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Richard Miller
Author:
Richard Miller
Last Updated:
July 12, 2021
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This author was thoroughly tested and approved by the experts at BettingBilly.com before joining the editorial board to ensure a high content quality.
Author Bio:
 
Richard was Marketing Manager at a global bookmaker and worked in the enterntainment sector for decades before working his way up in the world of entrepreneurs. His focus areas are mainly in the fields of sports and politics. He has a Science Degree, visited Harvard University and is now our hardworking Editor-in-Chief at BettingBilly.
Richard was Marketing Manager at a global bookmaker and worked in the enterntainment sector for decades before working his way up in the world of entrepreneurs. His focus areas are mainly in the fields of sports and politics. He has a Science Degree, visited Harvard University and is now our hardworking Editor-in-Chief at BettingBilly.

Betting Favorites Explained in 2021

The easiest way to win bets when wagering is to back heavy sports betting favorites. These are players, teams, horses, and other competitors which are head and shoulders above their peers. They are more likely to win and you can benefit from this.

It's common knowledge that backing the superior side (betting chalk) can increase your wagering winnings. However, you have to be prepared to place large stakes as strong contenders come with lower odds.

What is betting on a favorite?

Backing the strongest competitor to win a game is a great way to have a winning wager most of the time. These can be top-rated athletes, exceptionally strong teams, outstanding horses, super-fast greyhounds, etc.

Let's look at a hypothetical game to explain this:

Info about the teamsProbability to winSportsbooks’ odds
Team A - Far stronger·         1st in the standings

·         play in great form

·         have quality players

90%-900
Team B - Underdog·         dead-last in the standings

·         on an endless losing streak

·         most first-choice players are injured or suspended

10%+900

It is evident from the game above that Team A will likely be victorious. They are top of the table, are in great form and have some of the best players in the league.

Sportsbooks estimate that Team A has a 90% probability to triumph and gives it minuscule betting odds of -900. If you want to make a profit of $100, you would have to bet $900. This large stake is to be expected as all heavy front-runners come with very low odds.

In contrast, Team B is the underdog. They are last in the standings, can't win to save their lives, and their best players are all out. As a result, sportsbooks think that they are highly unlikely to triumph and give them odds of +900. Odds of +900 mean that you can win an incredible amount of money on Team B winning, but this is unlikely to happen.

Types of bets

Players can back probable winners in 2-way, 3-way moneyline, and outright winner wagering markets. In all of these, one of the competitors is far superior when compared to the others.

2-way markets

A 2-way betting market means that there are only two possible outcomes to a game. It's much easier to back a top side in markets such as these as you choose the more likely of only two outcomes.

Washington Nationals -278Cleveland Indians +225

There are only two outcomes that you can back in this baseball game. If you go with the sensible choice of backing the Nationals, you should bet $278 to get a return of $100.

3-way markets

3-way markets mean that there are three possible outcomes: the home team wins, away side wins, and draw. Let's look at an MLS match to explain this:

Atlanta United -208Draw +325FC Cincinnati +475

As you can see, Atlanta is expected to triumph here and the best that FC Cincinnati can hope for is a draw. The draw outcome slightly complicates things here as it is another outcome you have to worry about.

Outright winner

You can also bet on a strong competitor to win an entire event such as a race, league, or tournament. For instance, you can back an odds-on favorite horse to triumph in a race in which he is the clear front-runner for victory.

Placing a bet on a favorite: Step-by-Step

If you understand how betting works placing a bet on the stronger side in a game is quite easy. All you need to do is go through some basic steps which are easy to remember. Here's how you can place a bet on the chalk:

Steps Box Background
  1. Pick a reliable sportsbook that offers lots of different sports.
  2. Select the sports that you love.
  3. Analyze all games.
  4. Analyze all games.
  5. Shortlist the teams/players with the highest probability to win. These are the wagering selections with the lowest odds.
  6. Find the strongest probable winners among them.
  7. Select those which represent good value for money.
  8. Back those selections with a stake you are comfortable with. Remember, front-runners for the win usually have low odds so you have to back them with a larger stake.
  9. Submit the bet.
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Usual sports for betting on heavy favorites

All sports have games in which one of the competitors is superior and one is considered an underdog. This means that you can wager on shoo-ins for the win in popular sports such as football, baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, etc. Let's look at three such games:

CompetitionHomeAway
NBAPhiladelphia 76ers -833Detroit Pistons +550
NFLPhiladelphia Eagles -244Chicago Bears +200
NHLTampa Bay Lightning -200Montreal Canadiens +170

If you are going to bet on probable winners, negative American odds will be your constant companion. As you can see from these examples, all of the home sides are expected to win and come with negative odds. The 76ers, in particular, are considered as far superior to their opponents. To get a profit of $100, you would have to bet as much as $833.

