Is Following Hunches a Good or Bad Idea?

Making money from sports betting is not easy. You don't need to win every bet you place to turn a profit, but you do need to win a decent percentage. To maintain a profitable win rate you ideally need a few things in your locker. Extensive sports knowledge, the ability to analyze and interpret data and statistics, and the discipline to follow a staking plan are just a few examples.

You also need to be dedicated, and be prepared to put in a lot of time and effort. The majority of sports bettors don't spend the necessary time researching and planning their bets though, and instead tend to simply follow their hunches.

Trusting your instinct can sometimes be a good thing. Most bettors will have done this at some point, and will probably have had some winning bets as a result. However, this doesn't necessarily mean it's a sound long term strategy.

In this article we take a look at whether following hunches is a good or bad idea when it comes to sports betting.

Instinct Can Be a Powerful Tool

There is little doubt that your instinct will sometimes steer you in the right direction when you are deciding what to bet on. Anyone that has bet on sports for any length of time will almost certainly be able to point to a few occasions when they have won money through following a hunch. Even the best sports bettors in the world will sometimes ignore what their analysis is suggesting, and choose to follow a hunch instead.

Obviously this is not a scientific approach to betting, but that doesn't mean it can't work. It may well be possible to have a natural talent for predicting what is going to happen in sports events. Successful bettors are generally quite secretive about exactly how they go about choosing their selections, and it is by no means inconceivable that there are some successful bettors out there who make money primarily through following their hunches.

This is why we would never state categorically that simply following your hunches is a bad idea. It is important, however, that you recognize there are some potential pitfalls in making betting decisions based solely on what your instinct is telling you.

The Problem with Hunches

We already mentioned that you don't need to win every bet you place to be a profitable sports bettor. This is just as well if you are planning on following your hunches, as the chances that your instinct will always be right are almost certainly zero.

The problem with following hunches is that it is common to remember the times when your instinct was right more clearly than when it was wrong. If you place a bet based purely on some inner voice telling you that you should, and then win that bet, you will probably remember it for a long time. You will also probably remember any times that you chose not to trust your instinct, only to find out that you should have done it. Missing out on a win because you went against your gut is definitely something that sticks in the mind for most bettors.

This means that bettors often place far too much faith in their instinct. When you combine this with the fact that many bettors, quite understandably, want to believe that they have some natural ability, it's easy to see why so many people will blindly follow their hunches even if they're not actually making an overall profit. They'll point to the times they won money, ignore the times that they lost, and keep on doing the same thing with the vague hope it will eventually work out for them.

Our View

Sports betting is not an exact science by any means. With that being said, it is widely accepted that there are certain things that you have to do if you want to be a profitable bettor. You should use a combination of hard data, analysis, and sports knowledge to make rational and well thought out decisions, and be aware of all the different factors that can affect the possible outcome of sports events.

Logic therefore dictates that your instinct should play little to no part in your decision making process. It could easily be argued that following a hunch is the complete opposite of a rational and well thought out decision, and as such something that should be avoided. However, as counterintuitive as it seems, we do not believe it is unreasonable to consider what your instinct is telling you.

Ultimately, there is no right or wrong way to bet on sports. There is no "perfect" approach, and no strategy or system that can guarantee you success. This is something we try to make very clear with all the advice that we offer. We are confident that the advice we offer on this site can help anyone become a successful sports bettor, but it's important to recognize that this advice is more about establishing general guidelines than providing precise instructions about what you should and shouldn't do.

When it comes to following hunches, our advice is actually quite simple. Your instinct is something that you should neither ignore nor place complete faith in. Rather, it is one of many things that you should take into account. We wouldn't say it's a good idea to regularly follow your hunches without also being able to make a solid justification for a bet, but there is nothing wrong with listening to your instinct and factoring that in to your decision making process.