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What are the factors that play a role in NFL underdog betting?
Apr 29, 2022, 5:08:00 AM

What are the factors that play a role in NFL underdog betting?

With 32 professional teams in the National Football League, there will always be parity between the favourites and underdogs. While the odds always favour the former, betting on the underdogs has borne fruit for many bettors who took the risk. 

Making wagers on the NFL can be challenging because there is solid variety in the league. You can see teams like the 2020 Kansas City Chiefs and see how much they can dominate the game. It is a tough bet to gauge at times but you can truly see that a certain team is stronger when you look at their rosters and playstyles.

While most people will be popular with the idea of favourites and underdogs, the NFL context might be lost to some people. Since you want to learn more about what makes NFL underdogs perform, let’s dive into what goes into the favourite and underdog status in the world’s biggest American football league. 

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How can a team be considered NFL underdogs? 

In the NFL, there are always favourites because they have the best players possible. They also have the unique chemistry that other teams seem to lack. Many factors get into being a good team and they are all evident because they typically have good records. Take a look at Tom Brady’s 20-year-long stint with the New England Patriots. They were rarely an underdog because they had Brady leading the team alongside head coach Bill Belichick.

Coaching, the quality of the players on the roster, and how they mix all of the qualities can be the difference between becoming a top team or a disappointing one. The favourites typically meet those lofty standards. 

On the other hand, being an underdog is quite easy to understand as well. When you look at the favourites, the underdogs don’t typically exhibit those qualities. However, you should always remember that underdogs are feisty and they can pull off surprises more than any other team. If they are doubted, you can expect that they will use that as the motivation to help them perform at their best. 

When you are betting on games, you should always remember that they will be dangerous. They will most likely give you the chance to earn more rewards because that will be the key to your bets’ success. You should not exclusively bet on the underdogs but they can become the best bets that you can make when it’s backed up by legitimate information. Now, let’s dive further into the best ways to thrive in the NFL underdog betting system. 

Always look into the odds

People will look at the odds and deem that certain teams are definite favourites. That should not be the whole truth because sometimes, the underdogs can be better than the favourites. The numbers can lie at times which is why people should look into the odds and what made it that way. 

To succeed in betting, you need to be more cognizant of the odds. You will not win your best consistently if you keep relying on the odds as your sole tool. Some people believe that the numbers attached to their wager are the be-all and end-all when they shouldn’t be. 

In the NFL’s history, there have been many underdogs who have performed well to the point that they have competed in the Super Bowl. Here are some of the best examples. 

Examples of underdog stories that worked out

    •   1999 St. Louis Rams - As the biggest longshot in all of the modern era Super Bowls, the Rams began the season as +15,000 longshots and they managed to win the Super Bowl. They were supposed to be at the bottom of the league but with the help of Kurt Warner and his teammates, they became the best team in the league.

    •   2001 New England Patriots - While Brady is widely recognised as one of the best players of all time now, he was a relatively unknown quarterback during the 2001 season. Drew Bledsoe was the starting QB at the time and when he went down with an injury, Brady stepped up and managed to lead the Pats into the Super Bowl and beat the favoured Rams team.

    •   1981 San Francisco 49ers - Similarly to Brady, Joe Montana is known as one of the best players of all time. This underdog run was what cemented him as an all-time great because this was the start of a strong era for the Niners. Their defence was lacklustre but because of Montana, they bucked the underdog status and became champions.

All of these teams are cool underdog stories that bucked the odds. You should always be mindful of the NFL teams because they can become the surprise squads that will help you thrive with your wagers.

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Who are the underdogs in the NFL recently?

The NFL is stacked with strong teams at the top of the league standings. There have been some amazing underdogs who have beaten their doubters in the current century and they have helped their fans and bettors to thrive with their support.

Here are some of the best underdogs in recent NFL history that you can use as prototypes for your underdog NFL picks in the future. 

2018 Philadelphia Eagles

In this season, Carson Wentz was playing at an MVP level for the Philadelphia Eagles. He went down with an injury that forced the coach to use Nick Foles as the main QB. They managed to make the Super Bowl where they were the heavy underdogs against Brady’s Patriots. The Eagles managed to make an end-around pass to Foles which they dubbed ‘The Philly Special’ which helped the Eagles pull off the surprise championship. 

This was an amazing story because the Eagles were under immense pressure with Wentz out. He was considered the true star of the team but when Foles stepped up to the plate, you can see that the rest of the squad was motivated to perform at the highest level. 

2016 Denver Broncos

In the 2016 season, the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers were in the Super Bowl. The Panthers were the overwhelming favourites at the time because Cam Newton was the biggest star in the matchup. The Broncos’ linebacker Von Miller managed to stop Newton and went on to become the Super Bowl champs. 

