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A Word About Underdogs (And Losing)

Boxing Betting: A Word About Underdogs (And Losing)

By Loot, Boxing Handicapper,

On, we base our boxing selections on value. It's not as simple as picking a winner. With odds ruling the boxing betting landscape, the key becomes to find good value. And that will mean that you're betting on a lot of underdogs. That's just the nature of the business when looking for good value.

Underdogs are usually underappreciated. The favorite is better-known, thus receiving more juice with the public. The oddsmakers acts accordingly, making the pick that people are more likely to go with less-attractive of a choice. If there is one popular and successful fighter against a more-anonymous underdog, the urge on the part of many will be to bet on the favored fighter. So the odds do not need to be that tasty.

That doesn't in any way mean to blindly bet underdogs. Again, the guiding light here is value. That could come in a variety of ways. If a favored fighter deserves to be a -400 favorite and is only -300, that would represent excellent value. Or if a favorite that we reasoned would be -1200 is only -800, that would be a time where we take the fave.

But yes, those good-value quotes are simply more likely to occur with an underdog. The known quantity is always given more credit and sometimes, more credit than they deserve. The bottom line is that we may end up betting on fighters who we think will lose. That doesn't sound like a terribly productive way to bet on boxing, does it? To bet on someone we think will lose? Bear with us for a sec.

First of all, adopt the idea that boxing betting is something that is more similar to a marathon and not a sprint. We're not in this to have a good weekend. We're trying to make boxing picks that sustain us over the long-haul. And if we are consistently taking fighters who are getting better value than they should be getting, that should spell out positive results OVER TIME.

But there can be cold stretches when betting on dogs. You see 3-4 good-value underdogs on a given weekend and lose all of them. It's discouraging. But when betting on underdogs, we need to resign ourselves to the fact that we will lose a fair amount of bets. And we might run cold for an extended period of time. But when betting on high-value underdogs, it doesn't take much to get back in the plus-column.

Because when we get on a hit-streak, it makes up for the rocky passages and then some. You could have a handful of losing weekends and one good day can make up for all that. It's important to overcome the mental drag of losing. And the way to do that is by simply acknowledging the nature of the beast. When we win, we win big. But there are going to be losses. After all, we are betting on fighters a lot of the time who are not supposed to win. We bet on them because the odds are better than what the actual probabilities are.

For the purposes of making a point, we will use some convenient math. Imagine you take five underdogs who are +700. We handicapped the fight and figured that they should be underdogs, but only at +400 or +500. In other words, we still think those fighters will lose, but we bet them anyway! Because over the long-run, betting on underdogs who should be +400 or +500 and getting +700 or better is a winning play. It just takes time to manifest. After all, they're still underdogs. They're still predicted to lose the fight. So we don't sit there necessarily expecting them to win. But we bet them because the odds we are getting surpass the real probabilities of that fighter winning.


Betting on a lot of underdogs in boxing will present the bettor with some challenges. Most of it is tied up in a bettor's patience and ability to stay the course. There can be some dry spells when betting this way. But the potential windfall is great. And it can happen in bunches, where a small handful of weekends make up for all the losing weeks. And while we have hit some big underdogs this year thus far, it's been a pretty chalky year so far, but don't stop looking for good value, as it will pay off eventually.

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