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Underdog Sports Betting Explained

The Oakland Athletics were expected to win the 1988 World Series after winning 104 games in the regular season. What they didn’t expect was to get swept four games to none by the underdogs, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

To this day, some baseball fans consider this the greatest upset in American baseball history.

Back then, sports betting was still illegal, but imagine the pretty penny you’d receive if you took the underdog bet. What is underdog sports betting exactly? Keep reading to find out.

What Is an Underdog in Sports Betting?

In sports betting, the underdog is the team or player expected to lose an event. In about any game, there’s going to be an expected loser, aka the underdog.

Teams and players rarely have the same level of talent, but there are instances in which the betting odds will be the same.

Underdog sports betting requires knowing how to read betting odds. Using American odds, the underdog is the team or player listed with a plus sign (+) number.

We’ll go over how this looks in practice.

Moneyline Underdog Betting

In both Moneyline and spread betting, the underdog team is the one with the + sign. Moneyline odds are more distant than spread odds. In Moneyline sports, you are betting on which team will win the game.

Let’s look at an example of this using baseball’s Kansas City Royals and the Toronto Blue Jays. The Moneyline odds in a game between the two would look something like this:

  • KC Royals +320
  • TOR Blue Jays -406

In this example, the Blue Jays are heavily favored. Betting on the underdog would mean betting on the Royals to win.

You might come across games where both teams have a minus sign. In a game like this, the team with the smaller number is a slight underdog.

Point Spread Underdog Betting

Points spread betting is another sports betting terminology in which you can bet on the underdog.

The spread is the difference between the two teams in play in terms of the expected points to be scored. In baseball, point spreading refers to the runs scored, hockey point spreads refer to the goals scored, and so on.

Bettors use point spreads to bet on how close a game will be. The greater the spread, the larger the underdog.

Using the Royals and the Blue Jays as an example again, a point spread might look something like this:

  • KC Royals +1.5 (+160)
  • TOR Blue Jays -1.5 (-194)

In this example, the Royals are seen as 1.5-run underdogs against the Blue Jays. For this bet to win, the Royals would need to lose by no more than 1 run or win the game. If they lose by 2 runs or more, the underdog bet would lose.

Consider starting with this free course to get the basics of sports betting down.

Underdog Sports Betting: Should You Do It?

Statistically, underdogs lose games more than favorites do, but with the right research, you might find that some underdog sports betting options pay off.

The betting market has sports figured out, yet upsets are always a possibility. Do your research and divide bets into underdogs and favorites to maximize your winnings. Remember, that profitability has nothing to do with underdogs or favorites, but rather with finding +EV.

To generate your own odds and find mispriced opportunities, get this sports betting masterclass now.

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