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Emotions and Baseball Betting

Major League Baseball Betting: Emotions and Baseball Betting

By Loot, Major League Baseball Handicapper,

Baseball is an emotional sport for all those who are in love with it. It's a sport that tugs on our heartstrings. The importance of the sport runs deep for many of us. We bonded with our fathers with baseball being the backdrop. Some of our more memorable and emotional childhood moments had to do with baseball. We were part of little league teams that may still stand out as the best times of our lives. We may remember watching games on TV without a care in the world. For most of us, baseball represents our last period of innocence--before the hardships and anxieties of adult life made us the bitter miscreants we later became.

We carry some of these feelings into our adult lives. We may think we are above it all, but it's important to acknowledge the emotion we still carry with us as adults who are now wagering on games and not just acting as fans anymore. And the fact is that it does help to become more clinical in how we approach baseball. No one is saying to abandon the childlike joy that baseball represents, but in a way, we need to be less like fans. Being a fan creates biases and those will likely poison your perspective and betting approach.

Maybe your favorite team is playing in a big game. After years, they finally made the playoffs. Emotion can really send you sideways looking for answers. Just remember, being a fan of a team and betting on a team need to come from two completely separate places. Once your dollar is guided by your fan sensibilities, you're asking for trouble.

That doesn't mean you can't be a fan of baseball--not at all. But we need to make sure some of the thoughts we developed as children are put to the side when betting. When growing up, the battle lines were very clear. We loved a team or maybe even a few teams. Part of that includes developing a hatred toward other teams--usually rivals to the teams we loved. Maybe there was a kid who bullied you who was an Atlanta Braves fan and you hated them as a result. Or maybe Chet Lemon stiffed you for an autograph and you've disliked the Tigers ever since. Who knows? It can be anything. And everyone's experiences are different.

Even as adults, we can develop similar emotional tie-ins. Perhaps we focus on a few different teams and they consistently bring home the bacon for us. We develop a feeling of kinship with that team. Winning bets can create good memories and those teams maybe occupy a place in our hearts. The same can apply to losing. Lose a couple big bets on the same team, you could start developing a bias against that team. Biases, whether they be pro or con, can really poison our picking of games. In other words, we need to avoid feeling all warm and fuzzy when a team gets the job done for us a bunch of times. Conversely, we can't shut ourselves off from betting on teams that haven't been particularly good to us on the betting front.

Some of us have been watching baseball from such an early age that we just know a ton about the sport. We can tell you who led the American League in triples in 1982 (Willie Wilson). We can tell you where a ball will go a nanosecond after it leaves the bat. It's just something that is so engrained in our conscience.

But what does that have to do with betting? We may have baseball pumping through every pore of our bodies--that doesn't mean we will be good bettors. Emotion could get in the way. We figure we know the sport so well, that we will just naturally blend seamlessly into the world of baseball wagering. It doesn't work that way.

The game of baseball wagering is really an entirely different game. Make no mistake, knowing the game up-and-down is a prerequisite, but hardly a guarantee that a successful journey in baseball betting awaits. The discipline of betting is a completely different area of expertise. It requires a lot of work and a transition period where you learn the many wrinkles that lie within the discipline. You can know baseball better than anyone and be a national baseball trivia champion. Unless you're able to relate that knowledge to the very specific action of wagering, it won't count for much.


And if you find yourself betting and not being successful, don't get emotional about it. You may figure you know the sport. You follow it as closely as anyone. So why aren't you wining baseball bets? You can become indignant and start chasing losses, figuring it's only a matter of time before you start hitting your groove. Rather than get frustrated, get clinical. Identify what you're doing that is causing you to pick games incorrectly at an accelerated rate.

The takeaway from this is that emotion only gets in the way when betting on baseball. It's difficult because for most of us, baseball is just a very sacred thing--something that we are massively invested in on a very personal level. But it doesn't take a sports betting expert to know that emotion and wagering don't often mix well.

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