Many sporting fairy tale stories involve an outsider that defies the odds to achieve victory. That description alone should help to narrow down what the betting term outsider means.
Outsiders are commonly found in (but not exclusive to) events that involve a field of competitors such as horse racing and outright winner markets including golf tournaments, Premier League winners and Rugby Union World Cup winners.
The meaning of this betting term is similar in many ways to a longshot, both will be unfancied to win and both will have long odds.
There is no clear line in the betting market where the term outsider begins from and it does depend on the event as well. For instance, James ‘Buster’ Douglas was a 40/1 outsider when he fought, and knocked out, Mike Tyson.
Leicester were rank outsiders at the beginning of the season to win the English Premier League in 2016 with some bookmakers offering 5,000/1 on them winning the title.
Should I Bet On The Outsider?
Outsiders are a regular feature in horse racing, especially for hurdles and steeplechases that involve fences. A horse could be a 33/1 outsider (34.0 in decimal odds) and still finish well. Without some inside knowledge, picking an outsider to win is a difficult task that involves a fair amount of luck and expertise.
Seasoned bettors would agree that the better option for such bets is to back them each way. This gives you more security if the horse comes past the post in second or third place. A £5 each way bet (£10 total stake) on a 34.0 (33/1) outsider would return:
Places: 1-2-3. Pays 1/4 odds
- Horse wins the race: win bet pays £5 x 34 = £170. Place bet pays £5 x 8.5 = £42.50. Total win £212.50 - £10 stake = £202.50 profit
- Horse comes home second or third: win bet loses. Place bet pays £5 x 8.5 = £42.50. Total win £42.50 - £10 stake = £32.50 profit
- Horse come fourth or lower: both bets lose. £10 loss
Another option for backing outsiders is to include one in a combination bet like a Lucky15, Trixie or Canadian. The other selections could be low odds that you are confident will win and the outsider is your wild card which will reward you with a stellar payday if it comes good.