There has been a bit of a debate on Gambling Twitter tonight that has sparked a lot of different takes. It all started when Barstool Sports’ Jeff Nadu bet on the Celtics tonight in a do-or-die Game 7 despite being a Philadelphia sports fan.
Now the bet obviously ended up being a sweat-free hit, but some people (mainly Barstool’s Steven Cheah) thought it was a weak move to bet against his team and brag about it afterward despite it meaning that his team was eliminated.
For now, forget this individual example and I will share my take on how you should handle betting against your own team. We will then come back and revisit this case at the end.
Scenario #1- The Casual Bettor Who Avoids Their Own Team
I have a lot of friends that fall under this umbrella. They are huge sports fans and passionate about their team. They also casually bet on sports in the $10-$20 a game range just to have some action once in a while. They think they will end up being too biased when it comes to betting or fading their own team. They also don’t want to be even more disappointed when their team loses or be somewhat rooting against their team if they faded them.
I think this makes sense for people that just want to bet once in a while to get a bit of action. You are already emotionally invested in the game that your team is playing so why waste the money risking cash on it too?
Scenario #2- The Casual Bettor Who Bets/Fades Their Own Team
I have some friends in this boat as well. Even if you are just a casual bettor, if you are watching almost every game your team plays then hypothetically you should be betting on their games more than anyone. Especially in sports like basketball and baseball where there are long seasons and most people can’t follow what every team is doing on a daily basis, you have a big advantage if you follow a team closely.
Huge fans of a certain team should know when their team is in form/out of form and be able to dive in deeper into things like player props. As long as you can push bias aside and just use the information you gather while following the team closely, it should help you to bet on the games your team is involved in.
Scenario #3- The Serious Bettor Who Disassociates from Being a Fan
On Gambling Twitter I know there are a lot of people like this and I respect it. I think it’s a bit of a hardo move in some ways but if you want to take betting super seriously I think it’s hard to also be a fan at times. You have to be very disciplined to look objectively at a team that you also have a huge emotional interest in.
Scenario #4- The Serious Bettor Who Bets/Fades Their Own Team
This would be the category that I would consider myself under. I live and die with all of my teams but I am also incredibly passionate about betting and a huge part of my sports watching revolves around what I bet that night.
As I wrote earlier, I choose to take my obsessive following of these teams and use it to my advantage. I have a bet on the Jets game basically every week but I have a real feel for where the team is and how they match up. Same with South Carolina football, the Mets and other teams I follow closely. I go about handicapping those games as I would any other game, just with even more info than I have on other teams.
What Are the Rules?
So the next question is, what are the rules??
I think it’s perfectly fine to put yourself in any of those four scenarios but then you do have to follow certain rules… To start, let’s just throw out the casual bettors. If you are betting pennies on every game then the only actual rule is not to pretend that your bet is as important as people betting real money. You can choose to live and die with your bets because around here we never unit shame and you should always bet within your means. However, if you bet $5 on the game and you’re with someone that bet $500 on the game, maybe relax just a bit and keep your emotions to yourself.
Now for serious bettors, people that bet a lot of money or people that are gambling “personalities” on the internet, there is a different set of rules. The main rule is that you can’t have your cake and eat it too. That is where this Jeff Nadu example will come back into play.
You can’t be the “Our Sixers” guy who goes nuts when your team wins and then after a loss say shit like this:
IT’S OKAY TO BET AGAINST YOUR TEAM! Nadu is a smart 76ers fan who knew in this situation they always fail so he bet on the other side. Be happy that you got a winner out of it but you can also be bummed that your team lost. There is this weird thing on gambling Twitter from the “I bet numbers, not teams” crowd that feels like they have to present as this super analytical bettor that knows more than the average person. That is not a necessary thing to be a successful bettor and especially to be a successful betting personality.
If in order to be a successful bettor you need to distance yourself from fandom, that is totally fair. But you can’t pick and choose when you want to be a fan and when you want to be a sharp (especially when you’re laying -260 of juice on a ML).
Luckily for me, all of my teams are terrible so I usually don’t have to worry about betting on them in big games. But if, for example, the Jets were in the Super Bowl and were 3-point underdogs and I thought they were going to lose, I would 100% bet the other side. However, if the Jets won the Super Bowl that losing bet would be the furthest afterthought millions of miles in the back of my brain.
I will never let my fandom impact my actual bets. I will use my knowledge of the team to make even more educated bets but in a huge game, I will also root for my team before my bet. Because at the end of the day, if one losing bet is financially devastating to you then you shouldn’t be betting in the first place. So OF COURSE I would trade one losing bet for my team winning a Game 7/Super Bowl etc.
I would love to hear from other people what your take on this situation is so feel free to hop in the replies on Twitter and let’s have some #HealthyDebate.