The Eagles and Tampa Bay Lightning aren't such heavy front-runners, but would still require larger stakes to make backing them worthwhile. To get a profit of $100, you would have to stake $244 and $200 respectively.

You can make much more money if you back the underdogs. However, chances are that those bets would be unsuccessful. If you place $100 on the Bears, for instance, you would get $200 as profit. Placing a bet of $100 on the Pistons returns a huge but unlikely profit of $550.

Example of betting on a favorite

Backing a front-runner usually comes with a high likelihood of having a successful bet. However, like most things related to wagering, there are exceptions to every rule.

Strong competitors will triumph in most of their games, but will sometimes have a bad day at the office and the wager will be a losing one.

Winning example of betting on a favorite

Let's say you always bet on NFL games and here's one that you fondly remember:

San Francisco 49ers -357 (superior side)Final Score

27 : 10

Minnesota Vikings +275 (huge underdog)

You staked $500 on the San Francisco 49ers to triumph against the Vikings. The game ended 27:10 for the 49ers and you made a profit of $140.

Losing example of betting on a favorite

Let's say you wagered on another NFL game:

New Orleans Saints -385 (superior side)Final Score

20 : 26

Minnesota Vikings +300 (huge underdog)

You always back probable winners so this game was a no-brainer. You backed the Saints to triumph with a substantial stake of $77 to get a profit of $20.

Unfortunately, backing the stronger side didn't pay off this time. The Saints performed poorly and once again confirmed what you already knew - front-runners aren't always guaranteed to win.

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Betting the chalk for beginners: How to bet

Backing the stronger team is something that all betting beginners can do. Even if you don't know much about football, basketball, or baseball, you can still make a very accurate prediction if you back the superior side. Here are some tips on how to get the best out of this bet.

  • Tip 1: Always check the form of probable winners before backing them. Sometimes a team may come with lower odds, but these might be deceptive if the team is in a poor run of form.
  • Tip 2: Another thing to closely follow is team news. This will tell you if the chalk is at full-strength. It is not wise to back teams that have players missing due to injuries or suspensions.
  • Tip 3: Going with professional betting tips that give you the best picks is also a must for betting beginners. These contain invaluable information about games and are often the difference between a winning and a losing wager. Our service, Billy's List, for instance, has some top-quality picks that you can instantly get when you sign up for free.
  • Tip 4: Start with lower stakes. It is best if you start small at the beginning as you don't want to be discouraged by big initial losses.
  • Tip 5: Increase bet amounts as you gain more wagering experience. Once you feel more comfortable backing strong contenders, you can slowly start to increase the stake amounts.

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Betting the chalk for professionals: How to bet

There are a couple of wagering strategies that work well when betting on strong contenders in games. These are the Kelly criterion and the flat betting strategy.

When wagering with the Kelly criterion, bettors calculate the optimal stake size for each bet. If the bet comes with low probability, the Kelly formula produces a negative value and says that there's no point in betting on it.

In contrast, if the Kelly criterion produces a positive value, it means that the bettor should back that outcome. The criterion also advises the player on the percentage of his bankroll he needs to place on an outcome.

Strong teams that triumph in most matches work well with the Kelly criterion. This is because for the Kelly criterion to work properly, you need a team with a high probability to triumph in a game. And heavy front-runners for the victory always come with high probability to win. If they also come with realistic odds, the Kelly criterion would almost certainly guarantee winnings.

Another strategy that works well with superior competitors is the flat betting approach. It stipulates that bettors should always bet a fixed amount of their bankroll on every wager. For instance, if you are betting 2% on every bet and have a $100 budget, you would place $2 on every wager.

Backing a superior side usually results in winnings. This means that if you bet flat, you can expect lots of small winnings which will accumulate over time. Moreover, you would suffer minimal losses as you always place the same stake sizes.

Betting on favorites: Try it now at one of the top 5 betting sites

Now that you know how profitable backing a superior side can be, it's time to turn that knowledge into winnings.

The best way to do this is to wager at a sportsbook that offers high odds. The 5 betting sites here work with minimal sportsbook edges and offer great odds.

 
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Conclusion: Backing front-runners pays off well
Betting professionals have built careers from backing front-runners. These strong contenders are always a much better proposition than underdogs even if they come with lower odds. They will triumph in most situations and you can benefit from this. As for the low odds, these can be countered by betting at low margin sportsbooks or by using the right wagering strategy that tells bettors how much to stake.
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