We all know that home fans are highly biased when it comes to their favorite squad, but they also feel its rhythms much better than outsiders ever could.
For many football fans, betting is the integral part of the season that adds an extra kick to every game. When you think about it, it does makes sense for those who obsess about every player and every goal to cash in on their knowledge provided they can do it safely and avoid risky bets. Bettors typically have their own personal rules just for this purpose, but there is some disagreement regarding whether you should ever place a wager on games involving the team you wholeheartedly root for.
The argument against it is easy to understand. Betting should be done rationally, which is a hard thing to do if your heart is firmly supporting one side. That can lead to unrealistic estimations of the actual chances, resulting in a disappointment more often than would be the case with an unrelated team. Such logic applies to situations when the team is favored to win, and it counts double when that team is a heavy underdog and the high odds provide an additional incentive to take risk. It is only natural for the local fans to believe in a miracle, but they should never throw their money away because of it.
Interestingly enough, there are just as many reasons to side with the other camp that claims that bets on the local team can actually be a smart move under the right circumstances. Diehard fans tend to know a lot more about the ebbs and flows of the season and they might be able to sense a change of fortunes faster than the official table. Since all English football betting markets follow exact formulas to calculate odds, insiders could have an upper hand based on subtle details noticed during practices and games that might have slipped the attention of pundits. That way, fans could gain an advantage over an average bettor and systematically exploit that leverage to stay on the positive side of the books throughout the season.
It is even trickier to place a wager against your own squad, regardless of the odds. Dividing your loyalties in such a way creates an unbearable conflict, possibly ruining the game experience in a big way. Some fans believe it to be bad luck (or bad manners) to go against the family, and will never consider picking an opponent to triumph over their beloved team. In case the team wins, those who doubted it will look ridiculous in the eyes of their friends, and they won’t be able to enjoy victory without feeling bad about the lost bet. Even if we forget about ethical considerations, the same factors could be clouding the judgment as with wagers on your team, and many experienced bettors would advise extreme caution.
Of course, rational analysis goes out of the window when the game approaches and many Arsenal fans will put a few pounds on their boys to win every single week. For them, betting is simply a part of the ritual that puts a spice on the main dish, and any possible financial gains are immediately spent to pay for drinks for friends after the game. The sums wagered are usually not very large, so it can all be seen as an extension of game-related entertainment rather than a calculated move motivated by a chance to earn money quickly. The wager is a symbolic expression of faith in the home team, a way of ‘putting your money where your mouth is’.
If you are looking for another match to add to your ticket and increase your chances of winning big, a game involving your favorite team is probably not the best choice. However, if your goal is just to turn up the fun factor, then betting on the team you love could be an option. Just keep in mind that it’s impossible to be completely impartial when you are thinking about the football team you identify with, and take this bias into account. If you are careful, strategic, and a little lucky, you could end up with the best of both worlds and pick up some cash to fund your post-game celebration.