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Introduction to Contrarian Betting

/ January 14, 2021
introduction to contrarian betting

There is quite simply a huge range of possible betting strategies when it comes to sporting events.  It is important to note that there is no wholly reliable system to use in sports betting, which is by its very nature unpredictable. However, the idea of contrarian betting is often something that catches the eye of sports betting fans. In order to explain it further, it is important to understand both its philosophical underpinnings and its practical use.

So, What is Contrarian Betting?

The idea of contrarian betting is closely related to the principle of contrarian investing.  Very simply, the central idea is to do the opposite of what most other people are doing.  One of the early proponents of this tactic was the great economist JM Keynes, who reportedly made a fortune from taking a contrarian approach to his investments.  He understood that the public quite often overreacts to good or bad news impacting the market, which can lead to prices being over-inflated or rated as significantly lower than their real worth.

Many people believe in a similar approach to sports betting too.  When a team is rated as such an overwhelming favourite, there is minimal gain from betting on them, but if there is reason to believe that their opponents have a chance of winning, then the results are potentially very lucrative.

Herein lays the key to success when it comes to contrarian sports betting.  You can never hope to beat the odds.  The bookmaker sets overwhelming odds for a reason and rarely makes a mistake.  Therefore, being a contrarian is not simply about doing the opposite of what the odds tell you each time. That is a sure way to keep on losing. 

In What Circumstances Should You Make a Contrarian Bet?

What you need to do is to make a contrarian bet when you have reason to believe that the overwhelming outsider may still triumph.  This works most effectively in a sporting event with just two competitors. In a football match or boxing contest, when there are only two possible winners, there is always a chance that the outsider can win.  There are few sports fans who will forget the incredible 42-1 odds on Buster Douglas when he knocked out the legendary Mike Tyson.

When to Make a Contrarian Bet

The real key to effective contrarian betting should perhaps be referred to more accurately as statistical anomalies, rather than contrarian betting.  In other words, what you are really looking for is to make a bet on a contrary position precisely because there is some kind of insider information or statistical anomaly that gives you reason to believe your seemingly outlandish bet might succeed.  You must have a good reason to think that the odds are wrong. 

For example, perhaps a player for one team has been injured on the sidelines for several weeks or months. Most pundits may have forgotten about their existence, but you have remembered that they are one of the underdogs’ top players.  There is therefore reason to believe that this player’s comeback could make all the difference.  It is a reason to consider making a contrarian bet.  Similarly, you may know that the star player for the standout favourites played alongside his direct opponent for many years at a previous team.  Maybe the underdogs therefore possess a ‘secret weapon’ to stopping the main threat of their opponents. 

Once again, it is the kind of information that should get you to consider making a contrarian bet.  You can also use these details to inform other unlikely bets too.  If you know that one team has a new penalty kick expert, why not bet on them as the first scorer? 

More Than Just a Theory, it Actually Works

There wouldn’t be much point in placing contrarian bets if they didn’t actually bring success, but interestingly, it seems that they may well do so.

Contrarian bets can bring success

According to one study by SportsInsights.com, the findings of which were presented at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference 2012: “Sports betting data since 2003 has been studied and results indicate that contrarian methods applied to the NFL and MLB produce a positive return. In particular, the results are robust and show that betting against the public – or on the team out of favour – can yield enough positive performance to overcome the friction that sportsbooks collect.”

Indeed, Sports Insights also enables its members to access to betting trends that may help you to assess when it is the best time to place a contrarian bet. For example, if a certain match-up has more than 75% of the bets on one side, the general public may well be overvaluing that side, which may mean there is “contrarian value” to be enjoyed from taking the other side of the bet.

Why Not Try Contrarian Betting Today?

You may wonder what the point is of contrarian betting if you can simply back those high up the favourites list time and time again. However, this strategy – while giving you the warm satisfaction of having backed a winner more often – simply doesn’t translate to substantial long-term profit.

The truth is that if you want to make money on sports betting, you will need to ‘go against the grain’ from time to time to ensure that you extract the maximum possible value from the market. Truly winning at sports betting isn’t just about backing winners – it’s also about backing the right winners at the most competitive prices.

So, if you have the necessary inside knowledge, we would urge you to consider contrarian betting. However, there’s something else that’s very important if you are to place successful contrarian bets: choosing the right sports betting portal. Let Top 10 Sports Betting Sites provide you with the reviews and ratings to guide you in making the best possible choice of site.



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