Sports Betting: What is a Favorite Versus an Underdog?

Knowing the difference between the favorite and the underdog in a game is one of the basics you must know before starting to bet on games. It is one of the most important aspects to learn early when betting on sports because bookkeepers assign one side to be the favorite and one to be the underdog. But, the key is to be able to be knowledgeable in your bet to know just because a team is favorited to win doesn’t mean they will win. Favorites can get upset easily in any sport depending on the day. If you bet on the underdog and they win, you stand a chance, depending on the odds, to make a huge win-fall of money.

The Favorite

When making a bet, knowing the favorite is easy if you know what to look for. When a team has lines with a minuts before the number it means they are the favorite to win the game. The negative/minus (-) sign/symbol and number tell you how much money you must bet to win $100. It does not mean you need to bet that much money, but it is the easiest way to understand. Whenever the sign is present the line should be read with relation to 100.

The Underdog

If you’re the underdog, you stand to make more if that team wins. On the line chart, the team that has a + sign means they are the underdog. The positive sign and number tell you that you will make that much money off a $100 bet.

Example of Favorites and Underdogs In A Chart

In the chart above, in week one of this NFL football season, you can see there are 3 games. The first game at the top favors the Kansas City Chiefs to beat the underdog Houston Texans. So, if you were to bet on the Texans, you stand a better chance of making more money than if you bet on the favorite Kansas City Chiefs.

To get the most out of betting on favorites versus the underdog, you should have a strategy. For some it may feel more comfortable to put in some time to research before making a bet. Researching aspects such as stats, past performances of the team, key players and their performances, strengths and weaknesses, or style of play can be rather helpful.

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