Last Game Bias in Sports Betting

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Last Game Bias in Sports BettingDo you place too much emphasis on the last performance of a team/player in sport?

As any gambler knows, finding an edge when betting on sport is a tough ask, however it is far from impossible, and spending time studying an event and ensuring you are receiving the best odds might actually see you gain that edge. When studying a particular sporting event, you’ll look at the form of a team or a player when evaluating your bet, and this will obviously include the very latest performance – but is this performance influencing your selection too much?

In this article I start by looking at the randomness of sporting events, showing two examples where the ‘unexpected’ result happens. I then explain how one might be a one-off, while the other may not – and how to spot these situations across all sports. I finish by explaining how you can take advantage of these situations by going against the crowd.

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Planet Mark's Top Rec:

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The Randomness of Sporting Events

As anyone knows when watching sport, on any given day anything can happen. In many cases the team/player that is expected to win will actually win, on other occasions this will not happen – here I’ll give two examples of where the ‘expected result’ doesn’t happen.

Example 1

There is a game in the Football League between the league leaders and a team struggling in the relegation zone. In this game the league leaders played at home and had much of the possession and many clear cut chances where the strikers simply fluffed their opportunities. They eventually went down to a late goal from their opponents, their only shot on goal.

Example 2

A tennis player is ranked 64th in the world at the end of the year, and decides to bring in a new coaching team which he’ll work with for 2 months throughout the winter. In the first tournament of the year he finds himself up against the world number 3 and is given little chance, however he runs out the 6-3 6-4 winner and dominates the match, with better stats in all departments.

In both of these examples, if you were asked to predict the outcome, you would probably say the opposite would happen – but sport being sport the unpredictable can and will happen. The question is however, how do we equate these performances when it comes to the next time they play?

In example 1, you might think that the team in the relegation zone have now improved and be more willing to back them next time out on the back of this result. However, there is a reason they are in the relegation zone – they are not very good! And it might simply be a case that they got lucky – which the stats of the game probably show. In this situation, you shouldn’t put much stock at all in the result – OK they might have a bit more confidence for the next game, but nothing much has changed, they are not really any better and simply got the run of the ball, so should you really be more likely to back them next time out?

Example 2 is slightly different. This player is a lowly ranked player in comparison to his opponent; however a lot has changed over the winter and the stats of the game show that he wasn’t particularly lucky – he fully deserved the win. You should indeed place a lot of emphasis on this particular last performance.

Evaluating the Last Game across any Sport

As you can see from the two examples, we’ve evaluated these two performances completely differently. Here I suggest two rules you’ll be able to use when deciding how much emphasis to place on the last game.

  1. If a team/player has an unexpectedly good result, where nothing has really changed, then it is likely that this performance is a one-off, and you should ignore it when evaluating the next game, as they may have had one of those days where everything just goes right (especially if the game stats back this up).
  2. If a team/player has an unexpectedly good result, where something has changed (a football team has signed a new player or a key player has returned from injury, or a golfer has a new swing coach), then you should place greater emphasis on this performance.

Taking Advantage of these Situations

Evaluating the Last Game across any SportIn many situations after a shock result, you’ll find that the general betting public will want to lump on the players or teams who have caused that shock – so going against the crowd and backing the opponent is the only way to go. Here is a prime example:

In 2012, at Wimbledon, Rafael Nadal (the number 2 seed) played Lukas Rosol who was ranked number 100 in the world in the second round. Rosol caused a massive shock, beating Nadal in five sets. This was completely unexpected, as the previous week saw Rosol lose a qualifier at Eastbourne to the world number 105. The third round saw Rosol face the world number 30 Philip Kohlschreiber and the bookmakers had Kohlschreiber as just a slight favourite – much of the public money going on Rosol, meaning his price was much lower than it would have normally have been.

Rosol hadn’t suddenly become a world beater – he just had ‘one of those days’ against Nadal where he hit every line. Here, going against the crowd and backing Kohlschreiber was clearly the way to go – the rankings showing he is a much better player.

Kohlschreiber won the match 6-2, 6-3, 7-6.

Planet Mark's Top Rec:

32Red are giving the old 'High Street Bookies' sports betting brands some real trouble in 2019.

This very slick site offers top-rated odds; a huge range of bets and a big list of player promotions (really, check the latest before you bet elsewhere). This now includes an excellent 100% profit boost offer for all new players.

32Red are my go-to betting site, you’ll quickly find out why once you see www.32red.com/sports for yourself - check them now!

 

30181

 

Planet Mark's Top Rec:

32Red are giving the old 'High Street Bookies' sports betting brands some real trouble in 2019.

This very slick site offers top-rated odds; a huge range of bets and a big list of player promotions (really, check the latest before you bet elsewhere). This now includes an excellent 100% profit boost offer for all new players.

32Red are my go-to betting site, you’ll quickly find out why once you see www.32red.com/sports for yourself - check them now!

 

30181

 

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Bovada have a huge range of markets (especially when it comes to the bigger events), competitive lines and super-easy deposits / withdrawals.

The killer reason is the promos – you’ll find their list of offers for regular bettors unrivalled anywhere online. Check out www.bovada.lv to see the latest deals for yourself now!

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