What Is An Underdog? Sports Betting Terms Explained

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In the realm of sports betting, the term “underdog” holds a distinct place. It characterizes the team or participant perceived with a lesser chance of winning in a sporting event. People often attribute this label to competitors facing odds stacked against them due to various factors.

Understanding the Underdog

To better understand the concept of an underdog in sports betting, let’s look at how it operates:

Key Characteristics: The underdog is typically associated with characteristics such as being less favored, having lower odds, or facing challenges that make victory less probable.

Contrast with Favorite: In contrast to the favorite, who is the team or participant expected to win, the underdog is viewed as the team or participant with lower prospects of triumph.

Underlying Factors: Several factors contribute to a team or individual being labeled as an underdog:

  1. Past Performance: Teams or individuals with a history of poor performance may receive the label of underdogs in sports betting.
  2. Injuries: Injuries to key players can significantly impact a team’s chances of winning and lead to their underdog status.
  3. Opponent Strength: A powerful opponent can also label a team or participant as an underdog.

Betting on the Underdog

In the world of sports betting, underdogs hold a unique appeal for some bettors. Betting on the underdog can lead to higher potential payouts due to their less favorable odds. If the underdog wins, the bettor stands to win more than they wagered.

Here you can see an example with unranked Rutgers playing against the number one team in the country, Ohio State. Rutgers here would be the underdog carrying +750 moneyline odds on BetMGM.

Underdog example on BetMGM

Significance in Betting

The underdog plays a crucial role in sports betting for several reasons:

  1. Potential for Upsets: Underdogs have the potential to defy expectations and secure surprising victories, which can lead to substantial payouts for bettors who back them.
  2. Varied Betting Strategies: Understanding the underdog concept allows bettors to adopt diverse betting strategies, including pursuing value bets with favorable odds.
  3. Balancing Act: Sportsbooks aim to attract bets on both the favorite and the underdog to balance their books and reduce risk.

In summary, understanding the notion of an underdog is fundamental in the world of sports betting. It represents the less likely victor but entices those who foresee an upset with significant payouts. Whether picking the favorite or gambling on the underdog, this concept significantly shapes your sports betting experience.

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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.