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betting without favourite

We independently review betting sites. Sign-ups through our links may earn us a commission at no extra cost to you, this never influences our listings’ order.

Betting without favourite is a market that takes the favourite out of the equation, leaving only the other selections to bet on. We’re going to explore how this type of betting market works and reveal everything that you need to know, to be able to wager on it successfully.

What Does Betting Without Mean?

betting without favourite

This type of market works in exactly the way that the name implies. The original favourite is removed from the market completely, as if they don’t exist.

That leaves the remaining selections, all of which will be a shorter price, once the market leader has been removed. The selection which was originally second favourite, will now be the favourite in this market, with shorter betting odds, with all the other selections having their prices shortened.

This type of market is most commonly found in horse racing betting, though it can also be available in other sports, particularly where there are strong favourites involved.

You don’t tend to see them in handicap races on the horses, which is a type of race where various weights are applied to the horses, to make the contest more even. Handicaps are applied to both flat race and jumps. If the handicap is applied correctly, there shouldn’t be an instance where there is a strong enough favourite to require that selection to be removed from the market.

Betting Without Favourite Rules – How Does it Work?

We’re now going to take a look at some typical betting without the favourite rules, to show you how this type of market works. With the original betting favourites removed, online bookmakers adjust the prices of the remaining selections, as we described.

The original favourite is no longer involved in the market, but of course, it is still competing in the actual event. Let’s imagine that we are betting on a horse race. If the original favourite wins, then the horse that you have backed in the betting without market, must finish second. The other way to win, is for your horse to win the race as a whole, beating all the other runners, including the original favourite.

Providing that there are enough runners, then each-way betting is also available. It works in exactly the same way, with the favourite removed from the equation, creating a change in which horses win and which ones place. Obviously the odds are reduced in without favourite betting, so this must be considered when placing each way bets.

Example of Betting Without the Favourite

Constitution Hill will not appear in betting without favourite markets

To further understand the betting without meaning, let’s look at an example. The racehorse Constitution Hill won the 2023 Champion Hurdle, which is a feature race at the Cheltenham Festival, at an SP of just 4/11 (1.36). He is thus favourite to retain that title in the ante-post market, at odds of 1/2 (1.5).

That gives an implied probability of 66.7% that Constitution Hill will win this hurdle race again. Many punters will be put off backing this horse at such short odds, because the return is not worth the risk. Betting each way will also suffer, because punters will consider Constitution Hill a virtual certainty to place, which will effectively reduce one of the place spots.

Closer to the event, you can be sure that betting sites will introduce a betting without Constitution Hill market. As he has a 66.7% chance of winning, that is two-thirds of the book in the regular betting. That means that we can roughly say that the betting industry on the whole, will reduce the prices of the other runners by around 66.7% / two-thirds.

So the second favourite in the current betting odds behind Constitution Hill, is Impaire Et Passe, at 6/1. If you reduce 6/1 (7.0) by two-thirds, the odds for Impaire Et Passe in the betting without favourite market on the Champion Hurdle, would be 2/1 (3.0).

Most Popular Sports for Betting Without

As we have said, it’s generally horse racing markets, where you most commonly see betting without the favourite applied. With a 7-day-a-week, 52-weeks-of-the-year schedule, you are never far away from finding a racecard or meeting where there is a very heavy favourite, which would benefit from the nominated horse being removed from the betting.

Aside from horse racing bets, you often find the favourite eliminated from betting markets where there is a very strong favourite. This can often be the case in football, particularly in outright markets such as betting on a league title winner, where there is one team that very commonly wins the league.

Manchester City have won the Premier League in five of the last six seasons. Meanwhile, PSG have won Ligue 1 in nine of the last eleven seasons and Bayern Munich have won the Bundesliga in each of the last eleven seasons. Any of these league title markets would benefit from additional markets providing betting without favourite options.

Pros & Cons of Without Favourite Betting

No evaluation of these types of bets would be complete without looking at the pros and cons. Here are the main benefits and some of the drawbacks.

Pros
  • Vast majority of odds-on favourites are winners
  • Odds without favourite can often be stronger than with place terms
  • Each way bets in these markets effectively increase number of place winners
  • Effectively acts as insurance against a potential winner finishing second to the favourite
  • Two results can result in your bet winning, increasing your chances of a potential return
Cons
  • False favourites do occur, meaning you’d be best to use the regular win market
  • If your pick beats the favourite, you’ll have missed out on potential winnings

Strategy & Tips for the Betting Without Market

It always pays to employ some betting strategy. Follow this advice and you will enjoy more betting without bet wins.

Do Your Research

You can never have enough knowledge when betting and doing your research will certainly help your profit margin. A key statistic to be aware of is that favourites generally win around 30 to 35% of horse racing events. When you look at odds-on favourites, that figure rises to around 60%. Of course, drill into these statistics and you will find that the favourites win far less often, in races that have a large number of runners. You need to come to a conclusion regarding the true chances of the favourite to win, in order to assess whether you’re making the right decision to bet on a without favourite market.

Think About Staking

If you bet in a market that excludes the favourite, the Starting Price of every other selection, will be reduced. When odds are shortened, you have to place a bigger betting stake to achieve the same level of winnings. Though there is less risk when it comes to betting without favourites, in terms of having an increased chance of winning, there could be more risk when it comes to the stake. Think about how much you want to win, how much you’re willing to risk and which type of market makes the most sense to invest in. We’d always recommend to not bet more than you can afford to lose.

Consider the Options

Betting without markets are very useful to have available. They allow you to win from two different results with a single race. Effectively, you have insurance, should your horse finish second to the favourite. Yet, it’s worth remembering that many bookies offer a second to the SP favourite insurance deal. If that’s the case, take time to weigh up which is the best option for you, which can depend upon the details of the offer and the odds involved. The same goes for the option of betting each way. Examine whether you’re better off backing a horse to win in a without favourite market, or going each way in the regular win market. It will come down to the difference between the odds adjustment without the favourite and with the place terms.

Best Bookies for Betting Without Favourite

You may now feel ready to place a wager on a betting without market. You’ll need a bookie that covers sports such as horse racing and football. Many of our recommended bookmakers and betting exchange options fall into this category. The one we’d point you towards above all others is bet365, they cover every race meeting in great detail, provide plenty of betting options and feature great odds.

Conclusion

The question of what does betting without favourite mean, has been comprehensively answered. You should now feel confident using such markets, understand how they work and when is the best time to use them. Explore our site, to find out more information regarding the meaning of common betting terms.

FAQs

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Dan Fitch
Dan Fitch
Dan Fitch

A writer and editor for some of the top names in the gambling industry for nearly 20 years, Dan also works as a freelance sports journalist for publications and websites such as ESPN, FourFourTwo and LiveScore.