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Cognitive Biases in Betting: The Framing Effect

Learning how to bet is not very difficult, because there is a lot of sport news and statistical data available on the web. Our articles provide plenty of information on various aspects of sports betting. However, teaching someone betting psychology is harder. There are many talented punters who fail to make a profit because of bad money management and betting psychology. In order to be successful, you must overcome any cognitive biases and protect your capital.

  • Betting psychology

Most bettors are unaware of a concept known as betting psychology. The concept is used to describe the human nature and the way our decision making process can be influenced by mental tricks. This process has been studied by cognitive behavior psychologist from all over the world. Most of it comes natural and intuitive, so punters are victims of the bias without being aware of it.

  • Narrow framing

According to the narrow framing or the framing effect, people have the tendency to see things as they want them to be, rather than how they really are. For example, if you walk into a room and you see someone standing over a dead body with a weapon in the right arm, you will probably conclude that the person is the killer. Even if you are drawing conclusions too soon, you still choose to believe the things that make more sense.

  • Betting and narrow framing

The concept of narrow framing is not uncommon when choosing a team to bet on. For example, if Barcelona is playing against Chelsea and it has a few key injuries, a bettor will probably choose Chelsea. Many people will jump on this bet because of the key injuries without any further thought. The bet would make sense if Chelsea was out of line, although bookmakers adjust their odds if such events occur. If you dig deeper you will see that Barcelona still has a solid team. In this situation, the bettors experience the framing effect. The injured players can be replaced with players that would be stars at any other team. Of course, Barcelona loses some firepower, but if the replacement players are good, then the edge is questionable given the odds. When bettors compare the odds on offer to the bet, it is essential that they stay calm and analyze the situation thoroughly. You mind might be playing tricks on you.

The NBA 2011/2012 is another good example. Because the season was shortened, the teams were playing many games in a shorter period on time, resulting in tired, stressed players and situations when top players miss an important match. Many bettors will tend to overestimate the importance of the missing player. They saw the exhausting schedule as an edge. After all, it would seem obvious to bet on the opponent of a team which is playing three nights in a row. However, they overlooked the fact that these players are resistant and trained to be able to face such situations. The bettors experienced once again the effects of narrow framing.

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