Promotion Banner

The State of The Underdog 5 Years After PASPA: How Recreational Bettors Have Changed Perception

The State of The Underdog 5 Years After PASPA: How Recreational Bettors Have Changed Perception article feature image

(Photo by Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

It’s been five years since the Supreme Court permitted sports betting across the United States with the repeal of PASPA. 

There are now more recreational bettors than ever before as waves of new bettors have added sportsbook apps onto their phones and begun betting. That has led to new trends surrounding underdogs.

Action Network’s Director of Research, Evan Abrams, and Tim Kalinowski joined Action Network Podcast host Brendan Glasheen on Monday to discuss the state of the underdog. 

Abrams started with an observation about the 2023 MLB season.

So far this season, there have been 39 underdogs at +200 or higher. We’ve only seen this many underdogs, at this point in the season once, since 2005 — 2018. Those 39 underdogs went 7-32 and a $100 bettor would be down $1,700, which is double the losses of any start to the season since 2005.

Since PASPA passed in 2018, there have been 68 underdogs of +300 or higher. From 2005 to 2018, there were only 56 underdogs of +300 or higher.

Abrams then dove in on how certain teams have become outliers to the rule. The Oakland Athletics are the best example right now. They can’t stop losing as a major underdog and just aren’t worth betting.

“If I like betting big dogs, there are certain teams I have to avoid,” Kalinowski said.

The NHL has been very similar to MLB. The average for +200 or more underdogs in the NHL was around 100 games a year from 2005-2020. This year, there have been 254 and last year there were 262.

Pre-PASPA, NHL dogs of +200 or higher had an ROI of about 2%, Abrams said. After PASPA, dogs of +200 or higher have an ROI of -6%. So as the underdog numbers get higher, they are also losing more games.

Of the four major sports, MLB and NHL are moneyline sports while NBA and NFL are spread sports. The spread sports are not seeing nearly the same underdog trends as the moneyline sports.

In fact, the opposite is happening.

Post-PASPA NBA underdogs of +200 or more have a 3% ROI, while pre-PASPA it was a -4.5% ROI. Underdogs are winning much more frequently in the NBA.

It is similar in the NFL where underdogs hit at a 56% rate against the spread during the regular season.

Underdogs have gone in different directions in the moneyline sports and the spread sports, though you’ll have to listen to the rest of the podcast to understand why.

Listen to the podcast in full here.

How would you rate this article?

This site contains commercial content. We may be compensated for the links provided on this page. The content on this page is for informational purposes only. Action Network makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the information given or the outcome of any game or event.