You can write a book on why betting on your favorite sports team is a bad idea. But in the interest of time, I’ve set aside 12 reasons why it’s never a good idea to bet on your favorite sports team in any situation.
Some of you may have learned this unfortunate truth the hard way while some of you are reading this article while you consider the idea.
Don’t do it. Plain and simple.
And if you need convincing, just read the article. I’m sure that by the time you’ve finished you’ll definitely see why it’s best to just flat-out avoid such risky bets.
The following 12 reasons stem from what I’ve seen over the years from fans of teams who just don’t know better.
1 – You Will Always Overrate Them
This one’s first for a reason. We always overrate our favorite NFL team regardless of how good or bad they are. Sure, if they’re good, then they’re likely to win more often. If they’re bad, you’ll see them pull off an upset or two.
That’s where the game begins. You can’t just sit there and assume your team is either better because they went 12-4 the last two seasons or even won the Super Bowl. All teams have their bad days.
Look at how the LA Chargers nearly upset the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 2 of 2020 with a rookie quarterback getting an impromptu start.
And for your bad football teams—sure, the Lions upset my Cardinals. It’s a good thing I didn’t bet on that one because I would’ve lost a lot of money, especially after I laughed at how laughably bad Detroit’s defense is and how they often embarrass themselves by coughing up double-digit leads.
Moral of the story: You’ll always overrate your team.
2 – You Think They’ll Find Ways to Win Impossible Games
Let’s talk about the Cleveland Browns and their fan base. You won’t find a more optimistic group of people anywhere.
The fan base is full of optimism before every game. And it often ends in sheer disappointment. Why? They always overrate their favorite team; they always will.
And so will fans of the other 30 NFL franchises. With that said, you’ll always feel your lowly Lions will beat the best teams in football. Sometimes, that’s the case. Other times, it isn’t.
3 – You Think Their Players Are the Best in the Game
Let’s go right back to the Browns and their base here. Every year in the area, you’d hear the same thing from Browns fans. This is the year because we have player X or Y.
It definitely happened when the team traded Jabrill Peppers for Odell Beckham. Here came the Super Bowl bets, or at least the bets that the Browns were winning the AFC North. Then came the Week 1 bets against the then-underrated Tennessee Titans.
Then came the 43-13 blowout and the pedestrian stats from Beckham.
So much for those player prop bets!
And you can bet that a lot of those fans making such bets bled orange and brown. You’ll always feel your players are a cut above the rest of the league. And therefore, you’ll think the team is the best in the league from a talent standpoint.
Don’t fall into the trap!
4 – You Think They Have the Best System in Place
We’re talking about offensive and defensive systems. Coach X is coming in and bringing his own flair to the passing game that they’ve lacked for the last three seasons. Coach X succeeded as offensive coordinator under Coach Y and now has full control of the system.
I’ve heard just about all of it.
And yeah, maybe your team does have the best system in place. However, they may also need to take a year to learn that system. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that it takes time and effort to learn an offensive and defensive system and to translate practice into success in games.
The same goes for defense, especially for teams switching their base from a 3-4 to a 4-3, and vice versa.
5 – You Think They Have Players to Fit the System
Not only do you believe your team has the best system in place, you may also be led to believe their current players, somehow, fit the system.
They might be bringing in an offense based on speed and somehow, you feel the current power back and large receivers will thrive in the system. Perhaps they might, but they probably won’t. Ditto for that pocket passer who is currently in the lineup.
It seems like that backup quarterback who’s playing for the mediocre injured starter is the answer to your team’s prayers. But two games in, he’s proven what he has always been—a backup.
Sometimes, it seems like it doesn’t matter who lines up on the first team. We feel they’re the ideal players for a specific offense or defense because of our own biases.
6 – You Think They Always Have Home-Field Advantage
Sure, in a normal season when fans fill the stadium home-field advantage will happen. But if you look at history, some teams are road warriors and lose at home more often than they do on the road.
Many of us believe our teams have the greatest fan base in football if not in sports. It may be true to an extent. We like to think that our team will feed off our energy to bring home the W, cover the spread, or score enough to cover the over/under.
But it doesn’t always happen. I remember a friend of mine betting on the Steelers because he was convinced the team never lost at Heinz Field. The Steelers play well at home, don’t get me wrong. But it turns out they lose at least two or three times at home in most seasons.
The same goes for other teams with dedicated fan bases.
7 – You Think Their Fan Base Is the Most Well-Traveled
Some fan bases are very well-traveled. When was the last time you saw the Pittsburgh Steelers play on the road? It seems like the Steelers have a fan on every block in America. Next to the Steelers, you can count on one hand how many more fan bases travel so well.
