What Does a Fade Mean in Betting?

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Finding an edge in online betting is key to profitability. One of the most popular ways to do this is to fade, which can include the public, teams, and even handicappers. At Techopedia, we will answer what does a fade mean in betting, looking at how the term links to sports betting and what to look out for when using this strategy.

“Fading” Explanation

Fading is a betting term used when you bet against something for a specific reason. With most sports bets, you place a bet because of the positives that come from placing that bet, but with a fade, we’re looking at reasons to oppose a bet.

It’s a strategy that can be applied to all sports in some capacity and is that can create huge profits. The goal of the bet is the same as any, which is to find value but the process of finding this value is flipped.

Fade the public
Imaged credit: Daniel Ramirez/Flickr

Fade the Public

To fade the public is one of the more common terms linked to the strategy. For this, you’re looking to bet against where the majority of the public is betting. It sounds counterintuitive, but what we’re looking to do is oppose public opinion that has little to no basis as to why they are betting.

For example, popular sports teams get the vast majority of public bets simply because of their popularity. Recreational bettors will place bets on their favorite team solely for this reason and if there’s enough volume, betting lines will adjust to cater for this.

The goal of fading doesn’t change regardless of whether we’re betting to fade the public or fade teams or handicappers. Our goal is to find value and this can come when odds and lines, such as spreads or totals move for no other reason than the volume of bets wagered.

Example of a Fade

One of the easiest ways for us to explain what does a fade mean in betting is to work through an example.

To do this, we’re going to look at a recent NFL playoff game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Baltimore Ravens.

Fade betting example

The Chiefs are one of the most popular teams in the NFL right now and we’ve used social trackers to note that they have around 11 million social media followers, compared to the Ravens who are around seven million.

Now, it’s worth noting that social media followers are not the be-all and end-all, but it’s a good way in modern times to track team popularity. So, from this, we know that the Chiefs are more popular than the Ravens.

The current moneyline price for the Chiefs is +160, which is around four days before kick-off. The moneyline for the Ravens is -180, so we can see that, based on initial lines, the Ravens are strong favorites to win the game.

Let’s assume that an hour before kickoff, the odds have moved and now look like this:

  • Ravens = -130
  • Chiefs = +100

Now, assuming that nothing has changed in terms of lineups or anything that could affect the odds, we know that the lines have moved because of the volume of bets placed. Given the Chiefs are more popular, the average fan is going to bet on them which has lowered the score.

So, if we were to fade the public, we would oppose the Chiefs at +100, because we know that the initial betting line was +160 and no external factors have changed to warrant such a big drop. We’re asking ourselves, why take +100 when we should be getting +160?

The answer is that we’re not, as we’re going to oppose the bet and as a result, fade the Chiefs by backing Baltimore at -130 when they should be -180.

This process can work for favorites and underdogs, but almost always links to the more popular team having shorter odds than when the market opened. Other popular teams with large fan bases that often move the betting line at the LA Lakers in the NBA, the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL, and the New York Yankees in the MLB.

How to Place a Fade Bet

One of the best betting sites for placing a fade bet is BetOnline. The key reason for this is that they visually show you when the odds move up or down for all betting markets. The more money that’s wagered, the more the market moves.

What is a fade in betting

As you can see from the image above, the market shows if the odds are moving up (green) or down (red). The only downside to this is that there’s no history to draw on for the market, so you’re still going to have to manually track or use an odds-tracking service, such as a betting exchange to see historical data for the market. In the meantime, we’re going to show you how to create an account with BetOnline so that you can access the best sportsbook for fade betting.

  1. Open an account

    To get started, click this link to head to the BetOnline sportsbook and click the green “Join” button at the top of the page.
    Open an account
  2. Enter new account information

    Fill in the fields on the form. These include name, email address, password, zip code, phone number, and date of birth. The next page will ask you to enter and verify your address. It’s worth noting that you must verify your account before you withdraw, so we recommend doing this as soon as you sign up.
    Enter new account information
  3. Deposit via the cashier

    Once the account is set up, head to the cashier and choose one of the payment options. New accounts can access a 50% deposit match worth up to $1,000 using the BetOnline promo code “BET1000”.
    Deposit via the cashier
  4. Choose your fade

    The sportsbook won’t tell you which bets to fade, obviously, but once you’ve made your pick, use the menu section to choose the sport. You can then scroll through the range of markets on offer and find your desired market.
    Choose your fade
  5. Place a bet

    To place a bet, click on the odds which will move your selection into your betslip. Enter your stake, confirm your pick, and click “Place bet” at the bottom of the page. You can track live and settled bets within the betslip under “My Bets”.
    Place a bet

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How to Calculate Odds for a Fade

Most betting sites run odds in the American style and we’re going to explain how these betting odds work.

