After our previous articles, that dealt mostly with the theoretical side and the general set up of your betting, we decided to deal with the selection process itself this time. We will start off by stating the most common errors, other than poor money management, that make people lose money on the long run, and address every of them. Most of newbie punters make all of these mistakes, while numerous experienced punters make at least some of them. Mastering yourself is one of the keys to being a successful bettor, and we would advise you to pay advantage to the following things:

1. Underestimating home team advantage
I’ve been reading a preview on the Bettingadvice home page, and in it, the tipster stated that “the odds of 2.3 on the away team are value because teams are very much on equal level”. This was enough for me to dismiss this tipster as a serious punter, as the actual fact is that, in a match of two equal teams where the away team is priced at 2.2 with dnb, the value would be on the home team. The home field advantage is a very important factor, and is something that most of the punters cannot calculate. Moreover, the public bettors who cannot calculate home advantage help us get value on numerous home teams. The home field advantage varies by league or, in certain cases, by team; we will not tell you exactly how much playing in front of their own fans boosts a team’s chances of winning the match, but we will advise you to monitor odds closely(especially when teams of nearly equal strength face each other), and look at historical results and odds. Generally, the home field advantage in a given league is less than -1/2 goals but more than -1/4 goals, and most of the punters are underestimating it.

2. Taking bets according to ancient form
Of course, form is a very important factor in betting. Teams that start their season with a few consecutive home wins will have huge confidence in their upcoming home games, and so on. The thing most punters do not understand is that form is a very delicate thing – it is a bubble that keeps expanding but bursts very easily. Once a team loses it’s first match following a long winning run, the second defeat is usually not too far away(unless, of course, it is a top team), but many people will make bets on this team according to their previous form, and almost always lose. Ie, Osasuna started their 2005/06 season with nine home wins in a row. They were then held to a draw by Racing Santander and were a public bet in all of their remaining home games, as the public saw them as an invincible home team that should bounce back. The thing is, fantastic runs of form mostly come down to confidence, and once such a run form ends, you should not expect the team to repeat it. The same applies for extremely poor runs of form.

3. Using H2H the wrong way
Novice tipsters adore H2H stats. Many of the picks they have are highly motivated by previous meetings between two teams and many picks are skipped due to not being favored by H2H. The truth is that a H2H pattern is usually set by a string of coincidences, and previous meetings are most of the time not taken into account at all by serious punters. Simply, teams change a lot over the years and previous meetings usually mean nothing when it comes to comparing the current strength of the teams and have no effect on the players. An exception are matches where there are rivalries between the teams in question: in such cases, the team that has been bossing recent H2H stats usually has a significant mental advantage that should be taken into account. But these are extremely rare cases(Arsenal’s dominance over Tottenham and Basel’s dominance over Zurich are the only ones I can recall)

4. Chasing
Chasing is one of the most common reasons why punters lose and, although we all have a basic instinct that very much urges us to chase after losing runs, we must avoid doing this at all costs. There are two types of chasing: chasing regarding a certain teams and chasing losses in general. You know you are chasing a team when you take them to win or lose(or, God forbid, draw) several times in a row. If course, it is completely Okay for you to go against a team, they get a result in a lucky manner, and you go against them next week, as value will probably be against them. However, our strong advise is to avoid betting on or against the same team more than three times in a row after not winning any of the previous bets regarding them – winning the bet would give you a short mental relief, but losing it would affect your confidence and make it almost impossible for you to objectively judge the team in question in the future. As for chasing losses in general, you know that you are chasing when you took 4 bets on a Monday evening after ending the weekend in a heavy loss. Having an occasional bad day/week is normal in betting, and the last thing you should be trying to do is to try and win the money back immediately – if you enter a day with the mindset of ‘I have to win today’, you will end up forcing bets – on the long run, it will have terrible consequences on both your confidence and cash balance. If you ended a day in minus due to errors you made yourself(taking poor bets which you wouldn’t have otherwise taken), we recommend(unless you are very experienced), skipping the next day of betting. Even if you take good bets, there is a chance you could lose again, and this scenario could leave you with a confidence problem that could stick with you for weeks or months.

