Why Bet Favorites Early and Underdogs LateJosh Bailey
For years there has been a popular NFL betting strategy that bettors should take favorites early and underdogs late. Since 2003, 80% of the public bets have come in on the favorite. That is a huge number. Keeping with the bet favorites early/bet underdogs late NFL betting theory 80% of NFL bets on the favorite will essentially push the underdog spread further into the stratosphere thus making it a more valuable NFL bet.
Should you follow this convention? Keep reading for the answers.
Why NFL Bettors Take Favorites Early and Underdogs Late
Although it’s not an absolute given, favorites in NFL games are often times bet early while underdogs are bet late. There are a lot of reasons for this. Some of those reasons are obvious. While some of the other reasons have taken some thought.
Fans, casual punters, bet on NFL spreads early
Fans bet early. Most bettors, non-professional anyhow, look towards the favorite when they first handicap a game. So, if the Green Bay Packers are at -3 over the Minnesota Vikings, the non-professionals assume that the Packers must be the better team. Why would they be 3 point favorites?
Green Bay Packer fans are going to jump all over the Pack at -3 over Minnesota. The reason being is because the fans, as opposed to professionals, bet on their team almost as soon as the line comes out.
Expanding this theory into the science of the brain. The casual NFL bettors prefer taking winning teams, and overwhelmingly put their money on favorites. Therefore NFL oddsmakers can accurately anticipate one-sided action from public bettors, and they react by shading lines to force “square” bettors to take bad numbers when playing the popular side of a game.
Since sportsbooks know that they will receive public money on the favorite in nearly every game, many bettors believe that it’s best to wait until the last moment before placing a wager on the underdog. Hypothetically, this would ensure that bettors are able to get the best line possible which is particularly crucial when the game opens near a key number.
NFL Underdogs are naturally tough to bet
The natural inclination is to bet on the favorite. This is just something that most human beings who bet on sports are wired to do. The reason for this is because most sports bettors, the non-pros anyhow, aren’t looking for value. They just don’t want to lose money. It takes a lot for the average sports bettor to really do his homework in regards to Cam Newton’s stats on artificial as opposed to realr grass. So, if Newton and the Panthers show up as the dog once the line is set, they’ll jump all over the other team. Again, the Panthers have to be underdogs for a reason, right?
Professionals want to make sure that all of the other money has gone on the game
Super Bowl 50 is a classic example of this. Carolina opened as a -4 point favorite. Within hours, the Panthers were at -4.5. Within 2 days of the Super Bowl line being set, the Panthers were -5.5 point favorites. The Panthers were a -6.5 point favorite for some time until professional NFL bettors jumped in. The day of the Super Bowl, Carolina went down to -3.5 point favoritism at in some sportsbooks before settling at -4 to -4.5 in most sportsbooks. Professionals like to wait until making their wager because they’re always looking for value bets, not just to bet.
Betting on NFL favorites is popular
I read somewhere that the public, non-professional NFL sports bettors, have wagered on the favorite 80% of the time since 2003. That’s a pretty strong trend. What it means is that the general public loves to bet on the favorite. While the public loves to bet on the favorite, the professional waits to see where the betting line goes. That’s why professionals, more often than not, end up taking the points in games, like many of them did in Super Bowl 50.