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betting psychology - cognitive biases – framing effect

By Admin on August 19, 2012 in Betting Guide, Psychology

Teaching a person how to bet on sports is fairly easy. A lot of statistical data is readily available online for all to review. Add to that all the sports news and rumors and the plot thickens. All aspects of betting on specific sports can be found in our articles. The bet tips section contains a refined product going through the various processes leading up to the selection of a bet. Teaching a person betting psychology is much harder. To sportsbet successfully you must overcome many cognitive biases lurking in the shadows of your mind.


In this article, and many more we will focus on a concept that many people betting on sports are unaware of, namely betting psychology. To be more precise, we will look at human nature and all the mental tricks it can play on our decision making. Cognitive psychology has been tracking this for a while. A lot of it is intuitive, yet still so many punters commit bias-crimes on a daily basis. We want to drill the concept home by using examples and simple explanations. Hopefully you will take notice.

What is narrow framing?

The framing effect or narrow framing as it often is called is simply put that we tend to see things how they seem, rather than how they are. A morbid example; if you come to a murder scene and you see someone standing over the victim (who is dead) with a knife in his hand it is a pretty darn good chance you conclude the killer is in front of you. However, that may be drawing conclusions a little bit too quick.

Narrow framing in betting

Narrow framing in regard to choosing a team to back is common. For example, if Manchester United is playing Chelsea and Man U has some key injuries one would instantly lean toward betting on Chelsea. Let's say that Man U is without Rooney, Nani and Vidic in the upcoming match. The bookmakers have set the line accordingly but still have Chelsea as a solid underdog. The line on Man U is better than it normally would be however. Many sports bettors will see this and jump at backing Chelsea as a result of these key injuries. They would even jump on this bet without any further analysis. Value wise the bet would perhaps make sense if the line on Chelsea were really out of line, but usually the odds won’t be that far off. Bookmakers do adjust their odds in these situations.

This situation clearly falls under the framing effect. If you were to dig deeper and look at the players replacing the injured, Man U is still a very solid team all around. Berbatov, Valencia and Evans are possible replacements; these three would be starters for many teams near the top of the league when we write this piece. Betting on sports is as we have said in other articles all about gathering small edges. Obviously Man U loses some firepower with the mentioned injuries, but the replacements are so good that the “edge” you collect is debatable given the odds provided. This is so important; make sure you stay cool, calm and extremely collected when you compare the odds on offer to the bet you were thinking of selecting. Your mind might be messing with you.

A similar example can be used today (as per the time of writing) with regard to the NBA. The 2011/2012 season has been shortened, and the teams are playing a lot of games over a much shorter period of time. This is resulting in wear and tear to players and often high profile players will miss crucial games. It is easy to fall right into the trap and overestimate the importance of that one player.

The schedule this season is also extremely grueling based on the travel that is required due to the high game frequency. Teams are playing three games in four nights; some are playing four in five and even five in six nights. There are situations where teams are going to be playing back to back to back games. Many bettors saw this as an edge early on. The forums were full of tips based on this “insight”. It would seem obvious to back the opponent when a team is playing three games in three nights. Punters overlooked that after all, the players are true athletes. They have rested longer than normal pre-season and overall the squads are deep and solid. The example is an example of narrow framing for sure. Detail focus, or focus on seemingly valid points should be measured against the big picture before it flies. To date teams in the 3/3 spot are winning at an alarming rate, sending bettors back to the drawing board. Go figure, or better yet, read our articles and learn how to bet.

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