Underdog Betting System – How does it Work?

how to bet on sports

The underdog betting system is much simpler to understand. This makes it suitable for both amateurs and expert punters. 

This review will teach you more about this betting system and some strategic tips to help you place lucrative bets.

What Is Underdog Betting?

In most matches, we have the favorite and the underdog. The favorite is the team expected to win, while the underdog is the team expected to lose. 

Underdog betting is where a bettor backs the team that is expected to lose the match. 

These bets can be on the money line or the spread. Money line bets on underdogs are much tougher to win and yield more money. 

Conversely, spread bets require the underdogs to lose by a set number of points if they fail to win outright. 

For these games, the operator gives the underdogs high odds even though they have a low chance of winning. This is done strategically to make these bets enticing to bettors. The goal is to attract punters to high odds and their high earning potential, only for them to lose, meaning the house wins. 

Fortunately, there is a way you can use these to your advantage by applying the underdog betting strategy. 

Finding Value In Betting The Underdog

With a better understanding of underdog bets, it’s time to look at tips and tricks you can use with the sports betting strategy for the best betting outcomes. 

This is especially if your goal is to place a profitable bet that guarantees high wins from underdog bets. 

Here are some tips to help you find value in these types of bets. 

1. Scan The Markets For Proper Bet Analysis

Going by the Kelly formula, it’s essential to scan the market for viable underdog bets. 

To place winning bets in these markets, you need to conduct extensive bet analysis on several different markets, 

Remember that the more profitable an underdog bet is, the higher the underdog win will be. As a result, look through different matches and find a few options that provide the most value. 

2. Evaluate The Probability Of An Outcome

With a few possible bets from extensive analysis, you need to evaluate the profitability of an outcome. Do this by multiplying the odds given by your wager. 

A good underdog should give a good profit even when you stake low. So don’t go for just any underdog bets; go for underdog bets with a worthwhile return.

3. Analyze The Importance Of A Game

Numerous factors contribute to the size of underdog bets. One of the main ones is the importance of a game. 

You can gauge this by determining if it’s a friendly game, a championship, qualifier, league, or cup. A game’s importance affects a game’s odds significantly. 

For example, you will typically have higher underdog odds for less critical matches. This is mainly because these teams are not usually very competitive anyway.

4. Leverage Betting Tools

Finding valuable underdog bets can be challenging even for seasoned punters. It’s more so for new bettors. 

Luckily, there are online tools that can help you find good bets to stake on. These can save you time and help you identify suitable underdog bets.

Reading Underdog Betting Odds

Underdog odds come with a plus (+) sign, while favorites have a minus (-) sign. The higher the number of odds, the more of an underdog the team is. 


Team A: + 200

Team B: + 500

In the above, both teams A and B are underdogs. However, in the matches they are playing, team A has a better chance of winning in its event than team B does in its game. 

Moneyline Bets Underdog

Moneyline bets are among the simplest bets possible because you are only required to pick the winning team or player. 

Let’s look at this example:

Golden State Warriors: -135

Toronto Raptors: + 150

In the above, the Raptors are the underdogs, and the Warriors are the favorites (note the – and + signs). So if you bet $100 on the Raptors, you win $150, and $100 if you bet $135 on the Warriors. 

Essentially, anytime sportsbooks think bettors will back the favorite, they tend to offer a weak payout. Whenever odds get worse for the favorite, odds for the underdog get better. 

Here is an NFL example with three games demonstrating how powerful good underdog picks can be to your earnings. 

Game 1:

Milwaukee Bucks – 700

Atlanta Hawks + 650

Game 2:

Boston Celtics – 650

Chicago Bulls + 600

Game 3:

Houston Rockets – 600

Minnesota Timberwolves + 600

Supposing you bet $100 on the three underdogs, but only the Hawks win. This means you lose two bets on $100 each, but you get $650 on the Hawks. Consequently, you still clear a net profit of $450 even though you lost two out of three bets. 

While this is not always the case, it shows you how profitable underdog moneyline bets can be. 

Spread Bet Underdogs

While a moneyline bet picks a winner between two sides, a point spread includes a certain margin of victory. 

The spread assigns points to the underdog’s final score while deducting points from the favorite’s score. This is known as handicap betting. 

