What is an outright bet?
An outright bet is a bet placed on the outcome of an entire league or competition as opposed to a single bet on an individual game or event.
Bettors can place an outright bet before the competition commences but markets are often open whilst the competition is taking place.
When does long-term betting offer value?
Long-term outright bets are useful for locking in value on teams whose odds may fluctuate over the competition. As an example a bettor may consider the strength of the Real Madrid to be underrated by betting markets. If this was the case the market would correct fairly quickly on a match-to-match basis.
By betting on Real to win that season’s Champions League outright rather than betting on each individual match the bettor locks in value which may otherwise quickly diminish.
This is not to say that outrights always offer value however. It is not uncommon to see better odds on betting individual events over the outright. One extreme example is an infamous bet placed on Tiger Woods to complete a clean sweep of the golf majors (after winning the 2019 Masters) at 101.0. This price was taken despite the fact that some sportsbooks priced Woods at 11.00 to win the PGA Championship alone.
Assuming this is indicative of the odds Woods will be priced at the further two major events the odds the bettor could achieve by just rolling over winnings into the outright for each event would be in the 1300.00 range, a payout 13 times larger than taking the future on the clean sweep. That’s without considering the chance that Woods may miss an event through injury.
This effect is similar but more difficult to calculate when betting on more conventional outright markets. Could the bettor secure better odds by utilising his bankroll betting on individual events?
Another consideration is opportunity cost. A profitable bettor will likely be able to use his bankroll more effectively over the course of a Premier League season, for example, than simply betting on the outright winner at the start of the season.
Hedging an outright bet
It is usually possible to hedge an outright bet but on some occasions it can be difficult to do so. In competitions involving only two competitors or markets where a “not to win” selection is offered it is as simple as hedging a normal bet, albeit sometimes over a longer time period. Read how to hedge a bet for more information.
- Read: Cash out betting
Where hedging becomes more difficult is if multiple selections can win the event, or the odds on the selection are so high that large sums are required to hedge the bet. Bettors should consider their exit options prior to placing the bet in this case.
In most cases hedging requires a cost, whether that’s the high margin on a Cashout, commission or a bookmaker’s margin for the second time. It is likely better to allow the bet to run its course in the long run.
Making outright betting predictions
When making a prediction on an outright market a bettor should be looking for a selection that will not just offer value but also offer value above and beyond what that bettor can do with the money in the meantime.
Betting on outrights may actually provide one of the more realistic ways to find value bets. This is because of the opportunity cost associated with placing a long term outright bet. Bettors capable of finding positive expected value bets consistently would be unwise to tie up their bankroll over an extended period of time, possibly leaving the market relatively less efficient due to a delay in signalling.
This can cause a lag in the odds movement that otherwise wouldn’t exist. For example in the summer of 2017 PSG could be bet on as high as 21.00 in the Champions League outright market.
These odds remained available despite the odds on PSG signing two superstar players (Neymar and Kylian Mbappe) shortening significantly. Logically the developments involving their transfers should have followed through to the PSG’s outright odds, since the acquisition of such players would improve their Champions League chances. However it took a while for the market to react accordingly, and by the end of the Summer PSG were available at a highest price of 11.00.