In most sports you’ll find that the favourite bets pay out the most, while the underdog wins little or
nothing. This is particularly true in the UK where betting shops are considered a last resort for desperate
gamblers. However, in some sports you’ll find that the favourite doesn’t always perform well and the
underdog can triumph. Take boxing for example. It’s considered a contact sport and the human body’s
natural defense is to seek shelter from impending physical harm. This means that if you’re on the
favourite side of a boxing match, you’re more likely to get creamed by your opponent. The same goes for
wrestling, where your favourite wrestler has a great deal of trouble avoiding the humiliating defeat.
Whether you’re experienced at betting or simply want to learn more about betting odds, you’ve come to the
right place. Here’s a short guide to help you get started in betting odds.
Types Of Odds
There are four categories of odds that you’ll encounter when gambling on sports:
- Betting Odds (also known as Point Odds): These are the odds
given by the bookmaker (or betting shop) for a particular bet. For example, you might find that a $100
salad bet (where you eat a $100 portion of salad if your team wins) costs you 10/11 (1.09) that the
team will win. The first part of the odds, before the decimal point, is the fraction of the total
bet you’ll win (in this case 10/11) if your team wins. The second part of the odds (the decimal point
and the following two decimal places) is the fraction of the total bets that have been placed on your
side of the bet (in this case 1.09).
- Moneyline Odds (also known as Odds
Against): These are the odds given for a particular team in a head-to-head match against
another team. For example, Paris Saint-Germain are 10/11 (1.09) against Manchester United to win
the UEFA Champions League. This means that if you’re backing Manchester United, you’ll need to stake
$110 to win $100. However, if you’re backing Paris Saint-Germain, you’ll need to stake only $100 to
- Draw Odds (also known as No Odds): These are the odds
given for a particular team to achieve a certain result in a draw. For example, if there are no overt
contests in the Premier League this season and no team wins the title, the draw odds for the 2018-19
season will be set at 5/9 (0.56) that there will be a draw. However, if you’re picking a winner (i.e.
there’s an obvious favorite), you may be better off picking the over/under on the number of games
that will be won or lost by each team.
- Pro-Tip: There’s also an additional type of
odds that you may come across when gambling: pro-tip odds. These are the pre-game odds taken from
tipsters and popular pundits who have information about a particular match. Although these people are
not affiliated with any bookmakers, they often have very good information and their predictions can be
very lucrative if you know how to use them correctly.
How Do I Calculate The Favourite And Underdog Status?
Before you begin placing bets, you’ll need to determine who you think is the favorite and who you think
is the underdog of a particular bet or match. This is easier said than done and it often turns into
semi-scientific analysis where you weigh up the stats, form, and previous history of the participating
Here’s a simple example. Let’s say you’re betting on the Super Bowl this year and the line for
the game is New England Patriots -7 (+7) against Los Angeles Rams. According to you, the Patriots are
the favorites because they’re a seasoned team with a lot of experience, while the Rams are favoured
because of their high profile names and impressive roster.
If you look at the stats for both teams, you’ll see that the Patriots’ record is 9-3-1 while the
Rams’ record is 6-6-1. Since the 1980s, the Patriots have nearly always been the underdogs in
championship matches, with the exception being in 2017 when they were 7/10 (1.2) underdogs in the
Super Bowl against the Philadelphia Eagles. Even in that game, the Patriots’ win probability was
nearly 29% (based on the strength of the Eagles’ roster and their previous playoff performance) at the
time the game started.
On the other hand, the Rams were 8/5 (1.3) favorites in the Championship game against the New
Orleans Saints in 2017. This was partly due to the fact that the Super Bowl is considered more prestigious
than other championships, but it’s also because the Rams were a newly assembled team with a lot of
inexperience and only one returning starter on their offensive line. They were also the underdogs
against the Patriots in the first meeting between the two this year, but that was more a function of
Bill Belichick and his famous obsessiveness than any kind of actual underdog status.
As you can see, it’s not exactly cut and dried. You’ll often need to do a bit of research to figure out
who the favorite and the underdog is in each case. The same goes for the moneyline or draw odds. In
many instances, you’ll simply have to decide which team you think will perform the best overall and
win the most games. There are also other factors that may influence your decision as well, such as the
quality of the opposition or the injury status of a player. For example, if a team’s quarterback is
injured, it can have a significant impact on how effective that offense is going to be and thus, their
overall win probability.
What Are The Most Prestigious Sports In The World?
Now that you know the types of odds available and how to calculate the favorite and the underdog
positions for different sports, let’s take a look at the most prestigious sports in the world and how
to bet on them. Keep in mind that these are all probabilities and aren’t concrete facts; they simply
represent the way the betting public is leaning at this moment in time.
Here’s a list of the top ten sports based on the quality of the competition, the historical
relevance, and the betting interest. This list is going to be heavily skewed to sports that you can
bet on in the UK (or at least where there is an option to do so) because this is the only country that
I’m aware of that keeps statistics on these sorts of things:
- Arsenal Premier League (England)
- NHL (Canada)
- MLB (USA)
- Rugby Union (United Kingdom)
- NRL (Australia)
- La Liga (Spain)
- AFL (Australia)
- WBF (Germany)
- Eredivisie (Netherlands)
- NHL (Canada)
As you might guess, the big three sports in North America are baseball, hockey, and
football. They all have very competitive leagues and massive fan bases which make them attractive
sports for betting. It’s also worth noting that all of these sports have huge following in Australia
where the NRL, AFL, and soccer leagues are considered the pinnacle of sports fandom. Unfortunately,
all of these sports are also very difficult to bet on in the UK unless you’re specifically from
one of the islands or live in an American territory. For the best odds, you’ll need to look
Where Can I Bet Online?
With most online bookmakers offering a limited range of sports, it’ll be very hard for you to find
the perfect online platform for your desired sports. For this reason, you’ll need to look at the
odds available for different sports and then decide which ones you can bet on. Here are the top
British betting sites for 2018: