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Lazy Sports Betting Tactics
How to beat the bookies in the over-under markets
How to convert between decimal and American odds
How to get an edge in betting
How to test the credibility of a tipster`s record
Kelly criterion method
How to use Kelly Criterion for betting
How Weather Affects Sports Betting
Increase Your Chances of Winning Long Term Betting on Sports
Intermediate and Advanced Sports Betting
Common sportsbetting myths
Advices on Betting Fundamentals
Betting do's and don'ts
Choosing a staking method based on your betting profile
Betting staking plans
Value betting explained
Sports-betting- a game of numbers
Market movement in betting
Types of odds explained
European types of bets explained
American types of bets explained
Martingale Considerations in Sports Betting
In-play betting
Accumulator betting
Mobile betting
A Crash Course in Horse Racing
A Crash Course In Sports Betting
American odds versus decimal odds
Bankroll management
Money management in sportsbetting- odds, edge and variance
Basic bet types explained
Paying for Picks
Betting on winning streaks
Betting psychology- a crash course about aspiring professional bettors
Popular Sports Betting Beliefs
Do you make these 9 sportsbetting mistakes?
Does intuition have a place in sportsbetting?
Exchange betting
Randomness in sportsbetting
Fractional versus decimal odds
Home team advantage analised
How bad at sportsbetting are you?
Reasons to Keep Betting Records
How bookmakers make money
How bookmakers work
How do betting exchanges work
Should You Bet on Multiple Sports or Specialize?
How do free bets work
How does luck influence short term betting
How good are betting tipsters
Sports Betting for Beginners
How loss aversion impacts performance
How many sports to bet on
How Much Should You Bet On a Sporting Event?
Staking-one method to improve your betting
How much you should risk per bet?
How Sports Betting Has Changed Over the Last 20 Years
How To Avoid A Big Sports Betting Loss
The art of multiple betting
The history of lotteries
The value of information in soccer betting
Three careers ideally suited to betting
Tips for Better Sports Betting Results
Types of Online Sports Betting Bonuses
Understanding and managing your risk of ruin
Understanding Horse Racing Bet Types
Understanding Live Betting
Value betting is an essential skill for bettors
Ways to Increase the Percentage of Sports Bets You Win
What are drawdowns and how to manage them
What are the most common mistakes the bettors make
What are the real chances of winning the lottery?
What distinguishes winning from losing betors
What is a handicap soccer betting?
What is the Fibonacci betting system?
What is the Labouchere betting system
What is the Martingale staking system
Why do we gamble? Irrationality and overconfidence
Why patience is an essential trait for any serious bettor
Poisson Distribution: Predict the score in soccer betting
Fixed Staking vs. Variable Staking
Basketball betting: Bet types explained
7 Sure-Fire Baseball Betting Strategies
How Does In-Play Betting Work?
To Parlay, or Not to Parlay?
Wisdom of the Crowds applied to betting
CASINO ARTICLES
A Novice’s Tutorial on Casino Gambling Games
How to Gamble with Dice – Popular Dice Games and Their Variations
How Online Casinos Helped Me Love Roulette Even More
My Top Three Tips for Getting Comps in Casinos
5 blackjack stereotypes
5 Gambling Tricks You Can Only Use Online
5 LITTLE-KNOWN FACTS THAT AFFECT YOUR AVERAGE HOURLY LOSS IN A CASINO
5 REASONS CASINO GAMES ARE SO ENTERTAINING
5 Things All Casino Gambling Fans Are Sick of Hearing
5 Tips to Managing Your Casino Bankroll Effectively
The Five Most Important Tips I Ever Learned on Bankroll Management
5 Rookie Mistakes in Blackjack and How to Avoid Them
7 roulette variations probably you have never heard of
7 THINGS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT CASINOS
7 Ways Casino Players Sabotage Their Chances of Success
How to Tell If You’re About to Make a Mistake with Your Next Casino Bet
The 12 Types of People I Meet in Casinos – Analyzing My Fellow Gamblers
10 SURE-FIRE CASINO GAMBLING STRATEGIES THAT WORK
What I Love Most About My Three Favorite Video Poker Games
The Last Guide to Video Poker Tournament Strategies You’ll Ever Need
Baccarat and the Martingale System – Can It Work?
Is There a Gambling System That Never Loses?
Combining the Martingale System with Odds Bets in Craps
Which Bets on Which Casino Games Offer the Best Odds of Doubling Your Money?
What’s Next for Online Gambling?
Using Self-Discipline in the Casino
20 ONLINE GAMBLING TIPS
Going All-In – When to Bet It All in Poker
10 Things I Wish I’d Known About Roulette Before I Started
Who’s the Best Video Poker Player in the World
Are No-Deposit Bonuses at Online Casinos a Waste of Your Time or Worth Going For?
Are Online Casino Bonuses Worth Taking?
BEATING BACCARAT – WINNING SYSTEMS & STRATEGIES
CHOOSING THE RIGHT SLOT MACHINE
EUROPEAN VS. AMERICAN ROULETTE
EVEN MONEY CASINO BETS
Feel Confident When Gambling Online – 8 Tips to Help You Choose a Secure Site
Finding the Best Slots Online
Gambling and Poker Playing: 10 Things to Know
GAMBLING GAMES THAT ARE REALLY WORTH TRYING
HOW TO AVOID GOING BROKE AT THE ROULETTE WHEEL
HOW TO GET YOUR FIRST ONLINE CASINO SIGNUP BONUS
How to make a million playing video poker
How to Spend Your Gambling Winnings
HOW TO SURVIVE A BLIZZARD AT THE CRAPS TABLE
HOW TO WIN AT ROULETTE
How to Win Consistently at Casino Gambling
How to Win Consistently at Craps
How to Win Consistently at Roulette
HOW VOLATILITY WORKS IN CASINO GAMBLING
Is It Possible to Play Roulette as a Career (Or Even as a Part Time Gig)?
Is One Blackjack Game Better Than Another?
MONEY MANAGEMENT STRATEGY FOR YOUR NEXT CASINO TRIP
ONLINE CASINO DISPUTES
SKILL BASED CASINO GAMES: PROS AND CONS
The 5 secret joys of casino gambling
The Benefits of an Online Gambling Environment
The Best Long-Term Strategies for Playing Progressive Jackpot Slots
THE BIGGEST JACKPOTS IN ONLINE GAMBLING
THE EASIEST WAY TO LEARN BLACKJACK STRATEGY
THE HOUSE EDGE
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The Surprising Secret to Winning at Casino Gambling
Who Takes Care of Your Safety at Online Casinos?
Why Don’t Craps Players Just Use the Right Strategy?
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WHY IS THE DON’T PASS BET BETTER THAN THE PASS BET IN CRAPS?
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Wisdom of the Crowds applied to betting

