The beauty of sports is when your favorite team wins. However, it is more exciting when underdog teams triumph over supposedly big teams. Most fans love underdogs more so whenever they are playing against their rival teams.
However, most of them do not like betting in favor of the underdog. Most of them place their bets on the favorite teams as they think the big teams are a guaranteed win. An underdog team basically means a team that is most likely to lose in a match.
This term has its origin in the late 19th century dog fighting games whereby the dog that lost the fight was referred to as the underdog.
Contrary to the belief that big teams will always defeat small ones, there are moments when underdog teams pull magic surprises on favorite teams leaving most fans in high spirits while leaving the big losing teams and their fans rubbing tears of shame.
For instance, during the 2015/2016 season, Leicester City surprised many football fans across the world when it defeated most of the giant EPL teams all the way even to winning the EPL Cup. Most people never expected it to win that big.
The Bandwagon Mentality
Most average punters love popular teams with big-name players. Consequently, this creates a “bandwagon” effect that essentially drives the odds for such teams unreasonably low, while on the other hand making the odds for the underdogs in betting markets huge.
This effect proffers most punters an opportunity to earn big if they take the risk of placing their bets on the underdog and it wins.
Most betting markets rate teams based on their most recent performances. Despite the fact that the recent performance of a team may be a true reflection on how they are likely to perform in their next, match, there are instances when tables change both for favorites and the underdogs.
The fact that the underdog is lowly thought of to win, adding to the fact that some of them might be fighting to avoid relegation, they at times pull unexpected surprises beating big teams mercilessly.
For instance, the game between Chelsea vs. Tottenham, Tottenham was an underdog in this case. Most people expected Chelsea to win with the “Sarri ball effect”.
However, things went south for Chelsea when it was thrashed 3-1.
Is Betting on Underdogs Really Good?
Most people are of the question whether betting on the underdog is such a good idea; betting on underdogs may seem a risky affair but is definitely a good betting strategy.
The comparison between betting on the big teams versus that of underdogs is that the payout for favorite teams is smaller as compared to that of favorite teams. Betting on underdogs has huge returns though less frequently.
The concept behind betting on underdogs derives its returns from business models whereby the higher the risk, the higher the returns.
Betting on underdogs can be riskier as compared to favorites but in case it wins, the returns are very impressive.
For instance, during the 2015/2016 EPL season, one fan bet only £100 with Betfair for Leicester to win at the start of the season and ended up scooping £200000 at the end when Leicester surprised many by winning the Premier League during the season.
Despite calls for the gambler to withdraw his bet and be given cash as the season drew to the end, the fan held on steadfast and eventually reaped big.
When Should One Bet on an Underdog?
Just like any business venture, before betting on the underdog you need to do thorough research on both teams. The fact that you are putting your money at risk calls for you to have some prior idea of why you should place your bet on the underdog.
Betting on underdogs should be based on some facts. It is advisable to place your bets on the underdog when there seem to be some discrepancies between popular opinions against the actual reality of the underdog’s winning chance.
For instance, if team A, which is perceived to be the underdog has a 33% winning chance over the favorite and its payout is 3x, the initial chance, then that is a good chance for you to bet on team A.
It is also good to bet on the ‘home dogs’. Home dogs generally refer to those supposedly weak teams which have better home records. These types of teams always defy the odds to pull surprises when they are playing at their home turf.
To bet successfully on underdogs, avoid moving with the crowd. Just believe in yourself and put your bet independently despite most people doing the opposite. But remember to do so with some background facts and statistics.
Betting on underdogs is inherently risky but enticing. Apart from probably winning a bigger amount of money, there is the thrill of following a match whereby everybody expects your team to lose only for it to upset their favorite team.
Most people will go home dejected while you and your team will be the joyous winners. For example, in the 2018 Russia World Cup, most people didn’t expect Croatia to sail through to the final. It was fun watching the team dismantling favorite World Cup teams all the way through to the final. Most people had bet against it but things went the other way.
For those, who had bet on Croatia, they cashed in big plus the thrill of seeing it winning against World Cup household names.
Mitigating Risks When Betting for Underdogs
Betting on underdogs is very risky. It is therefore prudent to have a strategy in place to help you mitigate the risk. This process of mitigating the risk on the underdog bet is commonly referred to us hedging the Bet. This involves putting a counter bet on live betting markets.
The best way to benefit from betting on an underdog is the know-how on how to minimize the risk. It is important to watch the game and hedge your bet when the game is underway. In live betting markets, odds tend to fluctuate during the course of the match.
As a prudent bettor, the volatility of odds in live betting markets to offers you the best opportunity to hedge out your bet. What you have to do is place your bet on the underdog prior to the start of the match.
When the match is underway you can decide back-up the favorite team with a live bet. This will guarantee you a profit or at least it will minimize the loss you might incur if the underdog fails to rise to the occasion.
How Hedging a Bet Works
For instance, in an EPL match between Manchester United against Bournemouth, a market has priced Bournemouth with 4/1 odds and Manchester United 1/2 prior to the match. With your analysis skills, you decided to play the underdog strategy and place a bet of Kshs.1000 on Bournemouth.
When the game gets underway, true to your expectation, Bournemouth plays fantastically and scores their fast goal during the 10th minute of the match. In the live betting markets, this drifts the odds for Manchester United to 3/2. If you place your bet at this moment, you might make a loss if Manchester United eventually wins.
Since such bets have high odds, they are a great way to take advantage of betting house bonuses that can only be used on high odds stakes.
READ ALSO: Is Betting on Fixed Matches a Thing?
At the 20th minute, Bournemouth scores again and this really increases the odds of Manchester United to 5/1. As a shrewd punter, you can place another counter bet of Kshs.1000 in favor of Manchester United. The end result will play out this way:
- If Bournemouth still wins, you will make a profit of Kshs3000(4000-1000)
- If Manchester United plays their king of comeback game and eventually win the game, you will make a return of Ksh.4000(5000-1000)
In this scenario, this is how the end results will play out for you. Your net use in betting is Ksh.2000 (1000+1000). If Bournemouth wins, the net profit will be Kshs.1000 (3000-2000) and if Manchester United wins, the net loss will be Kshs.2000 (4000-2000). You will realize that if you had placed your counter bet when the stakes for Manchester United were at 3/2, you would have made a net loss of Kshs.1500 (500-2000). Due to proper hedging in either way the game would have ended, you would have made a profit in this case.