What is Favorite in Sports Betting?

April 27, 2023

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A favorite is the team that most people think will win a game. Oddsmakers make it more likely for them to win the game.

What is a favorite in sports betting?

The opposite of an underdog is a favorite. Based on the chances, they are more likely to win. You’ll have to pay more to bet on the choice to win. If a team is at home or has a lot of stars, they are more likely to be favored. Favorites are expected to do better and cash faster to make money. In every game, there will be a favorite and an underdog. Usually, the choice is the team with the better record or the one people think is better. Other things, like injuries or the fact that they are playing at home, can change that.

How do I know which likely is the favorite?

In any competition, it’s easy to spot the outsider. The odds for the underdog will have a plus sign (‘+’) next to them, while the odds for the winner will have a minus sign (‘-‘) next to them. Both the money line and the spread show this. If an NFL team is a 6.5-point underdog in the space, their odds will say “+6.5.” They could be +200 in American odds, but odds can also be shown in fractional and decimal form. Fractional odds will show how far behind the favorite the underdog is. If the chances for a team are 3/1, the underdog will pay out 3x the original bet. So, if you bet $100 on a loser with odds of 3/1, +300, or 4.00 in decimal format, and they win, you would make $300. The payout will always be higher for the underdog than for the winner.

How to bet on the favorite

When betting on a favorite, you have several choices. You can bet on a favorite to win directly on the “money line,” or you can bet on them to win by more than a certain amount on the “spread.”

Money line favorite

If you bet on a favorite on the money line, all they have to do is win, regardless of how much. People often bet on the money line favorite because they think it’s a better bet. But the price of a money line bet is very important. On the spread, you’ll probably get odds of -110, but on the money line, a favorite will always have worse odds than that, and the size of favorites can vary a lot. You can bet on a small favorite for -120 or a big favorite for more than -1000. You must pay a high price to bet on the money line between an SEC giant and a small non-Power Five school in college football. Bettors like to do things like “money line favorite parlays.” This is when you put together a few “money line favorites” and need them all to win for better chances.

Points spread favorite

On the other hand, the point spread for favorites has its pros and cons. If you bet on a favorite with a point spread, winning the game is not enough. For a point spread to work, the favorite must win by a certain amount or more. The upside is that you usually have to lay odds of -110 instead of shorter chances, like with a money-line bet. In football and basketball, point spreads can be anywhere from -1 to -50. But the point spread can be set to however many points the oddsmakers think the favorite will win by. It’s called “minus 50” for the reason that you take the winner’s score and take away 50. If a favorite with a -7 point spread wins by precisely seven points, it’s called a “push,” and you get your money back.

Run line favorite

In baseball, betting on a favorite differs from betting on a favorite in football or basketball, with bigger scoring and more spreads. In baseball, a favorite usually has a range of -1.5, called the “run line.” You rarely see run lines bigger than -1.5, but it is possible. If you bet on a team’s run line, they should win by at least two runs to cover the -1.5.

Puck line favorite

Like betting on a team’s run line in baseball, betting on a favorite in hockey is a safe bet. In hockey, the puck line is when 1.5 goals favor a winner. Most hockey games, like baseball, have a puck line of -1.5, and for a favorite to win a puck line bet, they need to win by at least two goals.

Should you bet on the favorite?

You can’t just say yes or no when asked if you should bet on the favorite in a certain game. It comes down to value. If the oddsmaker undervalues a favorite, you might want to bet on that team. If you bet on a favorite on the money line, you’ll probably win more often than you lose. However, that doesn’t mean you’ll make money in the long run. When you bet on money line favorites, you pay more for the odds, so you must ensure that the favorite’s chance of winning is higher than the odds. For example, a favorite with a money line of -200 must win 66.7 percent of the time for the long-term bet to be beneficial. People who bet for fun tend to bet on the winners, which can cause the prices to be too high, so you have to be careful. For example, during the 2020 NFL season, favorites beat the spread, going 55.5 percent of the time. Favorites should be looked at on a case-by-case basis since no one rule works for everyone.

Favorite betting strategies

It’s all about finding the right spots, whether you’re betting on a favorite or an underdog. The money line and the point spread can be used differently. Pick a team that can score a lot if you’re betting on a favorite with a point spread. For example, a group that focuses on defense and plays cautiously might not be the best to bet on as a big favorite because their style makes it more likely that their games will be close than blown out. One way to find a favorite with value is to bet on a top team that hasn’t been playing up to their high standards lately.

Let’s say that during the NFL season, the Bills and Josh Allen have a few bad games against bad teams. Even though they still win, the match is close, and Buffalo doesn’t look very good because they don’t go all out. That might make oddsmakers offer them at a lower price in the coming weeks, and you can take advantage if you think the Bills are underpriced.

When betting on favorites, it’s also essential to know which teams will try to make a lot of points to cover a big spread. A team that is favored to win could have a chip on their back or another reason to want to beat a group badly, so they’ll try to get every last point out of the game, which could affect the point spread. There are many ways to bet on favorites, but the most important thing is figuring out which choices offer the best value in any game.

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