Betting the underdog in football can it be a winning system?
In a past article I have written about the favourite longshot bias. And why you shouldn’t discount short odds as having no value. As often there can be excellent value found at the shorter odds ranges.
However what about underdogs, Is there money to be made backing underdogs?
Value Can Be Found At Any Odds Range
There have been numerous studies which have shown that if you go around blindly backing underdogs in football. You are going to lose a lot more money then if you went around blindly backing favourites.
However this does not mean there is no value to be found in betting on underdogs.
Value can be found in any odds range. Whether those odds are 1.01 or 1000. Either of those odds could have value dependent on the situation.
For example lets say in some alternate universe Barcelona were playing my Sunday league team in a competitive game. For some reason bookies priced Barcelona at 1.01.
In this situation I would know there was close to a 0% chance my side would beat Barcelona.
For a variety of reasons.
- Pete’s dodgy knees
- Half of the team would have been on the lash Friday night
- Completely outclassed in every imaginable area of football
So odds of 1.01 on Barcelona would be great value.
Then in another alternate universe Floyd Mayweather was going to fight Conor Mcgregor (oh wait that’s actually happening.)
With bookmakers giving Mcgregor odds of 50.00.
Given Mcgregor has a punchers chance, comes from a combat sport and is a good athlete. Most people would agree that odds of 50.00 would be value in this situation. (Odds of 5.5 not so much)
League 2 Football Betting System
A blog that I mentioned in my best sports betting blogs article called Green All Over. Has highlighted a simple underdog betting system in English football. Which has provided just over a 9% return on investment over the last five seasons.
This underdog betting strategy shows that by betting League Two sides playing away. At the maximum closing odds available. Would have yielded a 9.32% profit since 2012-2013. Using the closing odds at Pinnacle this betting system would have also recorded a profit of 3.77%
Pro Footy Tips
Pro Footy Tips is a tipster that is also showing that there is money to be made from backing underdogs in football. A return on investment of 16.25% is quoted to have been made from 638 bets. (At the time of writing)
Having trialed and tested various betting gods tipsters. I would believe these results to be accurate.
These results have been achieved backing average odds of 4.8. This is another indication that there is value to be found from backing underdogs in football.
What should you be aware of when backing underdogs?
- Longer losing runs
When you are backing at higher odds its possible you might encounter some long losing runs. As you will be betting on outcomes with lower probabilities it is not uncommon to lose 20 or 30 bets in row. The higher the odds ranges you are backing the more likely a long losing run could occur.
Just to highlight this. You can see from the above image that Pro Footy Tips lost 19 out of 20 selections. From January 24th to February the 14th 2017. But still has a really impressive return on investment and makes profit long term.
- Bigger bankroll or lower staking
Because you are backing at higher odds where losing runs are more frequent. You will need to make sure your bankroll can sustain these periods. This means that you would either need to stake lower amounts or have a larger bankroll. Compared to a betting system where you would be backing favourites.
- Use The Betting Exchanges
In most cases you will find the best price on underdogs is at the betting exchanges. If you want to make long term profits from betting you always want to make sure you get the best odds possible. When looking at underdogs you should always check the betting exchanges.
Betting The Underdog In Football
In conclusion you can see that it is possible to make money backing underdogs in football.
Much like every other aspect of gambling whether its sports betting, sports trading or poker. If you put in the research, find a sufficient edge and use a proper staking plan. Long term profits are possible.
Ryan is a former mixed martial arts and kickboxing competitor. After finishing university he played online poker and taught English for a living in Thailand for a few years.
Upon returning to England his focus has been on making a living from sports trading, betting and arbitrage. Over the course of 5 years he has managed to make a six figure profit using the strategies discussed on this site.
Ryan runs the sports betting and trading website www.smartsportstrader.com