Emotional Sports Betting Is for Losers

Happy Sad Theater Mask in Front of Money and Sportsbook

Sports fans tend to be emotional. They get angry when their team loses and are happy when their team wins. So it’s natural for many sports betters to be emotional too.

The problem is that emotional sports betting is costly. When you make betting decisions based on emotion you’re not handicapping games in the best way.

Learn why emotional sports’ betting is bad below, and how to eliminate it from the equation.

Chasing Your Losses Is Costly

Many sports bettors were athletes when they were growing up. Most athletes are trained from a young age to play to win. This leads many former athletes to have a negative emotion attached to losing. In other words, it’s common for athletes to hate to lose.

Hate is a strong emotion, but it’s what many sports bettors feel when they lose bets. As the losses mount, the emotions build, and it can quickly lead to making more bets in hopes of recovering your losses. This is a dangerous road.

If you want to be a winning sports bettor, you have to learn how to find value and follow sports betting tips. You can’t force value on a game, and you can’t handicap games effectively with emotion. Every time emotion enters into the equation it leads to poor decisions.

Some sports bettors learn over time how to deal with losses and wins without emotion. But some sports bettors never learn how to eliminate emotions when it comes to betting. It helps to understand how sports betting works and that the best bettors only win a little over half their bets.

The way I learned how to remove the emotion from my sports betting results was to treat my sports betting like a business. My bankroll is my investment and my handicapping skills are my product. The available lines are the market, and I make a profit by finding value through my handicapping skills.

Sportsbook Screens Showing Games

My goal is to win 55% of my spread bets, and I know that even if I accomplish my goal I’m going to lose 45% of the time. I still don’t like to lose, but I understand that I’m going to lose a lot of games and use this information to eliminate all emotions when I handicap games, no matter if I won or lost the last game.

Chasing your losses is always a bad idea in any form of gambling. It usually ends up in more losses and more emotions. Never let emotions change the way you handicap games or make betting decisions.

Betting on Your Favorite Teams

If you had to make a list of the teams you know the most about, which teams are on the list? The odds are good that your favorite or home teams are at the top of the list.

How important is information when you’re handicapping games? It’s pretty easy to argue that information is the most important ingredient for successful handicapping.

These two things lead many sports bettors to believe that they should bet on games that involve their favorite teams. After all, if you know more about your favorite team you should be able to use this information to make good handicapping decisions.

But the opposite is almost always the truth.

As a fan, you want to see your favorite teams and players do well, because you want them to win. The problem with this is it often leads to overvaluing your favorite teams and players. You want them to be better, so you look for reasons why they’re better than they really are.

I stopped betting on games with my favorite teams many years ago. I simply can’t be as objective as I need to be to handicap games involving my favorite teams. I believe that the best sports bettors don’t have favorite teams.

While some people in the media are fans of the teams they cover, most of them stopped being fans a long time ago. In order to do a good job, they can’t be fans. They have to treat their work like a job or business and can’t let their feelings stop them from doing the best job they can.

I know this is the second straight section where I mention treating sports betting like a business, but it’s how you need to start operating if you want to win as much as possible. Betting on your favorite teams isn’t a good business decision.

Popular Team Bias

Media coverage drives many bets made by amateur sports bettors. Some teams receive a great deal more media coverage than others, and these teams are more popular.

In Major League Baseball the New York Yankees receive more media coverage than other teams. In the NBA the Los Angeles Lakers are the most popular team. In the NFL the New England Patriots and the Dallas Cowboys are the most popular teams. In college football, Alabama and Clemson are the most popular teams.

As a handicapper it’s important to understand what this means for handicapping purposes. The first thing it means is the public tends to have a bias toward popular teams because of the media coverage. Simply by seeing more headlines about popular teams than other teams, the public as a whole is biased.

The sportsbooks know this, and they use it against the public. More money is bet on popular teams so the books can set the lines slightly against the popular teams. This means that sometimes you can find value betting against the most popular teams.

But there’s an even more important thing to learn here. You need to make sure you don’t have the same popular team bias that the public has when you’re handicapping games. Any type of bias or emotional thing that influences your handicapping is going to cost you money in the long run.

No Action No Fun

I’ve got a friend who never watches a game unless he has a bet on it. He can’t enjoy a game just for the game. If he doesn’t have a bet on the game, it simply doesn’t interest him in any way. Because of this, he makes bets on games that don’t offer any value.

I call this no action, no fun.

View of a Sports Betting Board

I grew up watching and listening to sports. I played sports for as long as I could, and enjoy watching games. In an earlier section I mentioned that I don’t bet on games involving my favorite teams. I don’t watch and listen to as many games involving my favorite teams as I used to, but I still watch and listen to a few games to enjoy them.

Most of the games I watch now are for handicapping purposes. Even when I’m watching my favorite teams, I’m watching the opposing teams for handicapping purposes. I’m still a fan, but I’m also a handicapper, and I’ve figured out how I can do both.

The problem with no action, no fun is it forces you to make bets that you wouldn’t make based on your handicapping. I never bet a game that doesn’t look like it offers value. I like the action, but there are enough games that offer value to fulfill my action needs. And I don’t let the lack of action take away the enjoyment I get from watching a game with one of my favorite teams.

If you absolutely must have action on a game to enjoy it, make bets on these games with money that isn’t in your sports betting bankroll. Make the smallest wager you can, and try to forget about the bet and simply root for your favorite team.

Sports Betting As an Escape

One form of gambling that isn’t often considered emotional is betting on games as a means of escape. In some ways, everyone uses gambling as a form of escape. But this can be deadly for a sports bettor. It can be a bad situation for any gambler, but I don’t have the expertise to diagnose and treat gambling issues.

When you handicap games it’s important to be able to do it with a clear mind and no biases. You have to be able to look at each game objectively if you want to be able to find an edge. This means that you can’t use sports betting as an escape. It’s a business, so you need to start treating it like one.

Using sports betting as an escape is somewhat like the no action, no fun issue. If you absolutely have to make bets as a form of escape, the first thing you should do is seek help. But if you’re going to bet anyway, make bets as small as possible and don’t use money from your sports betting bankroll.


Every bet you make because of emotion is a bad idea. Emotion has no place in sports betting, because when you bet with emotion you’re doing exactly what the sportsbooks want you to do.

Bias is closely related to emotion and should be avoided when you’re betting on sports. Start treating your sports betting like a business and eliminate all emotion and bias from the equation.