If you had bet on every favourite in every horse race and sporting event ever to have taken place, you would have lost money. But that doesn’t mean that betting on favourites is necessarily the wrong thing to do.
If you’re looking to make a profit from gambling, it’s important to understand that there are good favourites and bad favourites. It’s important to know when to bet on a good favourite and when to avoid a bad favourite.
To understand what makes a favourite good or bad, you need to understand the concept of value in betting. A value bet is when you get bigger than expected at odds about selections that you think have a good chance of winning. If this selection is a favourite – then this would be described as a good favourite.
That’s not to say that all good favourites win but, if you constantly bet on favourites at bigger prices than they should be, there’s a good chance that you’ll make a profit from gambling.
What Is A Bad Favourite?
A bad favourite is when the odds available for that favourite to win are shorter than they should be, and betting on these types of favourites is what causes lots of punters to lose money when gambling. Don’t get me wrong, lots of bad favourites win, but you can’t win in the long-term from gambling if the odds are stacked against you.
Let’s use roulette to explain how you’ll lose if taking shorter odds than you should. When playing roulette, you can bet on black or red at even-money. There are 18 red and 18 black numbers, so even-money would be a fair price for red or black if there were only 36 numbers on the roulette wheel. But there isn’t, there’s also a green zero that stacks the odds in the house’s favour. That green zero means the return to player is just 97.3%, meaning that you will statistically lose in the long-term.
Bookmakers also stack odds in their favour. Take a tennis match between two equally matched players as an example. Most bookmakers will offer odds of 10/11 (1.91) on both players, making them joint favourites, but their odds should be even-money.
If you had a £10 bet on these joint favourites, you would stake £20 but would only get back £19.10 whichever player won. That £0.90 loss equates to a 4.5% loss, showing you why both these players are bad favourites.
However, if you think the bookies have priced this tennis match up wrong, and one player deserves to be much shorter odds than the other, then you might think you have found a good favourite.
What Is A Good Favourite?
A good favourite is when the odds available for that favourite to win are bigger than they should be, and betting on these types of favourites regularly is how many professional gamblers make a living. Don’t get me wrong, lots of good favourites lose, but you can win money in the long-term from gambling if you constantly bet on good favourites.
Let’s use our hypothetical tennis match to highlight a good favourite. The bookies have priced up both players at 10/11 but, despite you knowing that the bookmakers have built in a 4.5% edge for themselves, you think one of the players is still overpriced.
You’ve done your homework, and you see that the improving player already holds a 4-2 lead over his regressive but higher-ranked opponent on that day’s playing surface. These statistics suggest that one player should be 1/2 (1.50), while the other should be 2/1 (3.00). That makes the 10/11 about your fancy suddenly seem very appealing – and you know you’re backing a good favourite.
What Is A Good Favourite In Horse Racing?
Horse racing is more complex than many other sports, making it harder to work out when a favourite is a good one or a bad one. But the same principles of value still apply.
Let’s take a hypothetical horse race with five runners. The bookies are betting 5/4 (2.25) the favourite, while the other horses are priced up at 3/1, 4/1, 5/1, and 20/1. The odds of these horses add up to 110%, meaning the bookies have already built in a big advantage for themselves.
But after studying the formbook, you decide that the favourite is the only one of the five horses that has run up to anywhere near its best form on the forecast soft ground. The favourite isn’t the most consistent horse but, because it likes soft ground, you decide that the favourite should be even-money, as it will win if performing near its best but not if it underperforms.
The fact you can get 5/4 about the favourite makes it a good favourite, as you’re getting a value price. But horses aren’t machines and there’s a chance that this good favourite won’t win. But without wanting to keep hammering home the point, betting consistently on horses that are bigger odds than they should be is the best way to make a profit.
How Do I Pick Good Favourites?
Betting on good favourites is all about betting at odds that are greater than the probability of them winning, but the opinion of value, odds, and probability is subjective. On one hand, you have the opinion of the bookmakers and the on the other hand you have the opinion of the punter.
As someone who wants to make money from gambling, it’s up to you to disagree with the opinion of the bookmakers and, by doing so, you’ll be able to find value odds and good favourites.
How you come to these opinions is up to you, but most professional gamblers spend hours looking through form books and statistics, checking newsfeeds, and watching races and other sporting events for any pointers to future winners that the bookmakers might have missed.
Do Tipsters Pick Good favourites?
Yes, lots of professional gamblers pick good favourites. But many tipsters are also willing to bet on selections that are not favourites but can be backed at value odds against bad favourites.
If you find you’re struggling to find good favourites, or value bets in general, then following tips from professional tipsters can be a good way of making a profit from gambling.
We hope that’s answered your question, do you lose money betting on favourites.