Unreasonable reasoning - Non-scientific, irrational betting angles

Updated: 4495 Other

Over the years I have come across many logical and not sological reasons to back a certain outcome of a sports event and tobe honest, I never take anything lightly as you never know whereone could find wisdom. However, I

Unreasonable reasoning - Non-scientific, irrational betting angles
Darren Brett Tipster Competition Manager

Horse Racing, greyhounds and snooker specialist with thirty years experience of writing about sport across multiple platforms. A QPR and Snooker fan

Over the years I have come across many logical and not so logical reasons to back a certain outcome of a sports event. 

To be honest, I never take anything lightly as you never know where one could find wisdom. 

For example, the betting school on OLBG is packed with logical and helpful articles, including plenty on football betting.

online betting

However, I grew up a bit disgusted with certain so-called pundits, journalists, or high profile specialists in particular sports.

These "experts" often get extensive coverage due to either experience or simply popularity, but so often the things they offer as reasoning for particular bets, are nothing short of moronic.

There are countless angles to sports selections, but in my eyes (and I do not want to offend anybody who thinks those make sense) some angles are just one step too far and are simply worthless and misleading.

Since I have not posted any philosophical blog entries in a while, I will cover some of the most ridiculous reasons to back a selection I have come across. 

Feel free to disagree by leaving a comment if you have sufficient data to convince me those reasons are indeed helpful on their own. 

I call these with the collective name “non-scientific, irrational betting angles”


I must confess before moving to the UK, I have never heard anybody trying to convince a bet is worth taking not because of the team in question, but because of its position history. 

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For some reason, in many British season betting previews and publications, this is one very often mentioned argument. 

For those who might not know what I am talking about, it goes like this:

“Team A will surely face relegation trouble, because in four of the last seven years, the team that finished in X position, got relegated the following year.”

This is probably the most ridiculous non-scientific reason you might invent not to trust a team in a particular league.

Obviously. if a team was close to getting relegated the previous season there is the likelihood it will face problems again, but that statement too is not 100% accurate as you never know what kind of changes a team might go through over the summer break. 

The Foxes

Leicester City won the EPL in the 2015/16 season, the season before they finished 14th.

Those changes more or less will determine the likelihood of another struggle and not the numerology behind where the team ended a year ago. 

To suggest the final position from the previous season actually has something to do and even a lot to do with the likelihood of a team doing well or not so well, and incorporating false science by going further back into analysing how other teams who let's say finished 14th did a year later, makes absolutely no sense to me. 

The odd part is that the same argument goes for promotion chances even for teams that hardly impressed the previous season. 

I have come across much more peculiar historical data like mentioning a team that finished 11th of 24 is probably going to get promoted because three of the last six 11th placed teams went on to finish in the top 3 the following season.

Going even further, I have seen football previews, which analyse positions even beyond the following season by stating a team that finished 11th will likely get promoted in the next three years because 6 of the last 10 teams that finished eleventh got promoted within three years.

While being overly critical of presenting this as some sort of argument when placing a bet, I thought about making it a bit more scientific.

It could be very useful indeed to follow the history of a team in terms of where it finished three, four of five seasons ago, but one must always keep the team as first priority when researching. 

If Derby County finished 11th in 2012, 8th in 2013, and 6th in 2014, there is a trend this team might actually be building towards promotion.

However, to say that Derby County will get promoted because Crystal Palace and Stoke City got promoted the year after they finishing 6th is ridiculous. 


This one I have only seen in analyses of the English divisions and can't tell you how often the mentioning of low attendance ended up being just stupid after a team overachieved nine months later. 

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Obviously, betting is as much about math as it is about sport, but when you get too much economics into your reasoning, you are surely overdoing things.

For League 1 and League 2 football clubs apparently attendance means a lot as it is (I assume) big part of the club's budget and the lower the attendance, the less money this team will have to spend.

It does make sense on first hearing, but then try to understand how in League 2 a team with 2000 average attendance is in a disadvantaged position compared to a team with 2500 average attendance.

Yes, you read it right, I have seen a season preview where that kind of difference is actually presented as a big deal. 

Fans Of Clubs

The attendance will have no discernable sustained difference in your league position.

Since nobody can really tell if a team will increase or lower the average attendance from one season to another, a difference of 500 in fans to pick one team over the other to go down is plain stupid. 

This is non-scientific reasoning at its best as obviously the difference in revenue generated from ticket sales over a season won't be that significant for the team to really be so terribly handicapped in a potential relegation battle or playoff race.

On the plus side of this, it could indeed be used as some sort of last resort reason when you are in a dead end in comparing two teams and of course in the context of their overall budgets, but I would never consider small differences even in that case.

When Portsmouth got relegated to League 2 some years back, I read the following: “They should do well at this level with their experienced players and steady fan base.” -

Imagine how much better Pompey fans feel now that they are again not going up, but surely them being a steady fan base was a good reason to throw your money down the drain on promotion or league winner bets in 2013-2014 when they ended up 13th.

But hey, the team that finished 13th the previous season (Fleetwood Town) got promoted a year later, so combining that with the highest attendance in the division surely means Pompey are going up in 2015!


While most football punters rely on stats, form, historical data, etc. there are those who seem to get carried away by totally underestimating summer breaks. 

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I already mentioned this and we must surely consider them as some sort of logical start and finish of the betting season.

Again, often seen in English season previews, I have read arguments that teams who had a lot of games with over 2.5 goals over the past season will likely have a repeat of that the following.

Even more ridiculous is suggesting that form can be carried over from one season to another or just as ridiculous, from one division to another. 

The Summer break is way too important in football and the longer the break, the higher its significance.

There is nothing scientific or rational in stating a certain team will start the new season well only because they ended the previous season with three consecutive wins for example.

Different Seasons

Stoke City were relegated from the EPL in the 2017/18 season. Pundits predicted they would be well equipped to bounce back immediately. Stoke City have finished 15th and 16th in the Championship in the last two seasons!!

Unfortunately, again I have seen that way too often in the early rounds of a particular league when people just have no hard data to go by and try to convince themselves a bet is worth taking by looking at what teams did 2 or more months ago.

The clever way to start a new betting season is to simply look at the league table before round one. 

You will see a bunch of zeros as if the software was just restarted.

 In order for carrying form and stats over to have some sort of meaning, we must be very well informed of just what teams were doing during the break. 

Did they sell or buy certain players, who can have a direct effect on the previous season form/stats/developments?

How could one claim a team that won four of five to finish the previous season will start off well if that team sold their best striker for example? 

How could one claim a team that had 70% over rate will surely have a repeat of that if they sacked the offensive-minded manager?

Playing Style

If you as a club pride yourself on pass and move football but it has got you relegated and one of Sam Allardyce, Tony Pulis, or Neil Warnock are parachuted into your club to get results, you can expect a completely different style of play.

We must all look at the big picture and put things into perspective, in some sort of context. 

If you feel this is unreasonable advice, just think of Manchester United and how they transformed under David Moyes, surely winning a lot of games last season means nothing to your chances to win as many when you lose a manager. 

Another such example is with Burton who turned from one of the most productive teams in League 2, scoring over 70 goals into a much more defensive-minded side scoring less than 50 in a matter of 10 months. 

Pundits were advised to expect a lot of overs in their games that year, now weren't they?



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