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Logical Fallacies in Sports Betting Keep Sportsbooks in the Black
Jun 26th, 2022

I am the showpiece for what your teachers told about never knowing when you will implement the wisdom taught inside school walls. Yes, I’m among students who recklessly deemed certain subjects will be forever inoperable independent of the classroom.

My amazement at how few bettors know the difference between inductive and deductive reasoning, not limited to but embodied by this idiotic falsehood.

I’m in the majority of individuals assured I’d never employ Algebra beyond a school exam. Now I exercise the knowledge every day in SQL language harnessing proven and skeptically sound computer systems. 

Little did I know how a philosophy course I took in college would be priceless in sports handicapping. We covered logical fallacies in depth, learning the pitfalls, how to spot and sidestep them. “I saw the Jets play last week against New England” and based on that anecdotal evidence, I decided they looked so bad I’m betting against them (or they looked so imposing, I will bet on them).

These Jackdaws in a peacock’s feathers are a dime-a-dozen on YouTube handicapping shows. It’s almost as if these young and dapper “handicappers” are paid to reinforce handicapping urban legends to please the sportsbook(s) that sponsors and often produce the videos. Hey wait just a….

Likely the most widespread robotic gaffe is along the lines of, “I watched them last week and they were dominated on both sides of the ball. Now they are playing a team that is better than them. I can’t see how they can stop them” Tenderfoot pretty face ignores they are spewing a classic anecdotal fallacy. The sample size is too small, and teams adjust, plus the NFL is about regression towards the mean.

When a team is off a loss by at least 20 points, getting 3.5 or more (playing a superior opponent), they are a decent 373-305-12 ATS for 55 percent winners if their opponent is not also off a 20-point or more loss. This is hardly my best angle but embodies the flaws of simply fading teams that looked horrible when you bet them the preceding week.

A general NFL betting guideline proven odds sharks told me years ago that I should heed is to make a line before each team plays the previous week, adjust for injuries, but do not overplay to the previous week’s results.

Bookies have only assisted by posting look-ahead lines. If one moves more than 1.5 points on a low spread, two or so on a large spread, and personnel moves are not the reason, put a checkmark to fade the line move.

Why? Especially, but not limited to the NFL, John Q. Public overreacts to what he last witnessed, not only demonstrating anecdotal but also recency bias. As a pro gambler, I can verify so much of what is taught in the classroom is applied to sports handicapping. You can bet on it.

Joe Duffy has been featured as a betting expert on media all over the world for good reason. His picks have been winning publicly since 1988 on the scorephones.


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Joe Duffy is founder of featuring the world’s top sports service selections.
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