Back the Favourite Trading Strategies

Back the Favourite Trading Strategies are often overlooked by sport trading beginners as they think backing favourites is what mug punters do so it should be avoided.

However, backing the favourite at the right odds can be a great way of generating long term profits from sports trading.

I am a great believer in the efficiency of the Betfair odds at the start of a football or tennis match and I try to deploy strategies in play that are in line with the pre-match odds e.g. if a heavy prematch favourite goes two goals behind early in the first half, I see this as an opportunity to back the favourite as there is plenty of time for the favourite to get back into the game.

This article will primarily look at backing the favourite in football and tennis but you can equally apply it to other sports.

Back the Favourite Trading Strategies
Back the Favourite Trading Strategies

When Should you Back the Favourite in Football?

The key to making a back the favourite strategy work is choosing the right time to back them. You will rarely get value odds on a favourite if you back them before the start of the match as the odds on Betfair will reflect the probability that the favourite will win so it will be very hard to be profitable over the long term by backing the favourite at the start of the match.

It is much better to wait until the odds on the favourite increase during the game. Below are some examples of when you could enter a back the favourite trade.

0-0 at halftime

If the score is 0-0 at halftime, then this can be a good opportunity to enter a back the favourite trade as the odds on the favourite will have drifted from its starting price.

Before entering a trade, I would recommend that you check out stats from the first half to make sure the favourite is playing like one.

Key stats to look out for are, how much possession of the ball did the favourite have in the first half (anything above 60% is a good sign that the favourite is dominating play) and how many shots on target the favourite has had so far (I usually look for the favourite to have had at least 3 shots on target and their opponents no more than 1).

I have found backing the favourite when they are level at half time to be a good entry point as statistically there are usually more goals scored in the second half of football matches and players usually get the hairdryer treatment for not scoring in the first half.

When the Favourite goes 1 goal behind

When an underdog scores first, then the odds on the favourite should shoot out.

However, if the goal is scored very early in the game, then the odds might not increase as much as you might think as the market believes there is plenty of time for the favourite to make a comeback.

In situations like this, I will only back the favourite straight away if the goal was against the run of play.

Otherwise, I will wait a few minutes to see how the favourite reacts to going a goal down.

If I see that the favourite is dominating the possession and the underdog is sitting on their lead, then I will look to enter a trade by backing the favourite.

When the Favourite goes 2 goals behind

This is probably my favourite way to back a favourite as it is a low risk high reward trading strategy that pays off more frequently than you might think.

Once the favourite goes 2 goals behind, then the odds available on the favourite will offer very good value when compared to the prematch odds on the favourite.

I only use this trading strategy if the underdog takes the 2 goal lead in the first half as I have found it is more likely the favourites will pull back at least one goal.

I probably miss out on a few opportunities by doing this but I am happy with the hit rate I achieve.

One word of warning I would give on this entry point is that this strategy is very well known in the sports trading community and often the odds to back the favourite or lay the underdog will be higher than they should be.

When Should you Back the Favourite in Tennis?

My main tennis trading strategies revolve around backing the favourite as it has provided me with good profits over the years with tennis players like Djokovic, Federer and Murray coming back from two sets down to win on multiple occasions.

Similar to football matches, you will rarely get value backing favourites in tennis at the start of the match so it is better to wait until the odds on the favourite have increased in play.

When the Favourite’s Serve is Broken in the First Set

Favourites often start off slow and can sometimes lose their first service game.

This can be a good entry point as quite often the favourite will get more into the match and will break back before the end of the set.

When the Favourite Loses the 1st Set

This is my favourite entry point for my back the favourite strategy in tennis.

Once a favourite that I believe will end up winning the match goes 1 set down, I will back them to win then hedge out for a profit if they break serve first in the second set.

Sometimes, the underdog will break first in the second set as well and I will have to hedge for a loss.

However, over the long term, this has been a profitable strategy for me.

When a Men’s Favourite is 2 Sets Down in a Best of 5 Sets Match

This is a low risk high reward strategy that involves backing the favourite once they have gone 2 sets down in a best of 5 set match.

5 set matches are only played in Men’s grand slams e.g. Wimbledon so there will be tremendous pressure on the underdog in the third set.

This often gives the favourite an opportunity for the favourite to get back into the match and for us as sports traders to lock in a profit if the favourite wins the third set.