What Sports Bettors Need to Know About the Hot Hand Fallacy


If you’re someone who watches sports a lot, you might have heard commentators referring to a player as being “on fire,” or being on a “hot streak,” or having a “hot hand” when they’re playing on the top of their form.

Where does this idea of a player having a hot hand come from? It comes from the cognitive bias known as the “hot hand fallacy”. But how is it related to sports betting?

Hot Hand Fallacy

The hot hand fallacy is an irrational belief people have where they think that anyone who has previously succeeded in their pursuit of something or has successfully completed a task has a greater chance to succeed again. The person being able to do this because they have a “hot hand” is obviously incorrect and, therefore, a fallacy. It’s very much similar to the gambler’s fallacy, and most people believe the former is a direct result of the latter.

How Does it Relate to Sports?

In sports, too, just like gambling, there’s the incorrect belief that a player who has been performing better than usual will continue to do so, even if there have been times when the player hasn’t. Especially in football and basketball, players who have scored goals in consecutive games or those who have made several shots in a row are considered to be on “fire” and have a “hot hand”.

As the global betting market continues to grow, many bettors might fall prey to this belief, and they could bet during live games on players that have been referred to as having the “hot hand”.



There has been no statistical evidence to prove this irrational belief. However, people continue to believe in it and bet on teams with a scoring streak.

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