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How NHL bettors can use a little psychology to cash in

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Novice sports bettors can get a leg up on their peers by studying the three core areas of gambling — science, philosophy and psychology. Ironically, though, it’s a hypothetical cognitive bias called the Dunning-Kruger effect that will keep most from doing so.

A cognitive bias is a term that refers to the systematic ways in which context and framing of information influence our decision-making. With the Dunning-Kruger effect, people with limited knowledge or competence in a particular domain greatly overestimate their own knowledge or competence in that domain. Alternatively, those who have extensive knowledge and competence in a domain might underestimate their skill because they are cognizant of the fact that the human brain is subject to limitations.

One of those limitations is the tendency to judge a decision based on its outcome rather than on what factors led to it. This is referred to as outcome bias and it might be affecting how those who are growing tired of handicapping the same matchups day in and day out are making decisions.

Take the Calgary Flames, for example. After two strong performances as underdogs on the road against the Toronto Maple Leafs that resulted in a regulation win and an overtime loss, the team traveled to Ottawa to take on the lowly Senators. The Senators took the fight to the Flames (-155) and skated to a 6-1 victory as +135 underdogs. Some sports bettors would say it was a classic letdown spot, or that the Senators had the element of surprise due to the fact that it was the first meeting between the two teams this season. However, fatigue also was a factor. The Flames were playing their sixth game in nine days and backup goaltender David Rittich had played in all of them. He mercifully was pulled after the Senators scored their fourth goal and was given the second half of the game off.

Two days later, the Flames and Rittich returned to the rink looking for their revenge and this time looked worthy of their steep (-145) price tag and picked up a 6-3 win. Note the discounted price compared to that of the first game. This is an indication that too much was made out of the result of the first game. Bettors who opted to bet the Senators at +125 probably felt as if they had not received fair value in hindsight given that the Senators opened up as +150 underdogs in the first meeting before closing at +135.

We’ll see these two teams match up against each other seven more times in the next two months, and bettors should expect a wide range of outcomes that should tilt toward the favorite. Of course, that doesn’t mean the favorite will always win. Sometimes, an underdog will win decisively. Seasoned hockey bettors are rarely, if ever, surprised by results.

The takeaway: Don’t be scared off by a bad performance or a bad result, and don’t get so high on your skills after an easy win that you don’t consider making adjustments. Learn to frame outcomes as a range of possibilities, some more likely to happen than others; like a deck of cards. Bettors should focus on what they can control and judge themselves based on how they perform in those areas. Any bookmaker will tell you that consistently beating the closing line is the leading indicator as to whether a bettor is sharp or square, not their wins and losses.

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Bulls’ Zach LaVine called cops on ‘obsessed’ fan at his home

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Zach LaVine had an unwanted visitor.

The Chicago Bulls star had to call the police after an “allegedly obsessed” woman showed up to his Chicago home and refused to leave on Thursday night, according to TMZ. 

The woman reportedly traveled from out of state, demanding to speak with the first-time All-Star, who was home at the time.

Police took her a local hospital for mental evaluation, and she has not been formally arrested or charged with a crime.

LaVine, 25, wrapped up first-half action with the Bulls on Wednesday and was drafted to Kevin Durant’s All-Star side for Sunday’s festivities in Atlanta.

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Blake Griffin a free agent after Pistons buyout

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Blake Griffin will be free to sign with the Nets or another interested NBA team after agreeing to a contract buyout with the Detroit Pistons.

The six-time All-Star forward “has interest from most of the NBA’s top playoff contenders and is expected to make a decision on his next team after conversations with prospective teams,” ESPN reported.

The Nets, Lakers, Heat, Warriors and Clippers – his former team — are among those that have expressed interest, according to the New York Times. ESPN.com added that the Blazers are interested

The 31-year-old Griffin hasn’t played since Feb. 12 while the Pistons attempted to trade him before the March 25 deadline, but they found no takers due to the remainder of his $36.6 million salary for this season and the $39 million he’s owed for 2021-22.

Blake Griffin was released by the Pistons on March 5, 2021
Blake Griffin was released by the Pistons on March 5, 2021
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Griffin is averaging a career-low 12.3 points and 5.2 rebounds in 20 games this season. He was dealt by the Clippers to Detroit in 2018, during the first season of a five-year extension worth $171 million.



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Broncos send a pretty strong warning to Drew Lock

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Drew Lock is no lock to remain the Denver Broncos’ starting quarterback in 2021.

General manager George Paton and coach Vic Fangio both said Thursday that the team expects to bring in competition for Lock, possibly with the ninth pick in the NFL Draft.

“Obviously we’re always looking to bring in players at all positions that can raise the level of competition, and the quarterback is no different in that regard,” Fangio said, according to the team’s website.

“Until we get or until Drew proves to be the next great quarterback, like the ones that the Denver franchise has been used to in years past or certain teams around the league … are used to, we’re going to always try and bring in competition. But I have confidence that Drew can continue to improve.”

Lock made 13 starts in 2020 and tied with Carson Wentz for the league lead with 15 interceptions. He finished 32nd in the league among qualifying quarterbacks with a 75.4 passer rating, ahead of only Dwayne Haskins, Wentz and Sam Darnold.

Drew Lock faces the Patriots on October 18, 2020.
Drew Lock faces the Patriots on October 18, 2020.
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“Very talented, was inconsistent at times, has a lot to work on,” Paton said Thursday. “But I’ve spoken with Drew, I see him every day. He’s here early. He’s working. He really wants to be great. And we’re always going to try to bring in competition at every position, and quarterback as well. But I like the track that Drew’s on.”

Lock, the Broncos’ second-round pick in 2019 out of Missouri, had started five games as a rookie, winning four of them. Denver went 4-9 with him as the starter last season.

“I’m confident that Drew’s going to continue to improve,” Fangio said. “Drew’s had a great offseason up to this point. There’s not a lot you can do, but he’s working hard on his own, coming over here and getting workouts, and I know he’s doing a lot at home by himself, watching video by himself. He’s got a good setup over there. And he’s doing anything and everything he can to improve, even in February and now in March.”

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