Hundreds of millions of people worldwide enjoy watching sports, and a considerable portion of them like to add a bit extra to their viewing enjoyment by placing a wager or two on the outcome, and betting on basketball and the NBA is no different.
With so many components to consider before you bet on NBA games, it’s clear why many basketball matches are such challenging markets to navigate. Even if you believe you have a good eye for the sport and can spot value in the gambling markets, other components in play can change the trajectory of the real outcome.
You’ll often see people in casinos or casino gaming having their superstitions, too. Hence, it’s something that encompasses the broad scope of the gambling world, and players who prefer to play roulette, blackjack, or poker at an online casino have the same types of gambling superstitions.
Some gamblers will avoid specific roulette numbers for entirely superstitious reasons; conversely, some players will have a selection of only a few numbers they choose. It could be the birthday of somebody close to them, their lucky number, a house number, or dozens of other unique identifiers they hold close to their heart for personal reasons.
Millions of players already have certain rituals or cognitive biases that heavily influence decision-making before the bet takes place. Superstitions are a big thing in basketball, from the top, elite operators who have their game day rituals, right down to the fans at the lower end of the scale that will refuse to bet on specific teams or certain games for superstitious reasons.
What Is Cognitive Bias?
Cognitive bias can result in clouded decision-making when our minds and brain break down specific information to digest it more straightforwardly and subconsciously skips over certain aspects. For example, in basketball, let’s say you’re looking to place a bet on an NBA team to win a playoff game, or a player to win MVP because they’re from your local area, or you enjoy how they come off the court and are entertaining, these are all factors that drive gambling markets but do not impact the outcome of a game.
Cognitive bias shows that although these two variables can help endear fans and develop a fanbase, they will provide no advantages during the event, especially in a team sport like basketball, where multiple variables determine the game’s outcome. However, our brain can latch onto the fact that we can relate closer to these individuals because of geography, but the event’s outcome plays out as the sportsbooks expect it to, and they lose.
You often see this with older boxers, an excellent example of people who attach themselves to the older idea of their skills and hope they can pull it out of the bag one last time. However, suppose you remove cognitive bias and often look at these fights subjectively. In that case, it’s clear that the favorite is clear for a reason, and the fight usually develops as the sportsbooks envisage. A great example of cognitive bias would be the money pouring into Mike Tyson when he fought Lennox Lewis, despite clearly being past his best and Lewis being in the prime of his career.
Superstitions work differently and are often unique to the individual, such as the roulette numbers we reviewed earlier. However, there are countless superstitions that players will use to try and give them some sort of mystical advantage. For some, wearing a particular shirt might be a superstition or betting on the outcome of a football game based on a previous result between the two teams decades earlier.
In casino betting, some people might rub chips together or pick a specific seat at the table, or if they use digital casinos and a website has several live dealer options, they will only select one table. In basketball, you may refuse to bet on the Lakers because they let down your bet years ago. Or perhaps you have stopped placing bets on teams playing the Golden State Warriors because your selection never comes in?
Regardless of any superstition, there will always be anomalies. Even the Denver Nuggets ending their 75-year Championship drought this year looked highly unlikely at the beginning of the campaign. Few people would have bet on this outcome at the start of the season.
There are so many examples of superstitions, and although some people believe they might help, the fact remains that there’s nothing you can do that gives you a statistical advantage when placing your bet. This is especially true if you’re gambling on high-level elite sports with so many other components in play, and the NBA falls right into that category.
Ultimately, even though placing a wager can enhance your enjoyment of NBA basketball games, you must always be aware that it is a source of entertainment, and gambling should never be considered a way to make money. Cognitive bias exists in all of us to varying degrees. With millions of us drawing on lucky superstitions, often to no avail, they’ll always be a part of the gambling mentality, but they’ll remain ineffective.