About Winning Streaks in Betting
Whether you’re having a good time with your friends making predictions about the winner of the next match, placing bets on weekend matches or are indulging in some fantasy football, we’ll go over some patterns and information that should give you a potential advantage or insight, in order to help you book handsome financial or personal rewards. We’ll go over some psychological and statistical perspectives on winning streaks and the importance of psychological momentum. More importantly, we’ll understand whether it there actually any weightage in terms – losing streak and winning streak? And if yes, is there some way you can predict them correctly?
Leonard Mlodinow, a teacher at Caltech who teaches randomness to students, published an article titled, ‘The triumph of the random,’ in which he detailed why a baseball player called Joe DiMaggio enjoyed a record 56 game hitting streak, and why this streak may actually have been more about luck than about display of skill.
Leonard talks about psychological disadvantage human beings suffer from whenever they try predicting outcomes, especially when they don’t have any true pattern available to them. He does this by sharing an example of a number of red and green flashes (which alternate randomly) presented to a person. He ensures that the red flash occurs 2 times more than the green flash. Thereafter, the question - How to predict the next flash? - is posed to the individual.
Leonard provides couple of answers to that question:
– A non-human being is most likely to guess the next flash card to be red, while
– A human being is more likely to notice a false pattern
This aspect of human psychology is revolutionary in nature as we are used to noticing patterns and interpreting them in our own way for our survival needs. For instance, when we see a garden hose move all of a sudden, even briefly, we may get frightened thinking of it to be a snake instead. Although this may prove to be beneficial for our well-being and safety, it can lead us astray whenever we’re trying to guess the future outcomes.
Mlodinow also adds a very interesting perspective of looking at randomness. He says that if we draw a graph of all the occurrences of a particular event – let’s say a series of draws, losses or wins, being aware of the randomness at the back of our mind, we may think that the graph will most likely have a scattered appearance, devoid of any real sense of consistency or stability.
However, if you look at 100 coin tosses for instance, there’s a high 75% chance that you will witness a streak of 6 or more consecutive tails or heads. Furthermore, there’ll be a 10% chance of witnessing a 10 or more streak of the same side turning up consecutively.
Despite being aware of the statistics, Mlodinow is careful in not dismissing the importance of talent when talking about Di Maggio’s run! For instance, he factors the lifetime batting average of Di Maggio, which is 0.325, thus giving the player’s side of the coin toss a healthy weightage of 75%. Furthermore, he lays stress on the human tendency of wanting control of the situation, and strongly associating it with triumphing over the odds and the progress related to them.
He further proved this with the help of a coin flipping experiment among a few Yale students who were aware of the randomness of that action. But upon posing the question that if practice or distraction could possibly have an impact on the outcome, a handful of them responded saying that it indeed might. This seriously puts Ivy League education to question!!
Leonard’s concluding example contributes to the subtleties involved in season-t- season team/player performances. He used a computer analysis and made a random compilation of seasons starting from 1871 till 2005, from the actual player statistics of every year. Thereafter, he repeated this process 10,000 times, and discovered that 42% of simulated alternate histories either exceeded or matched Di Maggio’s streak. The longest one was 109 games.
About psychological momentum
If we look at studies that delve into the psychological momentum concept, they too have been majorly inconsistent and most of them evolve from the perception of people watching the action. You can see an attempt to employ the physics definition of the term momentum of velocity and its multiplication with mass, wherein the velocity is perceived as ‘big play,’ while mass is ‘emotional investment‘ and ‘game importance’. This model is supported even when you show short clips from a game to a wide section of fans, despite the fact that the end result doesn’t always follow the suit.
Furthermore, there may be limitations to such studies when talking about the big impact moments, as against a collection of small impact moments, and the ambiguity associated with the flow/zone and psychological momentum terms.
Regardless of all the facts and studies detailed above, it’s apparent that it’s quite complex to predict and understand the concept of momentum from one game to the other. However, it’s something that must be definitely kept in mind as it has maximum influence on chance. If there is anything that randomness can teach us, it’s to be slightly weary when it comes to certainty, when you’re comparing two different patterns, for instance, WWLL or WLWW, and in attribution of false meanings to which one may indeed emerge victorious.