Sports Betting - Psychology is a Valuable Commodity

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:

I was just watching one of those "A Football Life" shows produced by NFL Network. And the subject was Jimmie Johnson, who won a national collegiate championship at Miami and then two Super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys.

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Johnson explained that when he attended college at Arkansas, he took a degree in psychology, and that he had initially expected to become an industrial psychologist upon graduation. There are intermittent scenes where he's on his fishing boat with Bill Belichick and the two of them agree that far more important than pure X's and O's for a coach is the way they use psychology to motivate people in the organization. 

Here is the point as it applies to our discussion - you may have a lot of ability as a handicapper, with all of the data in the world at your disposal. But what may ultimately loom larger for you is your psychological mindset, because it affects you in so many ways. 

For one thing, it will have an effect on your level of self-discipline. Discipline is the biggest difference between sharps and squares. Remember that there are so many items that are available in an online sportsbook that your eyes can become bigger than your head.

The temptation is there to bet all kinds of props and exotics and futures. A lot of things can look very appetizing. if your psychology is such that it's hard to resist. 

This can also impact your ability to manage money when making your NFL picks. Optimally, you will have pre-determined what your maximum wager is going to be. If you let your "head" get the better of you, it's going to be very difficult to keep that under control. This alone could ruin you. 

And if it doesn't, maybe your ego could. You might have the kind of makeup where you believe you are much better than you really are, and that will make you do some things that might be considered foolhardy. Again, this takes you into places where you are in over your head. 

Finally, we come to what might be the most important part of the discussion, which involves psychology and your ability to rebound from a rough week or a rough experience. 

Call it whatever you want - resilience, wherewithal, mental toughness - all sports bettors come across those instances where they have to pick themselves off the floor and not let the "crash and burn" affect them.


It's not easy to do, because you come out of such a week with a lot of anger and frustration and second-guessing. There's also a lot of self-doubt. Confidence takes a hit. 

Johnson, Belichick and others from their profession could probably speak to this with much authority, because the way one has to approach this is the same way a football coach might. When you have taken it on the chin, you have to have the ability to shake off the loss and put it behind you, aside from those fundamental lessons you may have learned from it. And like a coach, your best move is to get started on the next week's schedule. 

So while you might otherwise be complaining about how much "bad luck" you had the week before, keep in mind that in the long run, preparedness has a way of creating its own luck. 

Maybe this is easier said than done, but indeed, it has to be done. 

So the question is, can you do it? 

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