If you have a difficult conundrum, it’s reasonable to assume that the more people you survey, the better your solution will be. This theory is known as the ‘wisdom of the crowds’, and is an effective way of making decisions under uncertainty, like estimating the probability or outcome of a sports betting prediction.

The trouble is that sometimes the crowd acts like a foolish herd – so how do you know when the collective is getting things wrong?

How wisdom of the crowds works

The wisdom of the crowds works by averaging estimates from a wide variety of people. Participants will equally over- and under-estimate outcomes, leaving the average of their predictions as close to perfect.

Guessing the number of sweets in a large jar is a favourite game at fairs and fetes, and provides a simple illustration of the power of collective wisdom. The most effective way to predict the number of items is to wait until close to the contest deadline, and then simply average all the guesses.

By doing this you are benefiting from the estimates of all the pairs of eyes that have perused that jar. It may a be a little impractical and you will certainly draw a few strange looks as you perch your calculator on the trestle table, but it illustrates how to harness collective wisdom. And could win you a few sweets, too.

Predicting the unknown – the USS Scorpion

The wisdom of the crowds phenomenon was first observed in the early 20thcentury by the eminent anthropologist, Sir Francis Galton. When at a livestock fair he observed a competition to guess the weight of a butchered ox. No one-person got the correct weight but Galton calculated the median of guesses as being within 0.8% of the answer, stating that “the middlemost estimate expresses the vox populi, every other estimate being condemned as too low or too high by a majority of the voters.”

The vox populi or Wisdom of the Crowdstranscends many aspects of decision-making, a wide and fascinating cross-section of which are examined by James Surowiecki in his 2004 book on the subject. Among its fascinating anecdotes is the story of search for the USS Scorpion submarine, which was lost in the North Atlantic in May 1968.

In its search efforts, the navy was only able to locate the wreck to within a 20-mile range. In a test of collective wisdom, naval officer – Dr. John Craven – gained individual insights from a wide and varied group of naval/salvage experts, and used their collective information to pinpoint a location that turned out to be just 220yds from the wreck of the Scorpion.

So how did these individuals’ unrelated opinions average-out to such accuracy?

