Betting Strategies: Rolling with the Underdog

Any sports fan knows that the favored team in any competition does not always come out ahead: even the best of teams have losses. Due to this reality, the strategy of betting on the underdogs can become a beneficial one for a couple of main reasons. 

  • The odds are higher
  • Lost bets can be voided with a couple of wins on the underdog

Of course, we cannot just bet on all underdogs without caution and expect to end the day with a profit. How does this betting strategy actually work? In which cases does this strategy apply and which underdogs are suitable for this strategy? Let's discuss. 

What is the Underdog 

The underdog is the team or athlete with the lowest chances of success in any certain competition. The opposite of the favorite, or the team with the best chances of winning. Underdogs can be found in both in specific games and matches as well as tournaments. Even in championship games like the Super Bowl, there can be an underdog present. 

Betting on the Underdog Main Details

Past merit is not a guarantee for future competitions. 

This is the main point in our underdog betting strategy. Sooner or later, the favored team will lose, and just as it does, the seemingly weaker sides will also have their days where it is able to pull out a win. 

However, this is not just luck. A good strategy should be designed to identify the overvalued favorite, and not to just fulfill the bettor’s wishes of “what if”. When considering this, we understand that some factors should consistently contribute to the possibility of an underdog winning the game or competition. 

Yes, sportsbooks also understand these factors and odds can be lowered. However, thousands of players focusing on the popular winners, do not change their opinions. Therefore, sportsbooks are often forced to lower the odds for the favorites while overestimating the underdogs. 

The underdog strategy is not just about betting on the underdog to win. Sometimes, it involves the use of the spread or on the totals to be successful. Let's take a deeper look into this betting strategy and apply its use to different sports. 

When is the Underdog Strategy Applicable in MMA Betting?

In martial arts competitions such as the UFC, the status of favorite or underdog can be even more well known, even to the point of being obvious. After all, each fighter is their own personal experiences, fighting styles, coaches and training. However, when the outcome of a competition only depends on two people, all sorts of little things can affect the final results.

Favored fighters can fall out of shape,  struggle with injuries, have problems with weight and weight classes, fall to the pressure of a fight or one of many other various factors. Over the years, these professional fighters have made names for themselves. The reality is, that many bettors will make wagers on fighters based on their names and past achievements. 

This is done almost automatically, forgetting that all winning streaks eventually come to an end, and even the best fighters suffer defeats. In the UFC especially, all fighters are considered to be top professionals; some of the world’s best. Each new opponent can become the new champion, taking the belt from a fighter who was previously “invincible”. 

Betting on the Underdog in Basketball: What's Important

Basketball is different from MMA due to the fact that the games are not completely controlled by one individual nor the schedule of games. However, thanks to the nature of this sport, players will still have plenty of opportunities to bet on the underdogs. 

Related to this is the quarter betting strategy. The main idea here is that the player makes a bet on a team to win an individual quarter, and not the entire game. The game can then be watched live while the strategy can be repeated for each quarter. 

The basic requirements for betting the underdog in quarters are as follows:

It is recommended to select a game where there is a clear favorite, but the weaker team is not a complete lost cause. Roughly speaking, if the odds offered on the underdog are higher than +2400, then it is best to look for other opportunities. 

It is not recommended to select less popular or exotic leagues where there exists a massive difference in the class of teams. 

It should go without saying that this type of strategy in basketball is not a 100% guarantee to win. It does have some drawbacks. For example, there is a high financial risk when continuously playing with this kind of strategy. It is absolutely necessary to analyze each upcoming game and not to blindly select games. 

Using the Underdog Strategy in Soccer 

Soccer teams can obtain the underdog status due to a variety of factors. These can include the difference in abilities between the teams, home field advantages and staffing problems. Sportsbooks react to these things and more in order to form an opinion about which team lays claim to the favored status. 

The underdog betting strategy does not require teams to be on opposite spectrums of the standings. Teams quite close in the standings can even be used with this strategy. For example, if one team has lost four games in a row and the other team is starting a current run of good form. 

Prime examples would be games in the European soccer leagues. Most often, it is for European competitions that these domestic cups hold great importance. This is not due to only the prestige gained by winning the competitions, but is largely attributed to how profitable it is to win these cups. 

The biggest German club, Bayern Munich, is a great example. The team regularly finishes first and wins the Bundesliga, however fails to have routine success in the Champions League. Consequently,  every Spring the German team sends its reserves to play in the Champions League games. 

This follows games in the Bundesliga, as Bayern is using its bona fide starters in the domestic competitions. Since Champions League games can take place in as little as two days after a game in the Bundesliga, Bayern will send some of its reserves to start in the European competitions.

Of course, this does not prevent numerous bettors from betting on the team’s reserves, focusing only on the Bayern Munich name, its prominence and its position in the Bundesliga standings. This is an example of a perfect opportunity for betting against the favorite. 

The Underdog Betting Strategy in Tennis

If the perceived favorites always had their way, then you would be watching the same athletes playing in the semi finals and finals of every tennis competition. At the same time, the difference in odds between the two competitors, would always be significant even in the later stages. 

For example, in the quarterfinals of the 2019 US Open, Grigor Dimitrov beat Roger Federer. Sportsbooks were offering odds of +800 on the Bulgarian to win. Looking at results like these, it is no surprise that bettors also find relevant situations in tennis for betting on the underdog. 

Even at these odds, making bets on underdogs regularly will likely not bring long-term success. Therefore, a preliminary independent assessment of both athletes competing is required before selecting a bet to make. When this is done, making bets on the underdog in tennis is a much more promising indenture. It is worth considering a few factors here.

  • Motivation. Money does not always guide the motivation for athletes. Sometimes, boosting their own prestige like raising their place in the world rankings provides most of the motivation. And in order to have their place raised, they need to win and make it to the later rounds of these major competitions. 
  • Preparing for a more solid competition. Before the Grand Slam tournaments, top tennis players practice in friendly competitions. However, for lower ranked players, this is a great opportunity to improve their rating and financial position by defeating a much higher ranked opponent. 
  • Flights and training regime. Tennis competitions are spread out across the world. Thus, athletes need to dramatically change regions, climate and time zones in the pursuit of tournament wins. An athlete who has spent more time in the tournament’s location will be more acclimated to the conditions and better prepared physically. 

With these pre-match factors in place, the odds of an underdog being successful start to move more in their favor. This at the same time also affects the favorites, who see their odds gradually get lowered as does the confidence in their  ability to win. 

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