In sports, when a team is ranked number one or has a perfect record, every other club wants to play the spoiler. If you beat the top-ranked team in college football or basketball, you’re in the spotlight, and your stock will rise. In the pros, if you’re the lowly team that can ruin a club’s perfect record, you may not make the playoffs, but you’ll have certain bragging rights that no other team has.
Of course, all of this leads to a simple question: When is the right time to bet on the underdog? To answer this question, you must take into consideration a number of contributing factors.
Who’s Number One?
Often the question in college sports is, “Who really is #1?” One of the things that underdogs love to do is prove that the top ranked team is overrated. Often, inferior teams feel as though they have the talent and skill to defeat the undefeated club.
A team that has been undervalued, overlooked, or disrespected will often find a way to battle a top-ranked team – sometimes resulting in a surprising victory. This is true in both college and the pros. In professional sports, football is the only game where you’ll find an undefeated team late in the season, but in basketball, baseball, and hockey, you will have dominant teams that go on long winning streaks. Often this major force will fall to the unlikeliest of opponents.
Is an Upset Imminent?
For the sports bettor, the major task is to determine if a situation is good for an upset. That’s not always easy to do. One thing to remember is that no matter what – whether a team is undefeated or has lost ten in a row – you must always handicap the games that are going to be played. A team’s undefeated record is not the only indication that they will have future success.
When searching for possible upsets, look for vulnerable teams exhibit at least one of the following:
- Over confidence
- A focus beyond the upcoming game
- A disrespect for their opponent
- A key injury
- A long road trip
- A big game or series at home
Strong teams that are headed for defeated often start to make sloppy plays or show signs of being undisciplined. Team members may be partying a bit too much or basking in the glow of victory and the media a bit too long. In essence, the team is losing focus.
The Spread and the Non-Upset
One thing for every sports bettor to consider is the spread in relationship to a possible upset. What bettors are looking for in this situation is not an outright win, but the chance that the underdog will keep the game close enough to cover the spread. This often occurs when the spread is fairly large. When it is twelve points or higher, and you know the team can keep it close, this will be a great bet.
Look for teams that can keep it close. Often you’ll find an important discrepancy or two when you’re doing your matchups. Also, consider this: the general betting public is going to bet on the favorite and the bookmakers know this. Less cash will be put on the underdog. The books will want the underdog to win by the spread, as they will see a windfall from it. Carefully analyze the spread, determining if it isn’t just a tad too high. If betting in this way, find the book that is offering you the most points.
The Undefeated Team is Rare
In the NFL, NCAA basketball and football, the chance that any team will go undefeated is extremely rare. The savvy sports bettor will look for signs that a premium team, perhaps the best team in the nation or league, is about to suffer an unexpected defeat. Always remember, no matter how good a team is, they are never perfect, and in the game that they play, anyone can make a mistake. Mistakes can start to add up for any club and eventually equal defeat. Try to exploit that possibility when sports betting.