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Listening to Your Inner Voice

MLB Betting: Listening To Your Inner Voice

By Loot, Major League Baseball Handicapper,

In baseball wagering, we have to call on all our resources. We use our knowledge of baseball. We develop our understanding of gambling and specifically--baseball wagering. Then, we must also figure out how to incorporate our gut-instincts and other things we might feel when making a bet.

It's not easy. We can be our own worst enemy. Our inner voice can just as easily lead us astray as put us on the right path. Sometimes we need to tell our inner voice to stop talking. Other times, we should listen to it. Well, how do you know when to listen and when to ignore it? This is a challenge that faces many bettors.

After betting on baseball for a number of years, you will begin to develop an instinct for it. You will know the second you look at a line if it's good or bad. If you wanted to bet on a certain team, you will develop odds in your head or a range of where they should be. Then if you look at the posted odds, it could be jarring. If the odds are worse for you than you had imagined, this is a good time to listen to your inner voice, which is telling you this is a bad-value wager.

There will be other times when you get a bad feeling about a bet you are about to place. We all have experienced these feelings and know how painful it is to lose a bet every pore in your body was trying to tell you to not make. Sometimes, our thought processes run in direct contrast to our instincts. Our brain tells us one thing, but our antennae are up, sensing something is askew.

Those are instincts where we are wise to pay attention. We all have examples in our lives outside the world of betting where we paid dearly for not listening to our instincts. In our heads, we were able to make a case for something, but our gut was against it. The reason it didn't form into actual cognitive thought was that perhaps it lied outside the world of words. Not everything can be captured with language. There are feelings that can't be summed up verbally. That doesn't mean they don't exist. In baseball betting, some things are beyond explanation--it's more of a visceral feeling.

We also need to be careful not to overrate our inner narrative. You might think after handicapping a game, that you have it nailed down like piece of wood. Maybe according to the framework you used to determine the winner of a game. That might be the right framework. The more you bet, the more you will see it happen. You think you have a pretty solid grasp of all the pertinent factors. Then, the game starts and you see it's being decided by a bunch of variables you didn't even consider.

Our analysis might tend to point us in the right direction more often than not, but we shouldn't expect it to be infallible. Solid analysis only goes so far in a game like big league baseball, where parity rules. We hope our inner voice can direct us to more winners than losers, but we shouldn't expect too much from our voice. If we can edge a little bit ahead, that's pretty good.


There are times where our inner voice leads us astray and we need to shout it down before we go down a dangerous road. If a kid belted you in the schoolyard, maybe your inner voice said "get him back." If someone screwed you over in business, you probably thought of how you could exact revenge. As humans, we are somewhat bound to these feelings of vengeance and revenge. It's normal to seek payback when we were victimized.

Obviously, these sentiments can be hazardous in the world of baseball wagering. First of all, we need to move away from the idea of being "victimized." We all started betting on baseball willfully, knowing losing agonizing games is part of the deal. It hurts the managers and players far more than the guy betting $100. It's just that after losing a game that looked like a winner the whole way--it can give way to a desire to seek payback. That's when we have to back up and take a deep breath. A win is a win and a loss is a loss. When it's over--it's over. Move to the next game. Nothing that is happening to you is unprecedented. Everyone goes through the same thing.

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