Betting Tips for Public Underdogs: Expert Advice and Wagering Help
For novice bettors, the idea of backing an underdog is an uncomfortable feeling. You know who the good teams are in any given year, and they are available for viewing consumption on television or a mobile device. There is comfort in backing a proven winner.
We have all heard the term, "There is no free lunch". The same is true when betting sports, as for the most part nothing comes easy, especially when there is a point spread attached . This is the oddsmakers way of leveling any particular wager.Bottom of Form
Because oddsmakers and sportsbook know most sports bettors prefer favorites, certain teams are shaded (added points or juice on money lines) because of betting trends these experts follow.
Related: Betting Against the Public
That brings us to wagering on underdogs. There are two ways to view underdogs. One is from a negative perspective, and we will tie in a legendary football coach to make the point. Woody Hayes (Google if you are unfamiliar) was the head coach of Ohio State from 1951-1978. In those days, the forward pass was an add-on to most offenses. Here is one of his famous quotes about passing the football and how we will relate it to short-sided thinking on betting underdogs.
"When you pass the ball (bet underdogs), two of the three outcomes are negative, an incomplete pass or an interception."
However, being in the sports handicapping industry, we think the opposite is true. Here, when wagering on underdogs, two of the three outcomes are positive, winning the game outright or covering the spread.
Let's break down potential winning scenarios for backing dogs.
Catching Points For The Right Situations
There are bettors who believe in taking all underdogs. While that can work for a month or a season, as a firm strategy, that is basically as bad as choosing all favorites. You would never eat your favorite food every day, so don't narrow your options by thinking underdogs only.
Nonetheless, backing dogs can have its rewards, particularly on two fronts.
In football and basketball, underdogs of six points or less should attract your attention. Though it varies by sport in the NFL, NBA, NCAAF and NCAAB, here is the general range of point spread to win probability.
One-Point to Six-Point Favorite = 51. 1 percent to 70.1 percent
When you add in a home-field or home-court advantage, that can tip the odds in your favor based on potential motivation or negatively impact a road favorite.
When you dig deeper into the team matchups and you can locate where the team catching points could have an edge in the trenches in football or as a superior three-point shooting team, for example, these are possibly excellent short underdog spots to back.
Another key ingredient is understanding key numbers with the pooch. In football, you want the +3.5 and +6 moving to a +6.5. In basketball, you would want +2.5, +3.5 and +6.5. These all place you on the right side of the most important numbers for both sports and can take a Push to a win. (Note: +7.5 in football is of course very important, but because we were talking about +6 or less on underdogs, it did not fit our exact criteria.)
Related: Key Numbers in NFL Betting
Wagering On Big Underdogs When Betting on Sports
Let's first identify what a big underdog or "ugly pooch" is when talking sports betting.
NFL - 10 or more points
College Football - 20 or more points
NBA - 12 or more points
College Basketball - 15 or more points
The most important element to understand is that you are not betting a team specifically, you are betting a number. Whether you do your own power ratings or use another reliable source, the differential of the power ratings should be at a minimum of two points in your favor to even consider such a bet.
Next, we want to dial in motivation, matchups, and scheduling and ideally have two of these factors in our favor. Revenge is less of a factor, but worth consideration if the second matchup in within a month of the first contest. Thus, the freshness aspect is more relevant.
When it comes to matchups, a poor defensive favorite is always a target, and if your underdog is better defensively than the favored opponent, all the better.
Money Line Underdogs Take Patience and Discipline
When wagering on baseball and looking to find underdogs, it takes mental discipline. It is human nature to want to win. And the more we do, the better we feel. Betting moneyline dogs in baseball goes against those instincts.
Following this method, one has to know you are going to lose more than you will win, but this is about making money, not having a great record. Here or in the NHL, we are trying to build a case of favorable components that could provide us a winner. In an ideal world of either sport, we would have a 1-1 record every day or even 7-7 every week picking underdogs and just watch the profits build week after week.
In football and basketball, playing the occasional long shot to make a big score is acceptable, as long as you chart the money won/lost in doing so. A better strategy in these sports is moneyline dogs with a point spread of four points or fewer, where your win probability is 35 to 38 percent and uncovering a meaningful edge that enhances your chances of winning.
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