Does Intuition Play a Role in Sports Betting?

A significant percentage of “casual” bettors listen to their gut when choosing their bet. Such an approach does not include profit bettors. The question now is whether intuition should be discarded completely.

How Can Intuition Help With Decision Making?

The concept of intuition according to Malcom Gladwell in his book “Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking” is worth borrowing a leaf from when looking at betting. How can a decision taken intuitively with little knowledge about the possibility of getting it right turn so right unlike a better-informed well thought-out decision?

Take, for instance, the intuitive marvel of tennis coach Vic Braden. Braden could say when a player is about to double-fault just before it could happen. Vic himself said he didn’t know how he did that and came to the conclusion that it was just snap judgment that came to him intuitively. One of his best prediction was while watching a match at Indian Walls. He correctly called 16 out of 17 double faults before they occurred in spite of 91.1 percent of second service attempts landing in.

Intuition and Big Data

Big data means extensive data sets which may be analysed computationally to interpret patterns, associations, and trends, especially in connection to human behaviour and interactions.

Big data can highpoint areas that intuition and perceived wisdom can all get wrong. An example worth noting includes the hot-hand fallacy, baseball scouting (Moneyball), and highlighting the way intuitive judgments can easily lean on confirmation bias. However, the two are not different though.

Seth Stephens-Davidowitz in his book “Everybody lies” argues that Vic Braden’s talent for detecting double fault detection was a form, a form of data analysis.

Braden had carefully watched millions of serves and then developed an intuitive mastery of being able to spot the signs of a double fault a fraction of a second before the error happened. He somehow could extra-ordinarily calculate the chance of a double fault by analysing the swing of a player, while comparing the countless numbers of service attempts he had seen before.

Do you have any experience of betting on sports? Then you will without delay notice that something is wrong with the odds. Intuitively a person that knows anything about assessing the probability of soccer matches will notice that the chance of a Barcelona win is low by the odds.

Looking at Vic Braden’s talent was a great example of intuition in action, and maybe his ability and the variation in it could be applied to sports betting. After all, if an expert bettor with an extraordinary brain can function as a supercomputer, then the possibility of a bettor having a very accurate grasp of probability would be very high.

Indeed, there exist successful bettors, like Lewis Deyong, who admits that their success is thanks to their intuitive comprehension of probability. If a bettor could attain a similar level of skill then merely betting intuitively could be profitable, but is that a realistic prospect?

The Limitations Of Intuition

According to online sportsbooks, the reason this approach to betting is so limited is that many things need to be monitored as well lots of other events that one needs to bet on to guarantee long-term profitability

Having the knowledge of betting amidst some advantage in a wide spectrum of events would be similar to Vic Braden attempting to call double faults across hundreds or even thousands games happen at the same time. Braden’s intuition could only apply to a single match at a time but could as well become overstretched when trying hard to apply that intuition across many events.

Further, the soccer analytics expert Ted Knutson in his conversation with former US national team coach Bob Bradley is quite interesting. On the concept of expected goals, Knutson got an interesting response from the coach. Bradley pointed out some flaws with this data-driven approach to analysing soccer. Bradley argued when one watches a scoring opportunity; he could intuitively grasp the chance of a goal being scored unlike the data could.

Why Sample Size Is Important

Another flaw of betting intuitively is that the predictions cannot be tested because the ability to do so is not there. The approach based on data can be used on historical fixtures and tested on several matches. Meanwhile, the sample size of an intuitive bettor may be highly likely to reach a level where they can claim profitability with confidence.

Perhaps a highly intuitive bettor could find an ample edge to be consistently profitable with a minor set of bets. However, it is a pretty tricky task.

Does intuition have a chance in Sports Betting?

It is of course not surprising that the strategy of betting was built solely around intuitive judgment which is highly unlikely to be successful. There is certainly a strong argument for intuitive judgements being applied to betting models.

Note that if the power of intuition could be eliminated from the betting strategy entirely, the betting will have no huge data source. Also, relying on intuition alone would be a very risky approach to betting as it relies entirely on a grasp of probabilities.