Confirmation Bias

How is confirmation bias affect sports betting?

Confirmation bias talks about the inadequacy of the human mind to not be psychologically bias in decision making. We tend to subjectively decide on things instead of focusing only on the facts, and on this one, we fool ourselves that we are “objective” by choosing only the facts we want.

Many factors can be weighed in order to arrive at a decision but we must always check upon our biases as it may greatly affect our decisions, not only on sports betting but on life as well.

In the Philippines, there is a strong battle between the fans of the two network stations, GMA 7 and ABS CBN. My mom is a strong supporter of GMA 7 and will always tell that GMA is no. 1 overall. I can even remember a few years back that whenever I watch anything in ABS CBN, she would tell me to change channel because she doesn’t want to hear anything from ABS CBN! It was insane since she was not really watching! Now, there was a study this year that ABS CBN actually has the bulk of advertising revenues and is the number 1 in the whole Philippines. Of course, my mom, a hard core GMA 7 fan refuses to believe this and still considers GMA 7 as the number 1 network station in the Philippines. She holds on to the fact that GMA 7 is number 1 in the Greater Manila Area.

This is an example of confirmation bias, although many new facts or information is coming, many refuse to incorporate it in their decision because there is an opinion already created in their head. This opinion already created in the mind, most of the times, is difficult to change. Ever known someone that has gut feeling or hunch that a certain person is a deceiver(or has any bad attitude) and will do everything to prove his/her point? And if he/she sees a ‘confirmation’ of his hunch, he/she would always tell that ‘confirmation’ to prove all his/her arguments. I guess we all have that friend.

Sports Betting and Confirmation Bias

Again, the heart of sports betting is analyzing the risk involved in every bet made. If you do not factor in all the risks and information, subjectively betting on teams, more often than not, you will lose. Worse is when you semi-objectively bet on teams. This means that you only choose certain information that will support you! And yet, you think that you are “objective”, which is far worse.

In betting, if someone really believes in a certain team (most people support the underdog), they bet on this team even though there is less chance that they will win based on statistics and facts. If they see that the team they are supporting is not aggressive or rarely gets an on-target kick, they ignore it. However, if they see that the team they are NOT supporting have an injury they see it as a very big deal. This gives the bettor the false confidence that what they are doing is good and “objective” although in reality its not.

How to Avoid Potential Pitfalls

Like the three previous article, never let your own mind fool you! Always research on all the factors that has to be weighed and always factor in new information. Although as said in the article, no one can be 100% objective. But just like any decision we need to make, we need to be open-minded in taking in new information. Not judging someone or something by its cover, but by careful analysis.

“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.” - Isaac Asimov