• The favorite doesn’t always win. When an underdog wins, that’s an upset.
  • In an upset situation, all bets backing the underdog pay out.

What is a sporting upset?

If you’ve read our introductory articles to the world of sports betting, you should know all about betting on favorites and backing the underdog.

No matter how hard sportsbooks try to predict the outcome of a game or an event, any sports fan will tell you that it very rarely goes so predictably to script. 

We’ve felt the pain…

We’ve all sat through the abject pain of watching our team lose games they never should have lost. Whether they were too cocky from the start, or never got going on the day, got sunk on the buzzer or blew the last play. We have felt the pain of loss.

But as sports fans, we live through that pain. It may take a while, but we heal. We carry on. We live to fight another day. And why?

… and the joy

Because we’ve also felt the joy of winning – the jubilation, the elation, the psycho-physiological rush. The release. The culmination, in that moment of victory, of all the pain and pleasure that we’ve experienced along the way.

Some nations are natural born winners, others live to support the underdog. It’s as integral a part of their social fabric as their value system, their system of government and the desire for human betterment.

And rarely does winning feel so good as when it’s least expected.

The underdog victory. The upset.

The upset in sports betting

Of course, backing the underdog in an upset situation will always mean a pay out.

Let’s take a look at this NFL Week 13 match-up as it appears on the Fan Duel online sportsbook:

NFL Week 13 Eagles vs Jets odds
Fan Duel odds on the NFL Week 13 match-up of the Eagles @ NY Jets

On a moneyline bet, an upset will mean the underdog bet pays. In this game, the moneyline odds are -280 on the favorite Eagles and +230 on the underdog Jets.

A $100 bet on the Jets at +230 means a payout of $330 – $230 in winnings and your original stake. A $20 bet pays out $66 ($46 and $20, respectively).

The point spread for this game puts the Jets at +6.5 underdogs at -110. If the Jets pull off the upset, your $100 spread bet pays $191.

And don’t forget, even if the upset doesn’t happen, your bet still pays if the loss is by less than 6.

The AllStar’s Betting Odds Calculator

If you’re new to sports betting it’s crucial you understand how to read American odds. But if you understand the fundamentals, no harm using our calculator to do the math for you.

Betting Odds Calculator

Quickly input your stake and odds in American, Decimal, or Fractional formats to calculate the payout for your bets.

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Upsets in Futures and Outrights

In a futures or an outright bet, you generally pick the winner of something that wont be decided until after a substantial period of time.

One of the most popular futures bets is on the Winner of the Super Bowl. But you could just as easily to bet on the winner of the Defensive Player of the Year.

Not all futures bets require a whole season the settle.

Golf is popular among bettors, often because there are so many permutations and variables that go into winning a tournament. That means they’re notoriously hard to predict – and an educated guess is almost as good as it gets. There are often good odds to be found.

Any fan knows that despite whatever happens on Moving Day, tournaments are won and lost on Sunday afternoons. And predicting with any precision beforehand who will be in the mix on Sunday is virtually impossible. As such, golf odds often cast a wide net to group those with similar levels of potential.

In futures bets, there is a much greater scope for an upset in that someone other than the one with the shortest pre-competition odds, wins.

Betting on an upset

If you have the courage of your convictions, and are convinced that on that day, the underdog will have their day, we salute you – you deserve whatever you win, at the longest odds you can find.

But we do have to caution that betting big and waiting for the huge payout on the upset may not be the wisest way to manage your bankroll if you’re looking for a new pastime in sports betting.

Flat-betting is a discipline that means betting the same amount on each wager, regardless on how wide or narrow the odds are. Your bet unit size should be between 1% and 5% or your bankroll. If your bankroll is $1000, and you set your unit size at 3%, then every wager you place should be 30% – regardless of whether or not you’re betting on the favorite or the underdog for the upset.

This strategy limits your big wins, of course… but it also limits your big losses and will allow you to stay in the game longer. If, of course, that’s what you want to do.

But no one can deny the allure of a flutter on the rank outsider; the longshot.

Because upsets happen. And occasionally longshots hit their targets.

Consistent three-putter, chip-duffer and rough-finder; suffers from extreme fade. One of The AllStar content guys. Loves/hates that one flush shot that keeps him coming back for more.