Let’s look at an example of this:

New England Patriots -3 (-110)

Philadelphia Eagles +3 (-110)

The first numerical after each team is the spread. Again, the underdog always has a + sign. On the above:

  • Betting on the Eagles to win is either an outright win or a loss by two or fewer points
  • a bet on the Patriots means the team must win by four or more points
  • if the match ends with a difference of three points, this becomes a push or a tie, and your bet is refunded

Further, the amount you win is determined by the numbers in brackets. For the above, -110 means you bet $100 to win $100. You have to bet $100 on -110 odds to win $100 because of the sportsbook commission. 

How To Bet The Underdog

Betting Underdogs NFL

Bookmakers are well aware that many bettors prefer to back the top teams. So, naturally, this creates an inflated line.

When you look at your games, the underdogs will have been given an advantage via the point spread.

Look at the game below:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers -7.5

New Orleans Saints +7.5

Here, the Buccaneers are the favs, and the Saints are the underdogs. The Buccaneers have to win by eight or more to cover the spread. On their end, the Saints need to lose by less than 7 points or win outright.

Everyone else will likely back the Bucs. If, however, a wrench is thrown in the works and the Bucs are not playing at the level people have become used to, the underdogs could cover their spread. If this happens, it’s likely to be very profitable.

 NBA Underdog Betting

Picking a winning NBA underdog requires some science and a sound understanding of the NBA. With only a third of NBA games ending in an upset, you need to be extra careful when making your picks.

 Some of the research you need to cover include:

·    Team statistics

·    Team schedules; players tend to be in better form after long home stands as compared to long out-of-conference trips

·    Player injuries and health; when these affect keep players, a team’s winning chances can reduce significantly

·    Look at recent play; if the star player has been on a cold streak, this tilts the odds away from the favorites

·    Keep an eye on the lines and learn the best times to make your move

Every match has the potential for an upset, so it’s not necessary to rely on picking the overall winner to get a payout. Instead, making smaller bets on hundreds of minor upsets is an excellent winning plan.

MLB Underdog Betting System

 Betting on baseball is a whole different animal from other sports. Most bettors are used to betting on football and basketball, where the equalizer is the point spread.

 One of the outstanding aspects of baseball bets is that you have to lay increased vigorish if you want to wager on the favorite. How much vigorish you have to put out depends on how great the choice is perceived to be.

 Tips that help you spot a good baseball underdog bet are:

·    Look for small underdog teams with an excellent starting pitcher. This sounds pretty obvious, but you will often identify teams with a rock star pitcher. This can propel a team to the winning spot

·    The best teams have a strong bullpen. a team with a strong bullpen increases your chance of a win significantly

·    Left/right situations: some teams struggle with left-handed pitching. Look at team stats to see how the teams in the match fare when facing a leftie and how well they have performed in the past

·    Look at a team’s last ten games. Even underdogs will have some wins in their past games. A team that has lost their past ten games is unlikely to turn this around

·    Baseball is a streaky game, and streaks tend to be very telling in this particular game. It’s safe to stick to games on a winning streak than hoping that a team on a losing streak is about to outdo themselves

Underdogs Betting FAQs

Here is a quick look at some commonly asked questions.

Does betting on the underdog makes sense?

Underdog betting makes sense for both amateurs and pro bettors because you get to benefit from high odds should you win. 

How do I calculate the probability of a good underdog bet?

You determine a good underdog bet by calculating how much you will make, given the chances of winning the matchup. Similarly, calculate the loss you could also potentially incur in a specific number of interactions. 

If the potential win is higher than what you stand to lose, then that specific underdog bet might be worth staking on. 

Is the underdog plus or minus?

The underdog always bears the plus (+) sign. 

Who Is The Underdog In Betting?

The underdog is the team or player least likely to lose the match. Conversely, the underdog is considered the weaker team and, therefore, most likely to lose. 

What are the best markets for underdog bets?

Some of the best underdog markets are Draw No Bet, double chance, and most importantly, Asian Handicap bets. 

These markets can be profitable in the long run and can help you remain profitable even after a losing streak. 


Dan Weiner

Hailing from Atlanta and attending college at the University of Texas, Dan is passionate about sports, particularly college football and soccer. He's a diehard Atlanta pro sports and Texas Longhorns fan. He likes every sport and will watch anything and everything the weirder the better. He joined Betsperts after an 11 year career in television production at ESPN.

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