So, when the TV cameras lock in the few fans of your team at Lucas Oil Stadium amidst a sea of blue, remind yourself that the orange speck of Denver fans in Indy makes up for less than 1 percent of the stadium capacity.
And the supposedly well-traveled fan base isn’t likely to put much of a damper on the home team’s momentum.
I’d been to a few Cleveland games in the past, and it’s the same story. You see fans of other teams at the game. They’ll never turn a road game into a home game. Unless your team is playing someone about to relocate to another city and the fan base turns on them, don’t count on fans for your team showing up.
So, don’t count on them to swing momentum so you could win a bet.
8 – You Think Their Quarterback Can Come Back From Any Deficit
Once again, a few quarterbacks in the league can. Never count out Patrick Mahomes, for example, or even a Ben Roethlisberger in his prime.
But if your quarterback’s name is Sam Darnold and you love your Jets, don’t count on him pulling a Joe Namath to bring about an upset. In fact, don’t count on Darnold to come back from anything more than a two-touchdown deficit.
If your Jets are playing New England—even in a Brady-less season—and you somehow foresee Darnold bringing the Jets back from behind to pull off the upset W, refrain from betting and never become a fortune teller.
9 – You Feel the 24-Hour Optimism
Oh boy! Let’s talk about the 24 hours before kickoff. Nothing brings more optimism than the sugarplums dancing in our brains of our team winning by 3 touchdowns and earning us some green.
But also, nothing is more of a toxic snake than that 24-hour optimism before kickoff where your favorite team seems like a newborn baby. For a time, you feel like your team will accomplish anything.
Then, reality sets in, and maybe their practices aren’t translating well to the real game. The hype begins to die down and your optimism slowly fades, as your bet inches toward losing.
10 – You Think the Opponent’s Injury Report Dooms Them
When my Browns-loving relatives saw Ben on the injury report for the upcoming game against Cleveland, it was a shoo-in bet. The Browns were winning this one in what I believe was the year 2015.
Backup quarterback Landry Jones was then knocked out of the game, and the dressed Ben saw some action when no one thought he would because of his own injury. The rest is history, and Pittsburgh ended up thrashing Cleveland 30-9.
Or worse yet. You think the star player who goes down dooms the entire team, only for the backups to enter the game or for the team to come together to make up for the loss. They light up the scoreboard and it’s game over.
Bet over. Money lost.
11 – You Think Your Next Man Up Is the Next Big Thing
You might think your backup quarterback is going to take the team either to another level or will play just good enough to win the game.
This one’s for the Steeler fans who still thought betting on their team to win the AFC North was a good idea even when Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges ended up playing far more quarterback than they ever should in the NFL.
But it can go for any position. A Star player goes down, it’s the next man up. There’s a reason the next man up was riding the bench while his starter was on the field. And no, it’s rarely if ever because the starter is such a good player that the backup is on the bench. If that were the case he’d be in a different uniform.
12 – You Think You Team Is Invincible
Let’s look at the Week 3 matchup pitting Kansas City and Baltimore. I read an article that stated the Ravens since Lamar Jackson took over as quarterback are 21-1 against the NFL in the regular season and 0-3 against the Chiefs.
Clearly, the Ravens aren’t invincible and I’m sure we can all think of at least one team who our teams just don’t play well against. For example, my Cardinals just can’t beat the Lions, having tied them (after being down 24-6) in 2019 and having lost to them following a 2-0 start in 2020.
For you Steeler fans, I’m sure you remember their hardships against Brady’s Patriots back in the day.
And these are good football teams. But there’s always, always, always at least one team out there that says, “not so fast.”
There are literally dozens of reasons why it’s a bad idea to bet on your favorite team. Not only do we overrate them, but we have a plethora of reasons why it’s best to bet on teams that we know, just not on teams that we favor.
We might favor them in more ways than one and it’s just not worth the bet and potential loss to automatically assume our team will win or to find ways to justify our thinking that our team will somehow pull off the major upset.
Just look at the stats and bet on someone else!
Have you ever overrated and bet on your favorite team and if so, how did it turn out?
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...
The information found on Gamblingsites.org is for entertainment purposes only. It is a purely informational website that does not accept wagers of any kind. Although certain pages within Gamblingsites.org feature or promote other online websites where users are able to place wagers, we encourage all visitors to confirm the wagering and/or gambling regulations that are applicable in their local jurisdiction (as gambling laws may vary in different states, countries and provinces).
Gamblingsites.org uses affiliates links from some of the sportsbooks/casinos it promotes and reviews, and we may receive compensation from those particular sportsbooks/casinos in certain circumstances. Gamblingsites.org does not promote or endorse any form of wagering or gambling to users under the age of 18. If you believe you have a gambling problem, please visit BeGambleAware or GAMCARE for information and help.