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Can You Win in Betting By Applying The ‘Wisdom Of The Crowd’ Principle?

Can You Win in Betting By Applying The ‘Wisdom Of The Crowd’ Principle?
Samu Lampiranta
By Samu Lampiranta
Sports & Casino Expert
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Updated May 15, 2023
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Read time 4 min
Can You Win in Betting By Applying The ‘Wisdom Of The Crowd’ Principle?

Wisdom of the crowd is a decision-making process known from ancient times, but still relevant today. You can use it to your advantage in betting. But before you start staking your hard-earned money simply based on other people’s opinions, you should get familiar with the basics of this concept. 

What Is Wisdom of the Crowd? 

Wisdom of the crowd is not exactly a new phenomenon. Although, the internet age has brought it to the spotlight thanks to services like Quora and Reddit. To sum it up, wisdom of the crowd refers a collective opinion of a large group of people, instead of individual experts. 

An example could be asking a hundred people for their prediction of who will win the next World Cup. Then using this info to make your bet, instead of relying on the opinion of one football expert. 

Aristotle was the first known man to write about the wisdom of the crowd in his book Politics. He stated that men who are not good as individuals might become better when they group up to make a decision. Another good example may be a dinner setting, where many contributors can create a more impressive feast than just one man could. 

It has been proven that often crowd estimates are superior to those of a single member of a group. This is especially true when calculating quantities. When thinking about the crowd’s opinion in a betting context, it’s a question of who’s going to win.  

Are Betting Odds Determined by the Wisdom Of The Crowd? 

You might be wondering “are betting odds  determined by the wisdom of the crowd?” However, the answer is not that simple. There are several factors affecting the odds of any given bookmaker, and the crowd’s behavior is one of those things. 

Now, a fair word of warning: you should be careful not to put too much weight on the wisdom of the crowd in terms of forming the odds. Every betting site will adjust the odds accordingly when enough people bet on a specific outcome. But that does not necessarily mean that the likelihood of a certain participant winning is affected. 

Let’s take an example. Say there’s a basketball match tonight between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Houston Rockets. Lakers are the favorite to win the match. However, in the afternoon rumors start to spread on social media that the team’s number one star, LeBron James, is injured and might not play. 

More people start betting on the Rockets to win, and the bookies lower the odds accordingly. But the odds don’t change, as the rumor has not been confirmed. 

The bookies will change the odds, as they are constantly trying to make a profit, regardless of the outcome. This is also one example of how the wisdom of the crowds turns into the foolishness of a herd. 

Wisdom of the Crowd – Football Betting Examples 

There are some famous examples where the wisdom of the crowd in football betting has resulted in a not-so-impressive outcome. One such example involves the case of Harry Redknapp. In 2012, Fabio Cappello resigned from the English national team. 

Quickly after the resignation, media reports started to pop up predicting Harry Redknapp as the next England coach. Punters got all excited, and many bet on Redknapp to be the next one to take the job. However, this wasn’t based on any tactical thinking. It was just gamblers taking the general opinion and running with it.  

But in the end, it was Roy Hodgson who got the job.  

Another example of the wisdom of crowd football betting is the 2018 World Cup. Many predicted Germany as top contenders for the title, having lifted the trophy four years earlier in Brazil. 

However, what the crowd failed to take into account was that some key players weren’t in the team. In addition to that, Germany had a fairly difficult group, with Sweden, South Korea, and Mexico to beat. 

Swarms of punters trusted the crowd’s opinion. They bet on Germany to win the title or get through to the next round, only to see Die Mannschaft exit the tournament after three matches. 

When To Trust the Wisdom Of The Crowd 

There is certainly some truth to trusting the opinion of the masses. However, as these examples show, nothing can be 100% guaranteed. When it comes to betting, the tricky part is knowing when to trust the wisdom of the crowd and when to rely on individual experts , as well as your own gut.

Before you stake real money based on the collective opinion, make sure that unsubstantiated rumors don’t affect the wager. There can be wisdom in the crowds, but be careful, as the situation can also prove the exact opposite.

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Samu Lampiranta
Samu Lampiranta
Sports & Casino Expert

Samu-Ville Lampiranta knows the ins and outs of online gambling having worked in the industry since 2013 in various roles from customer support agent to content writer and manager. He knows how to look at casinos and sports betting sites from both sides of the fence, and uses his experience to give his articles a unique view from the inside.