Eddie Squarehead lives in Fort Worth, Texas. He works as a Key Account Manager, makes $60k per year and has a wife along with two beautiful children. He also is a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan. He hates the Eagles, thinks Eli Manning is vastly overrated and has been mocking his co-workers – who are Redskins fans – all summer long about how bad their team is and has been for the past four years. On the most recent company picnic in August he repeated several times: “Your Skins ain’t gonna win five games this year”. On Sundays he always wears his No. 8 Troy Aikman jersey, does a BBQ and watches the Cowboys games religiously while having a few good beers. Eddie also likes gambling and to bet on NFL games. Before the season started, he told his wife: “If I make some extra bucks this season, Christmas presents will be bigger as usual”.
Between the 4 PM games and Sunday Night Football, Eddie regularly watches the highlights from the day games. It’s week five of the fictional 2017 NFL season and he is watching the Dolphins getting shredded 13-38 on the road at Pittsburgh and Matt Ryan connecting to Julio on a pair of touchdowns in a big 35-10 win over the Bears.
Putting a card together the square way
The next week he puts together a betting card at a local bookie from his gambling bankroll. He bets the Cowboys at -4.5 at home against the Cards, because they are his team and he wants to see them winning. He fades the Giants at Seattle because “Eli Manning is overrated and will get hammered”. He sees the Falcons laying 3.5 points at Miami and his memories tell him how bad the Dolphins and how good the Falcons looked last week when he watched highlights before the Sunday Night Football game. He scans the remaining odds board and sees a home team with a winning record – the Panthers – laying 6.5 points against the 2-3 Redskins. Now his subconscious mind remembers him how strongly he expressed his opinion about the Redskins at work and at the company picnic during the summer. He wants his opinion to turn out as the truth and he wants the Redskins to lose. He grabs the home team at -6.5 because “the Redskins have to lose, they are bad”.
The Sunday didn’t turn out so well for Eddie Squarehead. He went 1-3, only the Giants covered their respective spread. Neither did he watch the recent games of these teams nor did he do any research on the games that would have led to an objective conclusion. He made his decisions subjectively. He bet with emotions, recency bias and general bias. He didn’t analyze the situational spot and home/road efficiency for the Falcons/Dolphins game. He hasn’t recognized that the Redskins have been playing some solid Football and are much better than he thought they would be.
Eddie also didn’t take the time to study the matchup for “his” Cowboys team, because he just wanted to put money on “his” team. The offensive line was without LT Tyron Smith and his backup Byron Bell had an unfair matchup against Arizona’s best pass rusher Chandler Jones. Eddie didn’t even think about these two lining up against each other for the major part of the game, because “our offensive line is elite”. Jones came up with the game-icing strip sack of Dak Prescott.
Continuing what does not work
For the reminder of the NFL season, Eddie would continue his thought process like this. He would bet the Cowboys every week, would look to fade the Skins and build the rest of his cards based on recent results. He wouldn’t take time to reflect on his betting habits. He would continue to think in a box. He would finish the season around 46% and lose a good part of his bankroll. Eddie would tell his friends that “it’s impossible to make money off betting on NFL games”. Eddie’s wife would be a little bit mad in late December, because the Christmas presents weren’t as big or expensive as advertised.
No wife can endure a gambling husband, unless he is a steady winner. ~Thomas Robert Dewar
Reflection is a very important skill of human beings. Too often in life we fail, because we are stuck into one way or opinion and lack the ability to reflect. It is also in our nature to make the same mistake over and over again. With a lack of reflection we don’t recognize changes and struggle to think outside the box. Naturally, we tend to stick to one opinion which leads to bias and subjective evaluation.
Don’t get me wrong – having and expressing an opinion is very valuable to me and is a big part of someone’s personality. Opinions lead to reactions and discussions. So many times I’ve read an article where the author discusses a topic or breaks something down without actually having an opinion. The result is a boring and neutral article, particularly to not get any followers turn their backs towards them. Having a (strong) opinion is good, but having the ability to put that opinion in question over time and change it based on reflection – this is even more valuable.
Reflection is a big part of sports betting
Reflection is also very important when it comes to sports betting. Recency bias and general bias is what kills your bankroll in the long run. Casual or “average” bettors tend to bet with their emotions far too often. Over the past few years I have been dealing with the same problems over and over again. But recognizing that these problems exist is the first step into the right direction. You can change your habits every day of the year, keep that in mind.
We need to bet without emotions, bias and by thinking outside the box. If you aren’t a bettor who profits consistently, ask yourself: Am I like Eddie Squarehead? Are there any parallels between the thought process of Eddie Squarehead and my own? The next time you cap games of any sports think about Eddie Squarehead and whether or not you need to make some changes on your habits. He will help you make more money in the long run.