In what I hope will become a regular feature of this website, I answer a reader question, asked by Sarah.

If you would like my thoughts on any question you may have please feel free to send me an email to phil AT


Most of the time I have a bet it’s on the team that I barrack for. Is this ok?

- Sarah W.

There are a two ways to answer this.

Firstly if you just have the occasional bets, and don’t really care if you are making or losing money over the long term; then I have no problem what so ever with backing your own to team. After all it can be a lot of fun and add that extra bit of excitement, especially if your team triumphs!

On the other hand, if you are a more serious bettor, the concern becomes that your judgement may be clouded, in that your heart starts to over rules your head. Further I have known some people that work in reverse, in that they always bet against their own side.
If this is you, whereby you have trouble removing your emotions from your betting decision, then NO - you should avoid betting on matches involving your own team!

However, if you can put your emotions to one side, you may have a tremendous advantage.

Most passionate fans know their own team inside and out; more so than most casual observers. Thus you should have a better understanding of how your team will perform in any particular week, and your strengths and weaknesses. This can be a great edge in betting.

I regularly bet in matches featuring my favourite AFL team, Essendon. This includes betting on both sides of the ledger - sometimes to win and sometimes to lose. But I don’t bet on every single game they play in, mainly when all the little and subtle things about the team give me the feeling that they may go particularly well or poorly.  It seems to work for more often than not - then again having worked in the industry for a while I have had to develop the ability to completely divorce myself from my own bias.

It all comes down to one key question which you have to ask yourself: Can you separate your emotions from your betting decision?

If yes, go for it! If not then stay away!