Myth of Sports Betting: To Win, You Should Bet the Better Team

To Win, You Should Ditch the Better Team

Statistically, the average bettor will bet favorites. That’s a major mistake, and here is why.

First, the average bettor tends to overstate the relative potency of the league’s better teams and players. What pro handicappers know is that there is actually tremendous parity in the league, with not that much difference between the best player at a position and the worst.

When a group of marginally worse gamers is much more motivated than a team of slightly better players that an absolutely upset is possible. Most certainly, it’s possible for the”poor” team to cover the point spread.

Second, the point spread tends to nullify any evident scrimmage edge (power or skill advantage) a group has over its competitor. From the 1999 and 2000 seasons, for instance, there were 167 games where the point spread was seven points or more (games in which one group’s advantage over the following was perceived to be sizable). While the underdog won only 36 of these games (21.6 percent), the underdog covered the point spread in 83 of those games (while tying it six): a success rate of 51.6 percent.

Third, by betting an underdog, you’ve got a significant element of sport strategy on your side. NFL teams do their very best to win a game. Accordingly, in the past couple of minutes of a game, a team that is leading infrequently takes much risk to score additional points. It targets hanging on to its lead. The team that is dropping, on the other hand, usually tries to score until the bitter end. If a bettor has obtained a favorite that is ahead but not covering with five minutes or not to go, that bettor is in trouble.

In 20 decades of handicapping the NFL, I’ve yet to come across a long-term winning bettor who doesn’t bet largely underdogs.

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