When Frankie Valli sang about a new lady in his life appearing too good to be true, what did he actually mean?
The questionable polo neck aside, Frankie’s lyric suggests to me a rather deep-seated pessimism. Call it ‘learned caution’ if you wish to sound wiser – but I wish to argue here that it can be shown to be quite irrational.
Just because a claim appears to be ‘good’ doesn’t make it any more true or false than one that on the face of it would appear to be ‘bad’. It simply seems good – that’s all we can say – until we come to a decision about its validity or otherwise based on systematic analysis of the thing claimed (for instance by objective testing of the performance of the product or solution being assessed).
Okay, what does Frankie Valli’s love life have to do with betting?
His oft-repeated sentiment strikes me as a relevant topic when discussing the sale or purchase of betting systems….
After all, a betting system is not purchased for its functional utility in the way that, say, an item of furniture is, but is obtained solely for its ability to increase our net worth.
We don’t expect to obtain a specific return on our investment when we buy a new sofa; we expect merely to be able to sit on it, whilst we enjoy a programme on TV.
But when we purchase a betting system, we must inevitably make, in our minds, some sort of connection between the price we are prepared to pay for the system up front, and the financial return we eventually expect to receive when we use it.
Which in turn begs the question, what is an adequate return for a given outlay?
For instance, if you were offered a system for £5 that could fairly quickly turn £20 cash into £40, why wouldn’t you buy it?
Even if you were never to use that system again, provided you had doubled your £20, and spent only a fiver in doing so, it would still have been a thoroughly rational purchase. Indeed, what investor wouldn’t choose to do such a thing over and over again if it were possible?
And yet I would be surprised if many people reading this article, seeing an opportunity to turn £20 into £40 for a £5 outlay, would actually follow up on it.
Moreover, proven betting systems claiming to deliver often far higher percentage returns than this for a modest outlay are repeatedly passed over by punters.
Is it because they simply seem, like Frankie’s girl, too good to be true?
The more they claim, the less we believe them?
A system like Total Football Trading for instance, or Mike’s Bonus Bagging, claims to deliver profits far in excess of their sticker price. So, speaking purely rationally, I can see no reason why a sports investor would not decide to buy them….
….But I can hear you thinking already – yes, but I don’t know for certain that the systems will work!
Which is true up to a point – but both of the two systems I’ve mentioned have been extensively tested in the public domain, including by me on this website. They also come with cast-iron refund policies backed by a huge corporation in Clickbank.com, such that if, in the end, you’re not happy with the returns you make, you can get your money back anyway (provided of course you request your refund within a specified period of time).
Now you may still object that you might lose money betting with a poor system before you get round to requesting your refund, but this is a pretty weak argument, as of course anyone can start off paper trading.
So why exactly don’t we take action?
Why this human propensity towards inaction, when solutions lie at our feet?
I propose that the answer to my conundrum is a combination of various cognitive biases that lead us to decide that something is probably just ‘too good to be true’, and we’re therefore better off letting things be.
I believe that these biases include, but are not necessarily limited to the following:
- Belief bias – a curious phenomenon where the way somebody evaluates a given thesis is biased by the credibility of its conclusion. Thus the more outlandish the claims, the more we reason they must be false – but without any logical basis. In short, we make some vague value judgement that it jus’ kinda sorta sounds unbelievable.
- Anchoring – a tendency to rely too much on unrelated past events when making assessments (‘System X looked really good, and that didn’t work, so System Y is most likely rubbish too’). This is a suspiciously emotional response with no basis in rational thought.
- Availability cascade – something Wikipedia calls a ‘self-reinforcing process in which a collective belief gains more and more plausibility through its increasing repetition in public discourse‘. In other words, if enough people say the same thing enough times for long enough, it will be deemed to be true. For it is a brave man who questions any culture’s sacred cows. I would argue that the “too good to be true” mantra falls into this category of our culture’s broadly accepted so-called wisdom.
In contrast, the approach adopted by this website is to evaluate systems not based on the credibility of their author’s (or anyone else’s) claims, but solely on objective testing, and the feedback from other credible reviewers. If there is a robust refund policy available, this should reassure us too, as it allows us more time to carry out final tests at home.
I do accept that too much of the sales literature issued by the betting systems industry is quite ridiculous, and treats its readers like cattle. But this fact should only encourage us to be more rational and professional in our product assessments – instead of succumbing, as I fear many do, to lazy, and rather cynical, value judgements like the one made by the polo-necked Mr. Valli.
And as a result, many miss out on the great opportunities that the sports markets offer, at a time when most other financial markets look relentlessly bleak.