Backing Favourites = Backing Winners
- Updated: January 17, 2012
When it comes to sports betting, bettors are faced with a huge pile of information and statistics which need analysing. Such things as sports, players, form, hot streaks, injuries, weather conditions, odds and much more all form an essential part of the sports bettor’s strategy. There is enormous amounts of quantitative and qualitative data which can be assessed, and with a particular betting edge in place, the professional sports bettor can find long-term enjoyment and success from what is their favourite pastime.
When it comes to backing favourites, this is obviously some of the most bread and butter sports betting propositions available. No doubt you have probably come across statistics and gurus saying that long-term betting on favourites is basically a zero-sum game and in the end you are most likely to lose your money. Although you will win on the majority of bets, there is the odd one that will bring you back to square and so the pattern continues.
At SportChalk we strongly encourage our readers to unlock the benefits backing favourites has in terms of increasing our chance of success and profitability in sports betting.
Many of our sports betting strategies promote this often neglected money earner and we want to prove to you just how reliable and effective the strategy can be. When you are backing a favourite regardless of the sport or event, you are backing the proven fact that the competitor is most highly valued by the sports odds market. This is due to the significant weight of money which is used to support the favourite, but what is more important than this money is to understand whether the odds market is pricing the outcome fairly, or if there is a belief that there may be more attractive pricing on offer once the event goes in-play.
We know the favourite has the proven ability to be the winner once the game is over, but we need to differentiate and determine at what specific price we are inclined to take the betting proposition.
It is as simple as asking yourself the following questions.
• Do you believe the starting odds market shows a fair and unbiased price in regard to the likelihood of the favourite winning?
• Do you instead believe that the odds market is misplacing this particular event, and in order to make the betting proposition more attractive we may need to consider an in-play betting strategy?
Here is a simple example.
Just imagine you have picked 5 favourites with starting odds of $1.25. You take those odds with a $100 stake on each.
Game 1 – WIN +$25
Game 2 – WIN +$25
Game 3 – WIN +$25
Game 4 – WIN +$25
Game 5 – LOSE -$100
So after 5 bets of $100 on $1.25 starting favourites we have 4 winners and 1 loser.
4 winners @ $25 each = $100 profit
1 loser @ $100 = $100 loss
Therefore after 5 different sports betting plays we have broken even.
Hey, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing as managing your capital appropriately and finding yourself breaking even after a period of sports betting is an excellent achievement. Statistics tell us somewhere between only 5-10% of bettors continually make money from their sports bets. Breaking even is a result in itself, considering that more than 90% of bettors lose. Losing money is our number one enemy, breaking even and coming back with your initial outlay is quite a strong effort in itself, and definitely means you are one step closer to the illusive success that profitable long-term sports betting can offer.
They are obviously favourites for the fact that the player or team is in superior form and fitness and has both the mental and physical aptitude required to win.
The odds market therefore has priced the favourite accordingly due to the strong amount of money and conviction from other sports bettors. A lot of people shy away from backing favourites because they see starting odds of $1.20 or $1.30 and think this is not enough to justify taking on the betting proposition.
This is an incorrect way of thinking and will be a hindrance to your ultimate success as a sports bettor. Favourites are favourites because they are expected to win and the odds market is telling you this clearly. Plain and simple, they provide above average chances to profit on based on the ability and understanding of the person undertaking the bet. There will be times when a favourite does not win, but the majority of times the favourite will win. This needs to be recognised and adequately adapted and structured into our sports betting strategy.
But if probability theory tells us that long-term backing of favourites can at best produce a break-even result, we need to find what we like to call our betting edge in order to profit from the situation. This means NOT taking every favourite which is presented to us, but instead thoroughly analysing all available information relating to the game in question, and backing our judgment and sports betting prowess accordingly. While some events may fit all our sports betting criteria others will not, and we will need to show discipline and patience by sitting on our hands and waiting for the next sports betting opportunity.
It is important to encourage sports bettors to ALWAYS question whether starting odds are the best solution to backing a favourite, or whether they are able to derive additional value byseeking out higher odds through an in-play sports betting strategy. This is a confronting situation for the professional sports bettor, and with time and practice will become much easier to grasp.
Take for example a game of basketball.
The US is playing Australia in an international friendly. The US will obviously be a short-priced starting favourite with their incredible depth of talent on and off the bench and starts the game at $1.20. Having studied all the available information we believe the US will win the game, however at $1.20 this doesn’t entice us enough to place the bet. We feel more comfortable at $1.40. So the only time we will get a fill at this price is if the US team starts slowly, and as the game progresses the market starts to price in a little bit of uncertainty in the odds. At half-time the US team is down by 2 points and we get our fill at $1.40.
This is an example of how bettors can use a certain edge in backing favourites.
You have done the hard work and studied the match-up but the starting odds do not appeal. You are confident of the favourite winning but feel extra value can be derived from higher odds. Although many times you will not get filled on these bets, you can be happy knowing that YES your selection did win even though you did not profit financially from it. And when you do win you will be excited in that you outsmarted the market by finding 20 cents of additional value from each $1 staked by simply refusing to take starting odds.
To put it visually in context with our previous example of backing 5 favourites at starting odds of $1.25.
Just imagine this time we are not taking starting odds, and will look to derive value in-play from these favourites. We will presume that of the 5 bets placed all have been filled in-play at $1.50.
Game 1 – WIN +$50
Game 2 – WIN +$50
Game 3 – WIN +$50
Game 4 – WIN +$50
Game 5 – LOSE -$100
So in total we have won a net profit of $100, which works out to be a 20% return on investment. Excellent results and something any bettor should be proud of.
This is one important topic bettors need to get their head around. It is just one of many so-called betting edge situations which can contribute to your long term success as a sports bettor.
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