Betting the underdogs: A season-long experiment in hope and money lines

nfl gamblingI’m going to try a little experiment this year.

If I had any balls at all, I’d put my money where my online wagering account is and do this thing for real but considering the fact this experiment could cost me upwards of $2500, I’m going to keep it all on paper for now.  Besides, the next person to find a fatal flaw in Las Vegas’ odds making will be the first.

As you all know, the NFL season brings with it an enormous spike in gambling.  The American Gaming Association estimates that nearly $400 billion is bet on the NFL every year… and that’s probably conservative.  So in other words, for five months out of the year, we wager the equivalent of Barbados’ GDP on a sporting event and that doesn’t include what we gamble away on other sports.

Every week, Las Vegas releases their favorites and underdogs for that particular slate of NFL games based on the information they have at hand.  Personally, I love betting underdogs.  These wagers don’t always hit but when they do, they pay out nicely.  I call it my “Any Given Sunday” philosophy.

What I thought I’d do this season is track how many underdogs win and bet ten bucks a game across the board on them without fail.

So for example, if the Miami Dolphins are +160 underdogs, I would place ten theoretical dollars on them to win.  If they win, I’m up $16.  If they lose, I’m down the ten.  I’ll do this for every underdog all season long, seeing how much of my hard-earned money Vegas would stand to make off me or vice versa.

SportsbookWould I win more money early in the season when odds makers hadn’t yet figured out the teams or later in the season when teams are desperately trying to make the playoffs?  Will there be any trends we can spot?  In those oddball weeks when a number of dogs pull off upsets, what’s the most we can make and will that make up for what we lose when the favorites dominate?

Let’s not kid ourselves.  There are no trends or at least none we can spot with any certainty.  But I think this exercise will teach us how much money can be made, or lost by, strictly betting underdogs to win.  I’ll also be looking at how many favorites win and how many favorites win but don’t cover.

To make this exercise a touch more interactive, I’ll be awarding a SportsChump t-shirt to the reader who best guestimates how much I would win or lose by strictly betting this way all season-long.  List your dollar amount in the comments section below.  Closest to that number gets the swag.

This could get interesting.  Hopefully we’ll all learn something in the process.  Here’s hoping I don’t kick myself for not actually placing the wagers.  Odds are I won’t.

See ya’ in Week one!

Total won/lost weekly: $0

Total underdogs that won: 0

Total favorites that won: 0

Total favorites that won but didn’t cover: 0

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12 Replies to “Betting the underdogs: A season-long experiment in hope and money lines”

  1. I won’t snow on your parade but using an old cliche you’re dogs are barking up the wrong tree. That’s from a historical database. The profit lies between the bid and ask. IOW favorite -350, underdog +250. Don’t get me wrong you could grind out a small profit but you’ll need plenty of different outs to get the best price. Yeah, I know you gotta find out for yourself.

  2. The NFL loves the season and all of the action it brings . Yet they’re the first to make this all adverse for the bettors out there with their unwillingness to let those making the wagers know of injuries on the franchises until forty-eight hours before a game. Do you believe it plays a role in the monies being bet on a game dependent on the importance ?

  3. Al…

    Every last inkling of information is crucial to not only people placing their bets but also the lines Vegas sets.

    Trust me, Vegas knows more than us and always will.

  4. Think so, Bets?

    I mean, I would never do it anyway. You know how I bet. I’d rather look at the lines, find a mistake, put two dogs together and hope it hits big.

    But I can only assume my losses on the season would be greater than two bills.

    I guess we’re about to find out.

    Let’s hope Vegas isn’t reading.

  5. You’re gonna kick yourself if this shit ends up in the black and you don’t bet…Which you won’t.

  6. Pingback: Upset specials in the NFL | Sports Chump

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