Despite all the information at our disposal and the emergence of the online world which allows us to gain plenty of knowledge before we indulge in a bet or two, the betting world remains a vast and pretty much-uncharted territory.
Different betting strategies will allow us to gain an advantage and an upper hand to some extent. However, there is hardly a single betting person on this planet who has mastered all of the mysteries of the betting process.
The battle against the odds, probability, chances and overall unpredictability of sport are all important factors to take into consideration, but there is one thing however that often gets disregarded in all of the betting analysis and it is our mind.
It is fairly a common occurrence for the mind to play mean tricks on bettors and punters, tricks that without our knowledge and awareness pushes us into making wrong choices and base our betting assumptions through emotional thinking. Trusting emotions to make a bet is never a good thing and it is mainly because of the ‘Availability Bias’, which as shortest shapes your intuitive perception. Emotion-coloured intuition will have you thinking that a right answer to a wrong question provides solid validation of your betting decisions, which in the end usually results in a bad bet.
What is Availability Bias?
The Availability Bias is a heuristic notion which has people place weight and importance to their decision-making process according to more recent memories and available information in their mind.
Our mind is programmed to provide us with an answer to every single question, regardless of the subject and even on those matters, you haven’t been informed about at all.
The mind will replace a difficult question with a simple one in order to immediately solve a given situation or a problem and to provide us with an instant answer to a question we are facing. The brain operates on an instinct to be as functional as possible, but such a functionality is not always a good thing, especially for bettors who will replace questions and answers much to the detriment of a punter.
To put the Availability Bias into a more descriptive perspective here is a difficult every-day question that the mind of an average programmer or graphic designer will replace with a simpler one to help them answer it more efficiently.
Which kind of a computer/operating system will best support my job requirements?
Those who are looking for a quick solution for their question are likely to come up with an alternative question which actually guides them through their recent memories through the process of decision-making.
Therefore, a simpler question is:
Which computer/operating system do I happen to know best?
The answer is simple – the most advertised one. This is the reason why companies invest so much money into marketing as they keep sending the subconscious messages to your brain, helping the image stick in your head for a longer period of time.
The substitution question is likely to result in an answer which will put iOS as the first-option solution, without offering an alternative solution which a more systematic approach and a comparative analysis could prove to even be better and more affordable to what you actually need for your work than iOS.
When it comes to sports betting the Availability bias will usually blur your vision and take you away from the important question – What are the chances/What is the probability my team will win the game? Sadly, our brains do not operate as a computer and will not use a math formula to calculate the actual odds and percentage according to different values and available data. It will rather present us with an easier question and ultimately an easier answer our brain will trick into replacing with the right solution to the betting dilemma. So basically, the substitute question will be – How well do you remember your team’s victories and form?
Given the fact that most of the average punters and casual bettors will hardly be prone to keeping diligent logs and records of their team’s statistics, the most recent memories of our team – last three, four or five matches – will be the determining factor in our decision making.
You will form your opinion based on the most recent form, and will usually disregard the head-to-head records, past meetings that can go a couple of seasons back and still provide you with an important insight, and other relevant statistical aspects.
How to Turn Availability Bias to your advantage?
The answer is quite simple. All you have to do is to bet against the wind. But not do it in stormy weather. Make some rational decisions and pick value bets when even the betting operators will become a victim of the availability bias.
This happens with square money in big-profile events, such as derbies and eye-catching matches when a great number of bets will be made globally. Bookmakers will then be forced to make some late adjustments to betting odds, levelling the field of play against the favourite. Similarly, relegation candidates will see bookies place heavy prices against them, especially when they are on a poor run of form.
Finding the true value within these types of bets can often lead to great success. What you need to do in order to fight the Availability Bias is to make your brain think about the reasons, make it perform proper analysis and back it with evidence.
This is the only way you will be able to find actual probabilities. Your mind will resist you and try to push you in a different direction, as finding actual probabilities against bookmakers’ odds will not be an intuitive way of thinking. However, that is the very core of the problem.
Betting intuition often comes hand in hand with emotion and reasonable, deeply analytical thinking is the only way to fight against them.