What does betting without favourite mean in sports betting?

Have you explored the many betting markets bookmakers have available these days? If so, you’ve probably come across some interesting options! Yet today, there is one question in particular I’d like to address. That question is – what does ‘betting without favourite’ mean in the world of online sports betting? If you’ve seen these markets before and you are thinking about betting on them, this detailed breakdown should give you the confidence to do so. At the same time, if this is a totally new concept to you, I hope that the information provided will open up new doors concerning your betting choices.

Betting Without Favourite

Yet before we begin, I should stress that not all bookmakers will have such markets available. But don’t worry, if you don’t see a betting without favourite market at your betting site, you can simply join another to explore such options. Pretty much all of the top-tier bookmakers in the UK, and indeed elsewhere in the world, will have these options for the various sports they cover. And when you’ve found these markets, you can bet on them in the same way you would with any other wager.

So, with these introductory details clarified, let’s move on to address the topic in question.

What does betting without favourite mean, and how does it work?

The beauty of this question is that you are given a rather large clue in the description. As detailed, ‘betting without favourite’ means that you are making a wager where the favourite to win is removed from the equation. By nature, such options are better suited to markets that relate to racing events and sports. For example, it’s fairly normal to find betting without favourite options for horse racing, often expressed as ‘W/O Favourite’. However, while horse racing is the most common sport that these options apply to, this is not the only sport where such markets are found.

Other sporting events that relate to cycling, running, Formula 1, and others will regularly have ‘betting without favourite’ markets for you to explore. And this is the case because, in sports that utilize racing to determine the outcome, there is never just the option of team/individual A or B to win. There can be many teams/individuals involved in racing events, but if one team/individual is heavily favoured over the others, and it seems unlikely that anyone else will win, this market then becomes highly enticing.

This is true because if a market without the favourite wasn’t offered, that particular event might not attract any betting activity at all – bad for bookmakers! 

Betting without favourite markets in action – a detailed example

Okay – you should now be aware of how betting without favourite markets work to some degree. And you should definitely know what this bet means, assuming you read through the entire section above. However, I feel it’s necessary to provide a quick example so that you can have a reference when you start to explore such options on your own. So on that note, let me create a hypothetical horse race where you want to bet without the favourite in play. Here are the runners and prices that we will work with for this example:

  • Horse A – 1/2 Odds
  • Horse B – 4/1 Odds
  • Horse C – 5/1 Odds
  • Horse D – 9/1 Odds
  • Horse E – 10/1 Odds

In this five-horse race example, there is clearly one horse that is stacked over the others. Horse A has odds of 1/2, meaning you’d have to risk £100 in an effort to bag a £50 profit. As for the others, they are far off the odds of Horse A. Yet in order to explore the ‘betting without favourite’ market, remember, you must believe that one horse can either beat the favourite or finish second. That’s because, in either of these situations, your wager would win.

But if Horse A wins and your chosen horse doesn’t finish 2nd, your wager would lose. Finally, you should know that when exploring the betting without favourite markets, since the bookie is giving you a better chance of winning your bet, the respective odds will shorten for each horse who is competing. 

Betting without favourite options in other sports

I’ve stressed throughout that these markets are best suited to racing sports, and horse racing is a prime example of that. However, you can access these markets for other sports; only the style and elements involved are different. Specifically, if you choose to explore these options for other sports, they mainly relate to outright betting markets rather than individual events, for the simple fact that individual events often have just two teams or individuals involved. So, how would this be exercised in the real world?

Well, a prime example would be the outright markers for the English Premier League. Assuming Manchester City were heavily favoured to win the title, which they often are, you could use a ‘betting without favourite’ market. In this example, you’d go for the team you think will finish second or even beat Manchester City to the title.

Avatar of Gavin Davison
Gavin Davison

Gavin is a full-time copywriter based in the UK and has developed in-depth knowledge of the igaming world by working in the betting industry for over five years. During this time, he has written thousands of articles covering various topics, including bookmaker reviews, ‘how to’ guides, bonus comparisons and much more.