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7 Reasons You Shouldn’t Fuss Over the Underdog


Losing sucks. It’s even worse when you bet the favorite that would win easily, and you had to deal with the underdog covering the spread in the final minutes of the game.

And if you bet on Alabama to cover that big spread against Notre Dame during the Rose Bowl, chances are, you’re lamenting over what could have been—especially if you’re a high roller and lost a big one. 

But there’s always good that comes out of losing, and today’s post will show you what is still right in your life, even after you lost a big bet. 

So, let’s cool it with the should have, could have, would have, and bring ourselves back to a rational state of mind. 

Do you need a few reasons?

Read on for seven reasons you shouldn’t fuss over the underdog covering a spread in the last minutes. 

1 – Follow the Sage’s Words

Who’s the sage? It’s any coach who handled losing a big game well or a poker player who handled losing an all-in hand well. 

Bill Cowher summed it up better than anyone following his Pittsburgh Steelers loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl XXX: “Sometimes, you win. Sometimes, you lose.” 

So, unless you’re a perpetually losing sports bettor — which you’re probably not if you’re reading this post — remember that you ain’t winning every bet. 

And here’s another phrase of wisdom, this one coming from myself: You can’t control how the two teams play. So, if you ultimately can’t control it, why are you so hung up on it?

Remember, you will win some big ones, but you will also lose some big ones. And while most of us hate hearing the truth, the truth usually brings about a sense of rationality in us. 

2 – It’s a Learning Experience

The beauty about losing a bet to an underdog covering the spread is that you don’t even need to chalk up the loss as a loss. Instead, you can chalk up the “loss” as a learning experience. 

Instead of win or lose, it’s win or learn. 

What did you learn during the underdog’s covering of the spread?

Perhaps the game was a blowout to the point where the favorite went into prevent defense during garbage time. Or better yet, maybe the underdog tried something that worked, and the favorite wasn’t prepared to stop the potential game plan. 

When we lose, we often learn. Like when Notre Dame was down 31-7 late in the contest, Alabama was just trying to keep their boys fresh for who we discovered would be Ohio State in the National Championship. 

Most college football playoff games are close games. We know this. Perhaps you learned it’s safer to bet the underdog with such a wide spread — even if the underdog is a program who had no business making the college football playoff. 

3 – Your Loss Is a Small Tragedy

I don’t need to rehash the hash that was 2020, but if it taught us anything, it’s that our petty losses such as losing to an underdog is a minor tragedy compared to what else is going on in the world. 

Have you ever heard the saying, “a first-world country problem?”

Losing a bet epitomizes it unless you bet all of your assets, your house, and your means of transportation. So, if you lost $100 on a bet, it blows. But compared to the rest of the issues in the world today, it’s a small tragedy that affects you and perhaps your family if you guaranteed dinner if you won the bet. 

Okay, so the restaurant lost a reservation and your family or friends lost out on a fancy dinner. Still, it’s a minor tragedy in the world. 

This section isn’t meant to guilt trip you. A small tragedy is one you can bounce back from with relative ease. It’s almost like saying, “Okay, I lost that round. Now, let’s go out there and do more research to win the next one.” 

This leads us to the fourth point. 

4 – A Loss Won’t Break You

Barring extreme circumstances, losing a bet won’t break you, especially if you bet a minor amount of money. As with the third subheading, knowing a loss probably won’t break you is nothing more than a minor tragedy in your life. 

And you can think of a few things that may break you. For example, if your car breaks down or if you lose your job, the break potential is there. If you lose a bet to the underdog, especially smaller bets, don’t fuss over the fact that you won’t use the money toward buying a meal at your favorite restaurant. 

Sure, the loss will sting for an evening, especially if you had plans. But the loss is nowhere near the end of the world. 

5 – Use the GLAD Technique and Focus On It

GLAD is an acronym for Grateful, Learned, Accomplished, and Delighted. 

And you can make a winning bet that even in the face of that underdog covering the spread against the favorite, you found something to be grateful for. You learned something, accomplished something, and something delighted you. 

You can use this strategy any time you lose an important bet or even one you wagered a lot of money. 

So, how does it work?

Start with “G.” What were you grateful for during the day? Maybe going to the gym or that your work phone stayed silent?

What did you learn? A new word in Estonian or the draft position of your favorite NFL team?

What did you accomplish? A workout, five lessons in a new language, successfully memorizing the first verse in the latest Blackpink hit.

What delighted you? A cloudless day, winning two smaller bets, seeing a sale for your favorite entrée at your favorite restaurant. 

As you can see, you don’t need to limit yourself to just one word or phrase per topic. Use the GLAD technique if you didn’t finish strong on your biggest bets. 

6 – Remember Garbage Time Is a Thing of the Present

The primary catalyst for an underdog covering the spread in the last minutes is the advent of garbage time, especially if the favorite has no real reason to run up the score. And in the Alabama-Notre Dame contest, the Crimson Tide had nothing to gain from running the score up or in stopping the Irish.

So, they did what any normal team would do. They went into prevent defense and they allowed Notre Dame to march down the field and score. Sure, it affected bettors across the nation and it may have affected you. 

But remember that garbage time can turn a spread upside down and work in favor of the underdog. In the Alabama-Notre Dame showdown, this was the case.

Before every bet, look at the spread and the overall difference in team talent. The larger the spread during a higher stakes game, the lesser the likelihood a favorite will cover it. 

The larger the spread during a game of two unequal teams, like Ohio State vs. Youngstown State, the greater the likelihood the favorite covers the spread with ease. 

7 – Remember Those Big Wins

You can relate this one to the GLAD technique, but remember the betting strategies you used to get those big wins and forget the losses unless you have something to learn from the loss. For example, it’s highly unlikely a 19.5-point favorite will cover the spread during a playoff game. 

Other than the learning experience you will receive from the loss, remember those big wins and you should also remember that you will see some more big wins in the future if that one measly loss didn’t send you into sports betting retirement. 

In fact, keep a log of those big wins and pull out that log anytime you need to remind yourself of the goods after facing a tough loss. This is especially helpful if you lost big because the underdog covered the spread at the last minute. 

If you haven’t started a log of your biggest wins, start one this instant! Write about those you remember the most. And don’t just list the game and the score. Provide a detailed description of each, and it will remind you that one loss or even a big loss won’t break you. 


Losing in real money sports betting because the underdog covered the spread in the last few minutes blows, especially if you placed a decent-sized wager. But the world isn’t over after a loss. 

In fact, your loss is a minor tragedy compared to many others out there. You also won’t win every bet, and almost every loss comes with a valuable learning experience, even if you hate to admit it. 

A loss is a loss, and it won’t break you. Use the GLAD technique, and start a log that will help you remember those big wins as opposed to those small tragedies.

Today’s post covered seven reasons why you shouldn’t fuss over the underdog covering a spread in the final minutes of a game. Can you list any reasons to go with what you read above? Let us know in the comments. 

Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for since early 2016. …

View all posts by Michael Stevens

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