Superstition is an irrational belief in supernatural influences, typically relied upon for good or bad luck. A superstitious person will pass on responsibility to a higher power in order to feel in control of situtations where there is no control to be had.
Gamblers and sports bettors are notoriously superstitious and many believe that mysterious forces can lead to success or failure. But is there anything wrong in thinking that?
Let’s explore the impact superstition can have on sports bettors.
Why Are We Supersticious?
Most people are superstitious, to some extent, even if they do not realise it. Myself included!
For instance, most of us would instinctively avoid hosting an important life event, such as a wedding, on Friday 13th. Some of us would think twice about putting new shoes on the table, opening an umbrella indoors, or walking over three drains. Some of us will regularly “touch wood” to ward off bad luck.
While it makes little sense to attach consequences to completely unrelated events or entities, having a superstition gives us a sense of control. It makes us feel as though we’re doing something to improve our fortunes — or evade bad luck.
Supersticions In Betting
There are countless supersticions sports bettors have. Most of them are unique to the individual. Here’s some examples:
Some sports bettors feel as though objects or people bring good luck.
- Wearing your lucky pants while placing a bet
- Clasping your lucky handkerchief while your bet is in-play
- Inviting your Auntie Nora to sit with you during the game because she gives off a “winning vibe”
Some sports bettors follow a series of actions to summon good luck.
- Blowing on your lucky penny before flipping it to decide who will win a tennis match
- Playing your lucky tune before the kick off of a football game you’ve bet on
- Spinning around on the spot three times before placing a bet
A more religious take on superstition is when sports bettors feel as though a deity (i.e. a God) becomes actively involved in changing their circumstances.
- Feeling as though choices are secure because a greater power has granted foresight and protection.
- Feeling as though the good/bad outcomes of an events are decided by an allied/opposing force.
All kinds of gamblers look to emuate past successes (or avoid failures). So if a particular set of circumstances lead to a positive outcome, then the bettor is likely to link that to success, and repeat it.
- Using a particular sports betting account (e.g. Betfair) purely because it happened to produce several notable wins.
- Placing bets from a particular room in the house because previous bets placed from there won.
- Drinking before betting because it lead to exceptional luck last week.
A less obvious superstition felt by sports fans and bettors is psychokinesis or telekinesis: a hypothetical psychic ability enabling a person to influence the physical world.
Most commonly bettors will feel a sense of control while watching a game. It’s as if the events that unfold are somehow tied to one’s own ability to summon good or bad luck.
Psychokinesis might sound like a ridiculous thing to believe in, but consider how some football fans will play out every kick of the ball as if they’re making it happen. It’s completely irrational, but it feels like it has an impact.
Why Superstitions Are Bad For Bettors
While supersticions are generally a bit of fun in everyday situations, it’s all too easy to use them as a means of justifying poor or uninformed sports betting decisions.
By giving too much power to charms, rituals or irrational beliefs, there’s a risk of concluding that our fate is down to luck and that it’ll be sealed by external forces; therefore mortal wisdom cannot prevail. After all, if you have the Midas touch, why would you need a “betting strategy”? And if you’re cursed and doomed to fail, then why bother looking for “value odds”?
This line of thinking is at best dellusional, and at worst lazy.
A more positive outlook is to accept that we as sports bettors have no way of controlling the outcomes of a sports events. Superstitions won’t make any difference to our sports betting fate; they’re just feelings. Therefore we should focus our energy on what we can control: our approach to sports betting.
One of the biggest leaps you can make as a sports bettor is to disregard the idea that success hinges on luck. It doesn’t. Bookmakers don’t get lucky with their profits every year, nor have they tapped into a higher source of power that grants them consistently good fortune. They play the numbers game to succeed in the long run, and so should you.
Rather than relying on superstitions, start exploring profitable ways to bet. You will come to discover that a change of fortune is in your control — not in the stars.
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