Canelo scores on Triple G / Photo credit: HBO

It is accepted that it will always be hard to make consistent profit in gambling, because every event is governed by the odds. If you want to win a lot on a single bet, you’ll need to bet on an unlikely outcome and see it come off. If you want to guarantee success – or get as close to a guarantee as possible – you’ll need to bet on very low odds, which slows any accumulation of profit. This is how odds work, and how sportsbooks for Cyprus sporting betting make their fortunes: bettors want to see a big return, so they take a bigger risk. When those risks don’t come off, and they usually don’t, the bookmaker wins.

So this may raise a question or two in your mind. What if you only ever backed the favorite? If you sit down with a set bankroll and diligently make bets on the likely winner, surely that means that over time, you’ll come out in front? It’s generally accepted that the favorite will win most of the time, so if you’re always backing the favorite, you will also win more often than not. Right? Well, that’s the theory. But it also sounds a little bit too simple to be true, so let’s drill down a bit deeper to get the reality behind the theory.

You need to choose your sport carefully

Yes, the favorite will usually win. But “usually” means different things in different sports. If you’re betting on soccer, tennis, or boxing, for example, then certainly the favorite is the smartest bet to make. In other sports, though, backing the favorite comes with greater risks. Bet on a golf major, for example, and there are around 80 other golfers who could upset the favorite. Any one of ten of those could win the tournament and it wouldn’t even register as a shock. 

Even then, the favourite can still lose

If you look at English soccer, Manchester City are clearly the best team overall. They have won the league four times in the last five attempts and have either the best, or one of the best, players in every position. After 18 games of this season – in which they will have been favorites 18 times – they have lost three games, and tied another three. In other words, once out of every three matches, they haven’t won. If you’re always backing the favorite as a strategy, then you’d have been disappointed by your returns from backing them – and this is far from an isolated outcome.

You may need to be very patient, or very audacious

So if you want to win more regularly, it isn’t just about backing the favorite, it’s about backing astronomic favorites who pretty much can’t lose. It’s easy enough to look through upcoming boxing bouts and find champions or promising up-and-comers who are facing opponents who amount to little more than sacrificial lambs. In those bouts, the favorite will be priced at -5000 or even shorter. To win even a dollar, you’d need to place $50. 

You’re not going to accumulate money fast, winning a dollar at a time; you’d probably make money faster driving for a delivery app. You could make it faster by betting more in one go, but ask yourself: Knowing what you know now, would you have put $5000 on Mike Tyson to beat Buster Douglas in 1990? And could you have afforded to wave that money goodbye when Douglas knocked Tyson out? Sure, you can make money by always betting on favorites, but it’s not a way to get rich.