This was an amazing victory for the Broncos because most people did not anticipate them to win. According to the spread, most people believed that the Panthers were +5 favourites and some pundits even went on to say that the Broncos had little chance of winning. 

Nowadays, the Broncos are the perfect example of underdog NFL teams. Most people look at matchups now when they bet because they didn’t look further into the 2016 Super Bowl. They thought it was a foregone conclusion that the Panthers would win but the Broncos overcame the odds.

2014 Seattle Seahawks

While the Broncos would become underdogs two years later, they were the favourites to win it all in 2014. The Seattle Seahawks were the big underdogs against the Broncos but they convincingly won 43 to 8. This was an amazing performance for the Seahawks because Malcolm Smith was the disruptive star in the Super Bowl. He limited Denver to just eight points and the rest of the defensive squad managed to follow his energy as well. 

Never doubt NFL teams

When you bet on the NFL, you should not doubt any team because they can still pull off some surprising wins. They still employ some of the best football players in the world. You should never doubt their skills because they have proven their worth in past games and seasons. 

Even if you’re betting against the 2021 Jacksonville Jaguars, they are still filled with some of the best players in the world. They might not win many games but you should expect that their talent is still much better than the teams at the collegiate level. 

We have already talked about the underdog teams of the past because they can emerge from out of nowhere and become top teams. There should be a sign in earlier games that they can perform at a higher level, especially in the betting markets. You can thrive with your bets if you’re doing the right moves before making the final decisions. 

Professional players have their pride to protect as well even if they are not on the best team. You should know that certain teams will do their best to perform well because they want to improve further. The underdogs will most likely lose but if there is good data to backup your decision to bet on them, you should take them. 

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Create an underdog betting strategy for yourself

As you proceed with your NFL bets, you should also have an underdog betting strategy. You should prepare for every situation because you can win big rewards. Make sure to research the best underdog teams in the NFL and craft solid tactics so you will have a good time with your bets.

Before you even start betting, you should identify the underdogs during the season and look at how they can be used to pull off surprise wins in the future. They do not have to be the worst or best teams in the league but you should know the nuance of identifying the potential underdogs. They can be underdogs if they are feisty and they love to compete against any matchup. 

Watching the games should also be a part of any strategy because the eye test is a huge factor. If you are aware of certain underdog teams, you will most likely thrive as a bettor because you know how they play. If you are watching a game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Green Bay Packers, you should expect that the playstyle of both teams will clash since they are elite on defence and strong on offence respectively. 

If you take all of the factors into account, you will improve your chances of winning rewards. Most people would point out that the NFL is in constant flux because it is the best major league in North America in terms of parity. You should be aware of all of the teams in the league so you can thrive with your bets, especially when you learn of the rewards you can get from underdog betting. 

Betting on the underdogs can lead to major betting success

Betting on the underdogs will be beneficial to you because it will provide bigger rewards than ever before. This will be up to you because if you find a squad that can truly pull off upsets, you will succeed. 

Some people will say that the weakest teams in the league are the perfect underdogs. That is not the case because some teams are more likely to lose than others. When you look at a squad like the 2021 New York Jets, that is a tough team to bet on because they will most likely lose their games. They are still filled with top-tier players but they are not on the same level as teams like the Kansas City Chiefs or the Cincinnati Bengals. 

However, when you look at squads like the 2021 Los Angeles Chargers, you have the chance to pull off upsets. They are the perfect prototype for your underdog betting because they can still beat the best teams while also still retaining their status as a middle-of-the-pack team in the NFL standings.

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The point spread will matter

In the NFL, the point spreads are important, especially when you’re making bets. It is crucial because it gives people an idea of how much people are favoured to win the games. They function similarly to the odds that you see alongside your bets because they will give bettors the chance to learn more about the matchup that is happening. 

Since you’re partaking in underdog betting, you should know that this point spreads is the best way to learn about who’s favoured and who’s not. For example, if you make the 2021 Bengals face off against the Jaguars of the same year, you will most likely get a titanic point spread in favour of the Bengals. For you to thrive as a bettor, you should know that the point spread matters because it will factor into your bets and the overall reward system. 

You can also see the over/under markets with your point spread because that is a market that can become the saving grace if you’re betting on underdogs. Hopefully, you can look at underdog betting and thrive with the added knowledge that you saw from this guide. 

At the end of the day, NFL games will always have the favourites and underdogs. You will have to find a way to distinguish them from each other because you will thrive with all of the successful bets you make when doing so. Thankfully, you have Sportsbet as the best platform to use when you’re making your bets as it helps people have a streamlined experience, especially when they’re betting on the NFL. 

Always think of the factors that were detailed here so you won’t have to scramble in the future when you make your decisions. Don’t forget to have fun with your NFL bets as well. Good luck!

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Words: Cholo Martin

Image: Alamy



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