FTS Betslip Mindset Podcasts – Episode 1 – Expectations v Reality

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FTS Betslip Mindset Podcasts – Episode 1 – Expectations v Reality

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03/07/2023

Most people who start to gamble/bet/trade have no idea of the odds involved or the true expectation of how things will play out. This sees them ill-equipped mentally to deal with variance and poor runs.
This can be attributed to their initial expectancy of how things SHOULD play out, coupled with the human desire to be in control. We all like to think we have control over things we have no control over whatsoever. When that lack of control becomes apparent, we change our thinking, blame anything and everything and then move on to something else. This tendency repeatedly shows itself particularly when money is involved and in the complex world of betting and trading.

We believe we can control or have an expectancy on how the wins and losses should play out – one of the issues in sports betting as opposed to situations like a roulette wheel is we have no true odds. On a 38 number roulette wheel we know if we bet one number, we have 1 number for us and 37 numbers against us, we can determine true odds – 37/1. The casino pays out 35/1 so we know long term it is a bad bet, and we cannot win.

Sports betting odds are always only ever perceived no matter the source of them.

Going into sports betting, football trading without understanding the maths and how things may play out is wrong thinking and folly.

A coin toss is the easiest way to explain this. A standard coin has the same chance of flipping a head or a tail 50%.  It may return 100 heads, but eventually, it will flip tails.  It cannot possibly remain heads as the maths will not allow.  We cannot control the flow of heads and tails flips, but as humans, we think it will constantly be against us and give up after, say, 10 flips.  

To win, we need an edge. That edge will only ever be perceived.  Let’s assume you are betting on football at odds of 2.0 -even money. The odds reconcile with a percentage chance of 50%, but you are hitting 55% – you have an edge – BUT you are still losing 45% of your bets and have no control over how those 45% of losing bets will fall. It maybe you lose your first 8 bets, if you give up you will miss that winning sequence. Your expectancy is that you should never win 8 losing bets at those odds. The reality is it is more than likely that at some stage you will hit such a run of losers BUT also that it will not continue. Things do not win all the time and things do not lose all the time but most runaway when a bad run comes and don’t give themselves chance to hit the winning periods.

The above diagram shows the Estimated Losing Runs comparative to your strike rate. So if you were winning 55% of your bets, in your first 100 bets you could expect to experience a losing run of 6 bets. The more bets you place the greater the likelihood you experience a longer losing run, by the time you get to placing 3000 bets you could expect to hit a losing run of 11 bets. These are not an absolute, you may never experience such a run or you could encounter a run greater than the numbers in the table. The key is to have an expectation that these runs could and will happen. Using your data examine your strike rate and then see what can be expected as the norm. That will help you prepare better for your betting journey.

Failing to understand these fundamental principles of sports betting and trading, will genuinely see you have no chance of success. If you expect better a better outcome than that, you are fooling yourself.

You may do better than that; over a short period, you may win 100% of 10 bets, BUT it cannot possibly continue, so it will downturn. That does not mean your edge is gone. It means results are playing out as expected. Most give up or doubt themselves as they have no idea what to expect. They have not looked at what to expect. The expectancy that something will win forever is madness; the expectancy that something will lose all the time is also mad. We chase things that have won 100% of the time, thinking they will continue forever – they won’t. It cannot.

Tottenham have scored in 100% of their games in the first half this season, backing a Tottenham first-half goal. The perceived chance is about 76% generally, so to expect 100% to continue is nuts, BUT we do. I’d be on the other side, personally. If it were 100%, the odds would reflect it over time. As a team scores more goals, the odds for them doing so change downward in future games.

Football bettors and traders (and I imagine bettors of other sports) use this thinking to “control” their betting, and it is often so ill-thought-out that they have no chance of success.
As a species we like to think we have control. We want to control the situation and try and manipulate it to eliminate any chance of failure. We feel we can control the strike rate and the way the results will fall. Football results can and will fall perfectly randomly, they will all tend to head back to a mean, and we want to ride the up trends, manage/omit the downtrends, and find pockets of edge along the way. It is one of the most predictable sports on the planet.

This lack of understanding about expectancy and the willingness to control our wins/losses leads bettors to give up on a losing run – they don’t understand the maths behind it, or they will tweak, over-filter, or back fit a system to remove losses thinking that is the answer, a typical example being a bettor who perhaps lays HT CS and in analysing his results see that 1-1 he has laid 8 times, had 7 losers, he will then base and, make a judgement such as “ I am losing on the 1-1 – I will omit those now” – he should in fact probably be doing the opposite. Still, such thinking against the grain completely is not how we are wired or socialised.

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