5. Rationalization of poor results of certain teams
A thing that often leads to chasing is that punters unconsciously try to justify poor results of good teams and good results of bad teams. Ie, Xerez is an unfashionable team in Primera. Once they go on a 4 match run without defeat, you just know that there will be an army of punters going against them, that will find reasons why they’ve been lucky in every of the matches of their good run. Of course, it is completely possible for a team to really be lucky or unlucky several times in a row, but you should, whatever you think about a team, ensure to be rational at all times and all costs and look at things from an objective perspective. It is very possible for a great team to play like a mediocre one for a substantial period of time and vice-versa, and when you bet on a good team having a poor run of results ended, you should always wait for odds on them to be very, very tempting. Ie, many punters were happy to back Atletico Madrid at -1.25 vs Almeria as “they previously had a very tough schedule, were unlucky, etc”; and the match ended in a 2-2 draw. The right way to approach things is for the team in question to get huge odds – we took them at nearly 1.9 vs Mallorca – this maybe doesn’t seem like the right example, as they conceded a late goal to be held to a draw; but this type of pick will result in long time profit, while the aforementioned type won’t. Note that a football match lasts for 90 minutes and, although the team you think is good might have missed some chances during that time and conceded a funny goal, the fact is that 90 minutes is a lot of time, and if a team cannot secure a win during this time in several matches in a row and keeps conceding funny goals, chances are that the team has a mental problem, and you shouldn’t bet on them again unless you have a big reason to do so.

6. Not being critical of yourself
One of the keys to becoming a successful punter is to be extremely critical of yourself. Be angry with yourself when you take a bet that is not value, admit it that you were lucky to win that bet on Thursday, question yourself even when you win, don’t hide behind your ‘previously proven methods’ when you hit a poor run of form. As discussed in our article regarding hit rate, the chances of a 60% punter going on a lengthy losing run are not too bid, of course, you will have a 0-3 and 3-7 once in a while, but if it happens too often; look at what went wrong. “The bet lost, but it was value” can be heard by some tipsters even after their teams suffer a 5-0 hammering, of course, it’s possible for a value bet to lose like that, but the fact is that you should look back on each and every one of your bets with maximum objectivity and we are sure that you will find some factors you missed out on and some estimations you were wrong at. No matter how experienced or skilled punters are, they always make mistakes(we do too, of course), and the best thing you can do for yourself is to study your previous bets and keep your number of errors at a minimum. Don’t access your previous bets only based on whether they won or lost, analyze entire courses of matches, movements of odds, team news, ask yourself if you would’ve taken the bet again, regardless of whether it won or lost. Admitting you were wrong can be difficult, but not being critical enough on themselves leaves punters with unmerited self confidence which always leads to self-destruction.

7. Gambler's fallacy
According to Wikipedia, “ The gambler's fallacy, also known as the Monte Carlo fallacy or the fallacy of the maturity of chances, is the belief that if deviations from expected behaviour are observed in repeated independent trials of some random process then these deviations are likely to be evened out by opposite deviations in the future. For example, if a fair coin is tossed repeatedly and tails comes up a larger number of times than is expected, a gambler may incorrectly believe that this means that heads is more likely in future tosses”

I’m sure you heard many stories of people who lost a lot of money in casinos, betting on red after the ball stopped on black 15 or 16 times in a row. Of course, chances of the ball ending on red or black remain the same regardless of the previous outcomes, although it could be logical to believe that ‘it’s time for red to happen”.

Things aren’t quite the same at betting, as a long losing/winning runs can affect teams in different ways, but the sure thing is that most of people have an intuitional need to try and ‘stop’ such runs by betting on the run to end, while the effects such a run could have on a team are debatable at best.

Winning runs can often cause teams to become too complacent, and drop points against a very unfashionable opponent when most of the people were reasoning that “[in form team] is too hot for [other team] to handle, who cares if the odds are low”.

Losing runs can, of course, motivate teams to try and play better, but they can also leave the players with a terrible lack of confidence. Such teams have a few traits that often repeat themselves, conceding shortly after scoring, needing too many chances to score, conceding injury time goals, etc. Moreover, bookies know that people will bet on fashionable teams in long losing runs, and will therefore often offer small odds on such teams that cannot be value – Ipswich, winless in eight matches at that time, being offered at only 2.1 at home against Nottingham Forest, who previously hadn’t lost away in five and a half months, is a typical example of this.

The key note to remember is that a lot of players have Gambler’s fallacy and bookies set odds according to that. Always think twice before trying to end a winning/losing run, as the bookies know that a lot of people will try to do so, and odds on your selection of choice could be low despite your reasoning on why the run should end making sense.