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Is Playing The Underdog A Winning Strategy?

Author: americangambler | Last Updated: November 23, 2020

Underdog was a popular cartoon series on television the 1960s. A meek weakling who worked as a shoeshine boy by day, when he downed one of his Super Pills, Underdog turned into a force of good that overcame evil.

Counting on underdogs can prove to be a super strategy in sports betting as well. The underdog is the team that isn’t supposed to win the game, so the odds on them are going to be better.

Favorites are supposed to win and as the saying goes, it’s the winners who get to write history. This may explain why the betting public is so fond of wagering on favorites. We all like to think we're winners, so we want to be associated with other winners.

So why bet on the underdog then? Well, because there are scenarios when playing the underdog is actually the smarter and more logical move. It takes skill and patience to recognize these opportunities, because they won’t happen every day. But when they do, the payday is quite handsome.

Wagering Underdogs Can Prove Prosperous

During the 2019 NFL season, riding underdogs was a winning strategy. Overall, they went 138-120-10 against the spread. Let’s assume odds of -110 on every one of those games.

Had you wagered $10 on the underdog against the spread on every game at DrafKings, you would’ve won $9.09 on each of the 138 underdog covers. That works out of a total win of $1,254.42. Plus, you would receive your $10 stake back on each bet. That’s another $1,380. And on the 10 pushes, your stake of $10 per game is also returned. 

All together, that adds up to $2,734.42. Subtract the 120 bets of $10 apiece that you lost and you’re ahead $1,534.42. Not a bad season’s work. 

Home Is Where To Bet The Underdog

One of the most popular betting strategies is to play home underdogs. The theory is that even bad teams are better at home, while even the best teams aren’t going to perform as consistently on the road. 

 Is it a productive and profitable approach?

Again, let’s break down the performance of home underdogs against the spread during the 2019 NFL regular season. 

There were 56 games last season in which the home team wasn’t the favorite. In those games, the home underdog covered 32 times and failed to cover in 24 games. 

Once more assuming odds of -110 and a $10 wager on each game at FanDuel, there’s a $290.88 profit on the 32 winners. Add in the return of the $320 staked and you’ve got $610.88 too good. Then you must subtract the 24 bets of $10 each that you lost. It still leaves a profit of $370.88.