We have all been there. It’s the 96th minute of a match and the team you backed are winning by a single goal. You’re praying for the referee to blow his whistle to signal full time, whilst simultaneously counting your winnings.
Then, just as you think you’re in the money, the opposition team break. You scream and shout at your TV, phone, or computer as the ball gets crossed into the box and then the hope and certainty of winning disappear as the ball hits the back of the net. The scores are level and there’s a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach.
You go through several stages of emotion. First, you try to convince yourself the team you backed can find a winner in the few seconds that remain. Then, you question why you didn’t cash-out for 65% of the winnings with a minute or two left. After that, you blame the referee for not blowing his whistle earlier or for not giving the penalty that would have made the score 2-0. As the anger boils up inside you, you have a choice to make.
Do you just accept the loss, walk away and wait for another day or do you let the anger take control and bet on the next available match, which just so happens to be in the Greek second division between two teams you had never heard of until about thirty-seconds ago?
Well, the sensible gambler will walk away because they know that letting emotions take control of you is a sure-fire way of going broke.
Never bet when angry and never, ever, chase your losses. Your judgement will be blurred, you’re more likely to place bets you would never place when level-headed, and it is the beginning of an extremely downfall.
When will it end? Your first bet lost, then the Greek team you backed because they were favourites are 2-0 down inside ten-minutes. You are now even angrier and chasing more losses. A winner is needed, but betting on a favourite won’t get back the money you lost so you need to back an outsider.
That outsider loses and the vicious circle continues. You end up spending money you cannot afford to lose, you argue with friends and family who try to give you advice, and the anger you felt which made you make irrational decisions in the first place is solely directed at yourself.
When gambling, you need to remain level-headed and rational. Study statistics, form, and keep up-to-date with the latest team news to decide which team has the best chance of winning.
Betting when angry or desperate isn’t the only way of letting emotions take over and affect the bets you place.
I, personally, never bet on matches involving the team I support. However, there are several people who back their favourite team to win every match and are left even more disappointed when they lose 4-0 away to the league leaders on a wet and windy Tuesday night.
Not only has the team you follow been beaten, you have also made the bookmakers a little bit richer by risking your hard-earned money because favouritism and hopefulness said you would win. The rational, statistics-led, you would never have backed your team, who are on a poor run of form, to win against a team who are on a long unbeaten run.
You read stories every year about lucky punters winning by picking a horse for the Grand National because they like the name or the colours the jockey’s wearing.
Betting this way doesn’t work in football. Yes, there are shocks and surprises. Teams at the bottom of the table do beat the high-fliers occasionally and there are cup upsets with teams three divisions below their opponents winning.
However, these surprises are few and far between and selecting which ones will happen every week is an almost impossible task.
When betting on football, you need to remain analytical and never let your emotions take over. Risking the odd few quid on an outsider isn’t going to break the bank, but letting your emotions control how you bet will almost certainly leave you penniless.