A series of studies from the Korea University Business School have revealed findings that may make some bettors want to re-think how they handicap.
The research shows the devil can be in the details when trying to pick winners in MLB and soccer and bettors tend to be more successful when taking a "big picture" approach.
Researchers examined one billion bets placed between 2008-2010 through Korea's largest sports-betting company, Sports ToTo. Researchers split each of the three studies into two groups: Half were asked to pick the outright winner and the other half were asked to pick a specific score.
"The pattern of performance across the three studies was remarkably consistent," says an article from Scientific American. "Participants who made general win/lose predictions were reliably better at projecting the winners of the sporting events than those who made specific score predictions."
The article went on to say:
"Even experts were reliably better in predicting winners when making general bets than when making specific bets. It seems that even in cases where greater knowledge may offer an advantage, the act of focusing on that knowledge can disrupt decision making."
Those making the general bets relied on global assessments like overall impressions of the team, performance in past seasons, etc. The more specific group dug more deeply into the statistics.
In a nutshell the data from this huge study says you should use your gut instincts when placing a wager.