What Is A Longshot? Sports Betting Terms Explained

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For new users to the world of sports betting, understanding the terminology and jargon is a fundamental step. Among these terms, “longshot” stands out. In this guide, we’ll define what a longshot means in the realm of sports betting and underscore its significance.

What Is a Longshot in Sports Betting?

In sports betting, a “longshot” describes a team or participant with minimal chances of winning. Longshots relate to underdogs facing steep odds due to factors like past performance, injuries, or lower skill levels.

Understanding Odds

To fully understand the concept of a longshot, it’s essential to grasp how odds function in sports betting. Bookmakers assign odds to each team or participant based on their perceived likelihood of victory. Bookmakers grant favorites lower odds, signifying a higher likelihood of winning, while they assign longshots higher odds, indicating lower chances of victory.

For example, if a basketball team carries substantial longshot odds of +800, a $100 bet on them could potentially earn you $800 in profit if they win. However, it’s crucial to recognize that bookmakers consider such high odds as indicative of an improbable outcome.

Considering how difficult it is to accurately predict who will score the first basket of an NBA game, we could consider the example below on FanDuel a longshot. You can see the odds reflect this at +800.

what is a longshot in sports betting example on FanDuel.

Factors Influencing Longshot Status

Several factors contribute to a team or participant earning the longshot label:

Past Performance: Teams or individuals with a history of lackluster performance may find themselves categorized as longshots in upcoming events.

Injuries: Injuries to key players can significantly diminish a team’s chances of success, often leading to their longshot status.

Opponent Strength: Facing a highly skilled and dominant opponent can also boost the likelihood of a team or participant being designated as a longshot.

Betting Strategies Involving Longshots

Understanding longshots not only helps bettors identify underdogs but also allows them to explore unique betting strategies. While longshots carry higher risks, they can yield substantial rewards if successful. Here are some popular betting strategies involving longshots:

1. Value Betting: Some experienced bettors seek out longshots that they believe are undervalued by bookmakers. They look for instances where the odds assigned to a longshot may not accurately reflect their true chances of winning. This approach involves extensive research and analysis to identify potential opportunities.

2. Hedging Bets: Bettors can use longshots strategically to hedge their bets. For example, if they’ve placed a substantial wager on a favorite, they might also place a smaller bet on a longshot with attractive odds. This way, if the longshot unexpectedly wins, they can still secure a profit or reduce potential losses.

3. Prop Bets: Prop bets (proposition bets) offer a wide range of betting options beyond the final outcome of a game. Longshots can come into play when making prop bets, such as predicting which player will score the first goal in a soccer match or which team will score the most three-pointers in a basketball game.

Understanding longshots is vital for sports bettors as it informs their wagering decisions, providing insights into the risks and potential rewards associated with betting on underdogs.

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Eamonn KeenanEamonn Keenan
Eamonn Keenan, with a Digital Arts Degree from the University of Tampa, brings over a decade of sports betting experience to his role as Creative Director at BettingHero.com. Starting with Betting Hero in the Fall of 2020, Eamonn has been deeply involved in the industry, assisting customers with major sportsbook and casino operators like BetMGM, Caesars, DraftKings, and others. A self-proclaimed sports fanatic, he has a keen interest in professional hockey, MMA, NFL, NCAAB, NCAAF, and MLB. Eamonn enjoys researching teams and players to predict game outcomes, highlighting his passion for sports betting.