When Should We Be Betting Favorites Over Underdogs

Betting on the Underdogs or the Favorites

Americans love an underdog story, but when the time comes to place a wager on an underdog, most people are quite hesitant to due to so – why is that? Well, it’s most likely due to the inherent bias that people have towards betting favorites, but also the lack of critical thought when it comes to analyzing point spreads. The public has an infatuation for betting favorites, and that is information we can use to our advantage when we look for success in profiting from sports betting.

Why Do People Bet On Favorites More Than Underdogs?

It comes down to how people think about gambling. The first thing that the average bettor considers when betting a game is which team will win. That’s fine if we’re wagering on moneylines, but there is a big difference between covering the spread and winning the game.

That is the major disconnect you will find between professional level sports bettors (those with a clue), and amateurs are that sharps understand that it isn’t about winning the game. Instead, it is about covering the spread. The typical sports bettor who places a bet is focusing too much on which team will win the game, rather than which team will cover the spread. Recent studies and information regarding NFL betting patterns show that most people bet on the favorite 2/3rds of the time.

It doesn’t take much critical thought to determine if the point spread is too high. Instead, “this team is better than that team” and “if they win the game, they will probably cover” is enough for most people to make a bet. Most sports bettors seem to rationalize that if they believe that a team will win the game, they’re also going to cover the spread.

Should We Always Bet On Underdogs?

No, you shouldn’t always bet on the underdog. It’s important to note that blindly fading the public opinion on sports betting markets is not a winning strategy. In most cases, the oddsmakers are not shading their lines due to public opinion, but this does happen in broader markets, such as the NFL.

People bet on the favorite when it comes to NFL points spreads a disproportional amount of time. However, they only cover about 50% of the time. When you’re betting on the NFL – there is a good chance that you’re paying an increase in price when betting a favorite compared to the underdog.

Ultimately, sharp bettors move the odds in most cases, but when it comes to betting on football, there are certainly times when the sportsbooks will alter their odds due to the public’s infatuation with underdogs. There is no difference when it comes to betting vig on an underdog compared to a favorite.

However, statistically speaking, when betting NFL football, leaning towards wagering on underdogs is a viable strategy.  Still, the basics of sports betting success remain the same.

Line shopping and bankroll management will be your keys to success.

About the Author

Joseph Falchetti

Joseph Falchetti

Editor-in-Chief, Pro Sports Bettor and Casino Expert

Joe is the author of the majority of sports betting pages on SBS and he serves as a gambling consultant to our content team. He's been mentioned on Forbes.com as a gaming analyst, and his articles have been linked by larger publications, such as the New York Times.

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