Betting Experts Answer: Biggest Biases in Sports Betting? | Part 2

Welcome to the 13th question in our series: “Betting Experts Answer The Industries Biggest Questions.”

This week we are taking a dive into the psychological side of sports betting, as we asked seven betting experts:

Q13: What is the biggest personal bias you have had to overcome to create a long-term edge in sports betting?

Check out Part 1 of our answers here, where we get the opinions of sports betting analyst - Joseph Buchdahl, founder of Edge Alerter - Joonas Karppinen, SmartSportsTrader - Ryan Bruno and pro sports bettor - DanShan.


Recency Bias.

I need to resist being influenced by recency bias on a regular basis even after many years of fighting it. Where I notice it most and where it can be particularly damaging is when I embark on a new betting strategy. If my most recent project was a failure I will tend to dismiss all the previous successful ventures and fixate on that most recent failure. Consequently I become afraid of pulling the trigger and quick to tinker with an approach before it has a sufficient sample size to draw conclusions. It does not stop there however because if I am running a strategy which suddenly goes on a hot streak particularly in the early stages I need to fight the urge to increase stakes dramatically assuming that the most recent trend can continue indefinitely. After enough years, bets and strategies have gone by I have got better at resisting it but it is always there.

Check out Matthew’s podcast ‘Inside Betting’ here.


There are a lot of inherent biases to understand or master when it comes to sports betting, from selection bias to a better understanding of the law of large numbers to help avoid what’s commonly referred to as the Gambler’s fallacy. You can add other topics like Dunning-Kruger and hot-hand fallacy to the never-ending list of subjects that can make you a more successful gambler when understood.

Personally I’ve always been quite interested in detecting survivorship bias which is a topic exemplified by the work of Abraham Wild who studied planes returning to base with heavy machine gun damage in World War 2. Understanding survivorship bias has enabled me to make more +EV decisions in gambling and life.

Away from the textbooks I would previously have been biased against betting on non-traditional events like Reality TV, originally and erroneously believing them to be, for want of a better phrase, ‘beneath me’. That was until a friend made a fortune betting on a Z-List celebrity-filled TV programme called Splash by finding out which swimming pool the auditions were being held at. A subsequent bunging of a few quid to the lifeguard on duty provided a path to profit and changed my mindset.

Get in touch with Anthony via his LinkedIn page.


As I am not a tipster, more a reviewer of them, I don't have any direct personal biases that hold me back as I am more on the side of trying to work out where other's biases may lie. One connected issue I certainly have had in the past though is being too keen (or biased) to follow strategies or tipsters that despite being profitable, just don't work well for me and my circumstances. Usually that is down to work commitments as if I see something that looks good, I used to take it on into my portfolio even if realistically in my heart of hearts I know I will struggle to follow properly. I would find that perhaps I wasn't getting on all the bets I should or perhaps just betting in a sub optimal way because I might not get the odds or line I would have taken if I was that bit more available.

Lessons have been learnt on that front and nowadays I feel I can skip over something that might look very good indeed, yet ultimately I know is something I don't have the time or freedom to utilise properly. I feel that this is something that holds back other bettors, especially who have the viewpoint that the 'grass is greener' elsewhere. It is important to be honest with yourself and query "Do I have the time, experience and bookmaker accounts to follow this tipster no matter how good it looks?" Because invariably if you don't, ultimately it will likely end in frustration.

This also applies to betting in a way that might be too volatile for your risk profile. I know I can handle big losing runs but most punters struggle, especially if inexperienced and so therefore you need again to be honest and look at the potential drawdowns and question whether you can handle them. Golf for example is a very profitable sport over the long-term but short-term it can kick your ass! I try and explain this to potential new golf bettors as best I can, yet still find there are some who struggle after a couple of weeks of losing - which is nothing for most hardened golf punters. This is why it is so important to also look at the relative volatility of any form of betting or tipster and assess not just how much you can make but how much you might lose in a realistic sized losing run.

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Check out Part 1 of our answers here, where we get the opinions of sports betting analyst - Joseph Buchdahl, founder of Edge Alerter - Joonas Karppinen, SmartSportsTrader - Ryan Bruno and pro sports bettor - DanShan.

Love getting the opinions from experts in the betting industry? Then subscribe to the Trademate Sports Podcast, where we interview the most important people in the sports betting industry.

Here are the other questions we have got our industry experts to answer so far:

  • Q1: Top 3 tips for betting beginners? Part 1 & Part 2.
  • Q2: How do you define “finding value” in betting markets? Part 1 & Part 2.
  • Q3: How do you determine whether your betting results are based on luck or skill? Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3.
  • Q4: Kelly criterion or flat staking: Which stake sizing strategy do you consider to be the best and why? Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3.
  • Q5: What is the best method to use to make money from sports betting? Part 1 & Part 2.
  • Q6: How difficult is it to beat the sports betting markets? How efficient are the odds? Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3.
  • Q7: How to manage risk when betting? Part 1 & Part 2.
  • Q8: Is there a best sport to bet on? If so, what is it? Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3.
  • Q9: Assuming you have an edge, at what point can you start accurately evaluating your results and say that variance has played out? Part 1& Part 2.
  • Q10: What is the one thing you would like to see change in the gambling industry? Part 1& Part 2.
  • Q11: How to overcome emotions in sports betting? Part 1 & Part 2.
  • Q12: What are the top 3 mistakes people make when betting? Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3.

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