Should You Just Say No to the Favorite?

Perhaps. You may have heard the old tidbit of wisdom about being contrarian. You know the one about how most of the time the majority is wrong. Following that kind of thinking then, if the crowd is predictably wrong most of the time, why would you ever consider following the crowd when you are placing your sports bets?

Here’s what this is all about. Have you ever considering going against the crowd? Have you ever thought about not betting on the favorite as a real strategy for your sports betting? If not, perhaps after this article, you may change your mind.

Look, it goes without saying, but just in case, let’s go ahead and say it anyway. Inexperienced sports betters (and even old timers sometimes) love to bet on the favorite. Really, who can blame them? After all, we all want to back the favorite. In fact, it may be part of our cultural upbringing. Somehow we learn this “wisdom” of backing the favorite team. Yet, if you approach your sports betting from a profit making point of view, you will soon realize that this is not the best strategy if you want to walk away with more money than you showed up with.

Start with a simple fact. Consider that the linemakers who set up the spread can spot you coming a mile away. They know full well that there is a natural tendency to want to bet on the favorite. So, they do exactly what they are supposed to (from their perspective). They often sneak in an extra point or two into the spread. They know that most people that show up to place a bet (online or offline) will bet on the favorite anyway and won’t even pay attention to the extra point or two, even if the spread ends up points higher than truly makes sense.

Are you ready for a dose of reality? Listen up. The lines drawn up on sports betting are market driven. Historical trends or not, sports betting gives you a remarkably clear picture of real world economics in action. The linemakers know and expect that the majority of players will simply bet on the favorite. Accordingly, just like you learned in basic economics, the price (in this case, the spread) goes up. And up.

Now, all this aside, there are times you may want to bet on the favorite. If you believe there is real value on the favorite, go ahead. Or, if you only occasionally get into sports betting and it’s mostly for fun, go ahead, have your fun. Just don’t be surprised at your end results. And don’t look at the linemakers with a beady eye; they are only doing what they are supposed to do.

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