How this can influence a sports betting prediction

Just like locating a shipwreck, the results of sporting events cannot be known a priori, yet even under these conditions the crowd does generally provide an accurate assessment of the respective probabilities of the outcomes.

Odds gain accuracy from the wisdom of the crowds by shaping a bookmaker’s opening line and exposing it to public appraisal.

Very sharp bettors will have their own ideas about opening lines that, when they diverge with the bookmakers, will cause the sharp bettors to bet quickly and re-shape the markets.

Odds gain accuracy from the wisdom of the crowds by shaping a bookmaker’s opening line and exposing it to public appraisal.

As markets become more liquid – i.e. more people voice their sports betting prediction by placing bets – the market generally moves to its most efficient position, just as the more guesses of the number of sweets, the more accurate the average guess.

However, in the Scorpion story, Craven restricted his ‘crowd’ to the best available experts, and garnered opinions independently, but in betting high precision individuals aren’t the only participants, and decisions aren’t made in a vacuum, so what happens when other less sophisticated bettors weigh in, and when there is a total absence of sharps?

Behavioural biases & information cascades

The bettors that contribute to the movement of a market are generally drawn from a wide spectrum of knowledge and experience, and there is often a specific distribution to the times that different groups place their bets.

One of the recurring themes in our articles is the importance of understanding behavioural biases, and how they can impede rational risk assessment. As already mentioned, sharp players tend to act soonest, while public money – effectively less informed betting – tends to happen closest to event start times, and frequently reflects very general rules of thumb, e.g. “which team am I more familiar with?”, “which team do I recall winning more often?”, “which team is everyone else betting on?”

These lazier judgments normally result in more money on the favourite, skewing the market away from its most efficient position. This is an illustration of how the wisdom of the crowds can be replaced by the foolishness of the herd.

Public money may distort rather than reverse a market, but this kind of collectively poor reasoning  – known as an information cascade – can have far greater impact.

Wooden roads & Harry Redknapp

Examples of information cascades outside of betting include a run on the bank, or the rise and swift fall of wooden roads in the 19th century (if you are intrigued by this, read Surowiecki). In the betting world, the managerial markets often follow the information cascade model, with the events following Fabio Capello’s resignation as England manager on February 8th2012 a salient example. Bettors were willing to wager huge amounts at very skinny odds that Harry Redknapp would replace Capello as the England manager.

In the betting world, the managerial markets often follow the information cascade model, with the events following Fabio Capello’s resignation as England manager on February 8th 2012 a salient example

Although technically still a sports betting prediction, in this situation, precision individuals were absent. The market was driven to an inaccurate judgment based on persuasive arguments for Redknapp’s appointment (there was momentum behind an English manager, Redknapp had enjoyed a successful spell with Spurs and the public was seemingly behind his appointment), while many bettors were willing to rely on the judgment of others (and the media). Not being privy to the information of others bettors assumed that the information amounted to more than just speculation or wishful thinking. It didn’t – Roy Hodgson was announced as the new England manager on 1st May 2012.

In an information cascade, decisions are made sequentially, generating momentum, as the effect of incremental decisions being based on the existing opinion that helped build the feedback loop that drove the price down.

The information cascade phenomenon underlines the point from the Scorpion anecdote – the harder the question, and/or the weaker the knowledge pool the less reliable the collective wisdom. If bettors can avoid being swept away by the cascade, these situations can present significant opportunities and help inform a sports betting prediction.

Pump and dump – market manipulation

Motivation is a key factor in forming and movement of markets. Speculators are motivated by profit but the ways in which this can be achieved are divergent. In the financial world Pump & Dump commonly refers to the practice of hyping shares to inflate their price and enable short-term gains, while the inverse is also common with shortening of shares that are driven down by negative speculation. These tactics drive the market in an unnatural direction, and equally apply within betting. The speed with which information now disseminates (via social media) can make this even more pertinent, and is not a circumstance where the crowd can be trusted.

Niche markets

Notwithstanding some of the biases we have outlined, the more liquid a market, the better the collective wisdom. This applies to major sports – big soccer leagues, US major league sports and tennis grand slams – which make it much harder for bettors to find value. Niche sports however, can provide opportunities because of the absence of information, and therefore wisdom.

There will be far fewer high precision individuals betting niche markets, and it will also test the knowledge of the bookmaker, which presents opportunities for those bettors prepared to do the research, and who are able to recognise when the crowd is lacking wisdom and react accordingly.