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Can you bet on a team losing?

Betting on underdogs can yield substantial profits, particularly when favorites falter. Understanding the dynamics behind these potential misfires is key to a successful betting strategy. Whether it’s soccer, tennis, basketball, or other sports, the art of betting on underdogs requires a systematic approach.

Identifying Underdogs: Who They Are and How to Spot Them

The term “underdog” originates from the world of dogfighting, where the losing dog is figuratively pinned to the ground. In sports betting, an underdog signifies the clear disadvantaged team or player in an upcoming match.

Typically, underdog odds start at 3.00 for a win, though they can be even higher (5.00, 7.00), depending on the sport. These odds reflect the bookmakers’ evaluation of the relative strengths of both underdogs and favorites. However, it’s worth noting that the majority of bettors tend to favor the favorite.

Strategies for Betting on Underdogs in Different Sports

Effectively betting on underdogs necessitates astute market selection. Rather than solely focusing on straight underdog wins, consider these alternative options:

  1. Betting with a Handicap: Select a handicap that maintains underdog odds within the range of 1.90-2.50.
  2. “1X”, “X2” Betting: In cases where wagering on a clean underdog victory seems too risky, betting on the underdog not losing could be a suitable alternative. This is particularly applicable in competitions where a draw in regulation time is a possibility.
  3. Individual Underdog Total (TB): This market, prevalent in soccer, tennis, basketball, and other sports, often presents undervalued potential in underdog performance. Odds can range from 2.00-3.00, even if the underdog ultimately loses.
  4. Individual Total of Favorites (TM): This strategy involves betting against the favorite, commonly applied in basketball, handball, and soccer. It revolves around betting on the underdog’s ability to prevent the favorite from reaching a specific goal count, resulting in odds of 2.00-3.00.

Examples of Underdog Bets by Sport


  • Fixture: Athletic Bilbao vs. Barcelona (February 6, 2020)
  • Scenario: Athletic Bilbao, the home team, was considered the underdog. While a direct win bet was deemed risky, betting on Athletic Bilbao to either win or draw carried odds soccer any 15 of approximately 1.90-2.00, proving to be a judicious choice. The match concluded with a 1-0 victory in favor of Athletic Bilbao.


  • Fixture: Khimki Moscow Region vs. Nizhny Novgorod (February 10, 2020)
  • Scenario: The home team, Khimki Moscow Region, was the clear favorite. Betting on Nizhny Novgorod with a 12-point handicap was offered at odds as high as 2.10-2.30. Given Khimki’s challenging EuroCup campaign, this bet on “P2 with a handicap (+12)” was well-founded. The match concluded with a score of 98-94.


  • Matchup: Novak Djokovic vs. Gaël Monfils (February 28, 2020)
  • Scenario: Novak Djokovic, the world number one, faced Gaël Monfils, with Djokovic widely perceived as the favored player. However, due to Monfils’ proficiency on hard courts and Djokovic’s demanding prior schedule, betting on Monfils with a handicap (+4.5) on games was offered at odds of about 2.10-2.30. This bet proved successful, as Djokovic won with a score of 2-1 in sets and 15-13 in games.

These examples underscore the importance of seeking value in handicaps and totals, rather than exclusively focusing on underdog wins.

Conducting Pre-Match Analysis

Betting on clear underdogs necessitates meticulous pre-match analysis. Consider the following fundamental principles:

  1. Streak of Big Wins by the Favorite: A series of commanding victories by the favorite can either increase the odds on the underdog or reduce the favorite’s motivation for a resounding win.
  2. Favorite’s Performance After Extra Workload: Strong teams often see players leaving for national duty, impacting subsequent club performances. Similarly, top players in tennis often participate in numerous matches, potentially affecting their performance.
  3. Tournament Motivation: In playoff scenarios, leading teams may not exhibit their best form in subsequent games, especially when playing on the home court of an underdog.
  4. Uncomfortable Opponents: Every team has its Achilles’ heel. Identifying matchups where a particular team consistently struggles can provide valuable insights.
  5. External Factors: Consider elements like home or away games, playing surface in tennis, injuries to key players, weather conditions, and more.

It’s crucial to remember that relying solely on a mathematical betting strategy for underdogs can lead to significant losses. How is technology affecting the online casino industry in Italy? Professionals approach underdog betting after conducting a thorough pre-match analysis.

Underdog Betting Systems

While underdog betting systems may not be foolproof, there are strategies worth considering:

  1. Underdog Home Match: Select five to ten clubs perceived as weak but who consistently perform well at home. Bet with handicaps favoring the underdog at odds ranging from 1.70-2.10.
  2. Cup Confrontations: Betting against the favorite can be advantageous, particularly when top teams field less experienced lineups in cup competitions.
  3. Backup System: Place pre-match bets on the underdog to either win or avoid defeat with odds around 4.00-7.00. If the favorite hasn’t taken the lead after a certain time period, odds for their victory will increase significantly, providing an opportunity for a cross bet. This strategy is risky but can yield rewarding outcomes.

Successfully betting on underdogs requires a deep understanding of the specific sport, championship, and tournament. Thorough pre-match analysis is the cornerstone of making informed betting decisions. With the right approach, betting on underdogs can be a profitable endeavor.

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