Should You Follow Your Gut In Sports Betting? – Downsides Of Emotions

A gut feeling is a reflection of your intuition and is usually based on past experiences and knowledge. However, it’s not a reliable source of information, and hence should not be the only factor taken into consideration when making decisions; especially sports betting ones!

As much as we want to believe that our intuition can give us an advantage in sports betting, emotions can lead to impulsive, unsubstantiated decisions and, in turn, heavy losses.

So here’s precisely why sports bettors shouldn’t rely on gut feelings.


Emotions Aren’t Conclusive

Gut feelings are based on emotions; not on facts or evidence. Emotions alone are, unfortunately, no substitute for extensive research to back up sports betting decisions. This becomes more obvious once you observe/compare the behaviours of successful gamblers against casual (unsuccessful) punters.

Professional, successful gamblers are typically very methodical in their approach and use a variety of strategies to gain an edge over the house/bookie, and to limit their potential losses. They also tend to keep detailed records of their betting activity and continually analyse their results in order to improve. In contrast, the average sports bettor is more inclined to make selections based on a personal opinion, or even fleeting thought; there’s usually no analysis or concrete “process” involved.

The fact is, professional gamblers make an effort to discard emotions, rather than embrace them. Relying on gut feelings supports the, rather naïve, idea that betting success is down to luck. A pro would argue the opposite: you make your own luck.


Emotions Can Be Influenced

Gut feelings can be influenced by external factors — such as our peers, news sources, and social media. For example, if you’re surrounded by people who hold a differing view about an upcoming event, you’re more likely to doubt your thought process, or even alter your opinion entirely.

Your gut feeling may also be influenced by your own biases. For instance, if you support a football team then you’ll feel a strong emotional attachment to their results. This is likely to manifest an overoptimistic or pessimistic outlook. Either way, your view is skewed.

Lastly it should not be understated that emotions can be affected by hormones, stress levels, and overall physical and mental health. Much of this is completely out of our control. This leads onto my final point.


Emotions Are Difficult To Control

Gut feelings can be extremely difficult to ignore or supress.

Our brains are wired to respond to certain stimuli with certain emotions, and it’s almost impossible override these responses. For instance, the fight or flight response releases hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. This reaction increases heart rate, respiration, and blood pressure, while also increasing energy levels, focus, and awareness. Such responses are uncontrollable and can lead to highly irrational sports betting decisions.

Furthermore, many people lack the skills or tools to identify, process, and manage their emotions, which makes it even more difficult to control them. This leads many gamblers astray, down a path that lacks logic and often ends up in disappointment or, in extreme cases, financial ruins.


So, How Reliable Is Your Gut In Betting?

Gut feelings are merely emotional responses, and while they can be strong and convincing, they’re rarely based on logical or rational thought.

When we rely too heavily on our gut for sports betting, we lack discipline. We discount the importance of finding a mathematical edge and place too much impetus on how we feel inside. Essentially, we become complacent and thereby more liable to make impulsive decisions. This often leads to losses.

Any successful bettor will tell you: profit is earned by developing and applying a proven methodology. Hence why successful sports bettors base their strategies around past and/or present data or trends and make a conscious effort to discard personal thoughts and feelings.

But no matter how experienced you are as a bettor, it’s never easy to ignore your intuition. It feels unnatural. That’s just something you’ll have to get used to.

Toby @ Punter2Pro
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