allow you to show a profit in the long term.

Betting for a living can be a somewhat lonely existence. It’s you, the TV, the computer and the spreadsheets. That’s why some people prefer to be part of a betting team or syndicate rather than flying solo. But if you want to be a lone wolf, there’s nothing wrong with that, either.

But that’s as long as you make sure you don’t become a complete recluse. For starters, socializing with friends for a movie or a coffee or just watching a game together for fun is an important part of life. It gives you valuable time away from work and helps you remember that there’s more to life than whether there were more or less than 10.5 corners in Ipswich v Millwall or whether there were over 2.5 goals in Udinese v Lazio!

But what’s also good is having a good chat with someone else whose opinion you respect about a particular bet. You might be preparing a maximum size bet based on all of your research but before you place it, sit down and talk to your buddy about it. They may completely agree with you or completely disagree with you but the important thing is that you are at least subjected to a different viewpoint where they may mention something you hadn’t thought of.

At the end of the conversation, you may stick with your bet or change your mind but discussing it with someone else will be nothing but beneficial.

Back to the top

Orlin has spent his entire life close to the football field, meaning more than 30 years, so far. After reaching the required age to enter the world of football betting, he immediately found himself in the middle of the action. With 15 years of experience in football betting, giving advice for all major championships and competitions is what Orlin does best, and with pleasure. Spending hours on stats, current form, and every other aspect from the football fields to form the best betting tips is what you can expect from Orlin. Want to find edges against the bookmakers on football betting? Orlin is the expert you are looking for. Every tip and bet Orlin makes is backed up by solid reasoning and logic. When you are on a one-way road, and out of ideas for what to bet on, then you can always count on Orlin's fresh and profitable suggestions. In your free time you can also upgrade your overall knowledge about football with articles written by Orlin that include history and interesting remarks about football in general. Simply put - if you love football, then you will love Orlin.

Popular Pages

Related Articles