Sports handicappers fall into one of two categories: some love underdogs and some love favorites. The thing is – each side makes a compelling case.
Because you get plus odds on underdogs, betting them allows more room for error. Forget that magical 52.4% mark, betting dogs straight-up will allow you to live a very comfortable lifestyle with a relatively low win rate.
If betting spreads is more your thing, underdogs give you a nice cushion. As the old adage goes, there are 3 things that can happen in a game: the favorite wins and covers, the favorite wins but doesn’t cover, the dog wins. 2 of these 3 mean profit for underdog bettors.
Favorite-lovers enjoy the fact they are wagering on the better team (supposedly). Favorites are especially intriguing in the NBA. Basketball is the only of the 4 major sports where the winning team is likely to increase their lead late.
Think about it. In football, the winning team normally allows the trailing team to score a garbage time TD while they sit back in soft prevent D. In baseball, the winning team will let the trailing team score in the last inning because securing outs is the most important objective at that point.
Basketball is different. The trailing team routinely fouls to extend the game. The winning team must keep shooting because of the shot clock. It is not uncommon for a team to take a 2-point lead into the last minute and win by 6 or 8.
I’ve been suckered into a few basketball bets where I tried to cover more points than I should of, thinking my team would pull it out with late free throws. Sometimes those free throws just don’t happen.
It appears plenty of bettors have experienced the same regret in the NBA this year. I consider “small favorites” to be teams favored by less than 3 points. Small favorites have performed terribly in 2019-20.
Despite being the better team on paper, these favorites have lost more than they’ve won. A 44.1% SU win percentage is devastating to a bankroll. Keep in mind you must lay odds when betting on favorites SU. The losses drain you quickly.
A 38.4% ATS win rate is terrible. A $100/game bettor on small favorites ATS this season would be down $3,670.
Here is a chart displaying how a few other line ranges have performed this season.
|Line||ATS (%)||SU (%)|
|-0.5 to -2.5||48-77-2 (38.4%)||56-71 (44.1%)|
|-3 to -5.5||117-97-4 (54.7%)||146-72 (67.0%)|
|-6 to -8||71-74-4 (49.0%)||115-34 (77.2%)|
|Total||236-248-10 (48.8%)||317-177 (64.2%)|
Favored teams as a whole have not been profitable in 2019-20. Favorites in the 3 to 5.5-point range are doing quite well but 6 to 8-point faves are -EV. Looking at -0.5 to -8 favorites as a collective group – they are bad bets right now.
Double-digit favorites have fared well ATS this season, but I don’t like giving away too many points in any sport. If you like to bet small NBA favorites … stop!
Small underdogs are hot right now!! Jump