From the ‘Miracle on Ice’ to Buster Douglas’ knockout of Mike Tyson, the history of US sport – and every individual sport that has forged its own chapter in legend – is awash with upset victories over the favorite. Of course, there are many degrees of ‘underdog’ in the world of wagering, from the marginal outsider to the long-shot, but it is when to bet on them that really matters.
Many factors can grant underdog status to a team. History is the primary factor in most cases, with recent form, long-term achievements, head-to-head records and ranking being the common factors. Particularly in the case of combat sports, merely being the opponent against a team or athlete with some sort of title or ‘champion’ status can also make one party an underdog.
Another aspect of the underdog is relative unpopularity. Masses of online traffic backing the favorite can provoke certain providers into raising the odds against the underdogs – that is, if automated algorithms do not do this as a matter of course. Thus, in terms of betting value, there is always more to be had by backing an underdog team that is less valued amongst sports fans by default.
Naturally, underdog status lends itself to a longer price that is invariably listed as +100 or higher. There are exceptions, but only in cases where both parties are evenly matched and one is a very slight favorite.
Events with one of two possible outcomes on the moneyline bet are ideal for backing the underdog, especially if the possibility of a tie is not on the agenda. Tennis is particularly popular in that regard, as is boxing, where drawn contests are possible but uncommon. However, whatever sport you choose to back, research is all-important, and should be used in conjunction with your existing knowledge to help you make an informed betting decision.
If wagering on individual events where a draw can also be backed in good conscience, it is also usually possible to make use of the 'double chance' market. This is where the wager is placed on the underdog winning or holding the favorite to a draw. While this reduces the payout, it does provide the opportunity for a bettor to make marginal profits that can be used as a 'free hit' elsewhere, on a more speculative bet, without incurring needless losses.
Backing the underdog within futures markets – before, say, the start of an MLB season – is also a tricky business. Prior to the start of the new season, there seems to be little sense in backing an outsider to win outright. However, just as they often do within in-play match markets, odds can shorten drastically, even if said outsider merely wins their opening game.
There is also a way to make the most out of favorites, even if the straight moneyline odds offer an insulting potential payout. While some dismiss the backing of favorites as a pointless exercise, there are certain strategies that can create a better payout.
The first and most obvious of these is to create a multiple or parlay bet, comprising several different favorites, though all of them must come in to yield a payout. This only works effectively in team sports, where there will be a number of designated favorites playing at a similar time.
The other way around backing odds-on favorites is to look at niche markets that pertain to them. For instance, prior to the MLS match between LA Galaxy and New England Revolution on June 2, favorites Galaxy had led at half-time in half of their home games by that point, and gone on to win each time.
Therefore, a bettor would feel inclined to back Galaxy to lead at both half-time and win. Backing such a specific method of victory yields far better odds compared to a straight moneyline bet.
By cross-referencing recent results, and trends within them being paired with highlighted niche markets, a bettor can more accurately gauge how the favorite is most likely to win.
All events listed on OddsChecker have a vast range of niche betting markets attached to them, and it is this that truly separates OddsChecker from the rest when it comes to backing the favorite, or the underdog.
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