Example of a fade bet

Let’s use a game between the LA Lakers and LA Clippers in the NBA. As you can see, there are three main markets here which include the spread, moneyline, and total.

Odds are displayed as positive and negative numbers. The positive number is the amount of money you win for a $100 bet. The negative is the amount you need to wage to make a $100 profit.

For example, if you backed the Lakers at +275 then if they win, for every $100 you wager, you make $275 profit. If you backed the Clippers at -330 then if they win, you would need to wager $330 to make a $100 profit.

Knowing how this works is key for fading, especially when fading the public. You need to know how the odds have moved and in which teams favor to then spot times where you’re not getting value.

So, if the Lakers all of sudden drop into +200 15 minutes before tipoff, there’s a good chance this is down to the Average Joe betting on the team to win and as a result, has removed any value from that market. Therefore, a good time to fade.

Fade the Public Betting Strategy

Now we know what does a fade mean in betting, it’s time to look at strategies and scenarios where you can execute a fade. Fading the public is the most popular, so this is where we will start.

To fade the public, we’re betting against where the majority of bets have been made. This may sound counterintuitive, but this is based on the pretense that the majority of people who place a bet don’t know what they’re doing and instead are betting on their favorite team for no other reason than this.

This may sound harsh, but it’s the reality of sports betting for the vast majority.

What you need to do is oppose these bets.


Well, when a substantial volume of bets is made on a book, the bookmaker then must balance the books so they can make a profit on both results. To do this, they change the odds to make them less appealing on one side, and more appealing on the other.

Most people don’t recognize when this happens, but sharp bettors do, and this is something that we must also track and react to.

Let’s assume we’ve got an MLB game where the New York Yankees are priced at -150 on a Tuesday to win their next game which is a Thursday. It comes to one hour before the first pitch and the Yankees have slowly shortened into odds of -250.

We’ve gone from an implied probability set by the bookmaker of a 60% chance of winning the game on Tuesday to now a 71.4% chance just an hour before the start of the game. Are the Yankees 11.4% more likely to win the game? Of course not. There has been no change to rosters or injury reports. So, the only explanation is the volume of bets.

This is our time to fade the Yankees and instead back whoever their opponents are.

As part of this example, we’ve purposely left out any mention of their opponent because when it comes to fading the public, it doesn’t matter. The value will always be in the opposing bet, and given that our whole betting ethos should be about finding value, these are easy wins for us.

We can expand on this further by looking at other markets, such as the over/under. The vast majority of fans and casuals bet the over line as it’s more exciting and keeps you in the bet for longer. You can never be fully out with the over, but the under can end early depending on the line.

This has the same philosophy as fading popular teams except for this, we’re substituting teams for popular markets.

This strategy increases in difficulty when we learn that we must track betting lines to successfully fade the public. We need to know what the odds were when the bookmaker published the market and compare that to the current odds.

To do this you need to access statistics-based sites to track the odds. Alternatively, you can manually track by noting the odds at periods leading up to the start of the game. If you go with the latter, the majority of bets are placed an hour or two before the game starts, so wait as long as you can before deciding if to fade or not.

Fade Teams

It’s not just the public that we can fade, but teams as well. Like all bets you place, you need to conduct research beforehand, but as part of looking what does a fade mean in betting, we wanted to highlight the value in fading certain teams.

The first place to start is targeting teams that are red-hot and have surprised a lot of people in terms of form. Underdogs who hit hot streaks or teams that have breakout stars get tons of media attention and the casuals pick up on this.

Fading works well against these teams as we know they’re going to drop off eventually. The popularity means that, in terms of value, they offer very little and removing unprecedented levels of form, are almost always too short, so we can back against (fade) with confidence.

NBa fixtures

Fixture congestion is another key area to look at. In sports like the NBA, teams average 3.5 games per week across 165 of the regular season. However, it’s not uncommon for a block of games to be over four or five nights, making it a grueling schedule.

A team can’t be on top form over this sort of period and as a result, would be a good time to fade. Make sure you check the travel time of their opponent as well, because if it’s similar, then it could remove any edge they might have.

Fade Handicappers

Fading handicappers isn’t as strong a betting strategy as fading the public or fading teams. But there are times when this can be used to your advantage.

What we need to look for is any time when handicappers with a strong following mention terms such as lock, shoo-in, or max-unit play. They use these far too often to be successful and therefore, create good opportunities to fade these bets.

The increase in popularity of sports betting across social media has allowed handicappers a much larger platform to voice their picks. Some sites have hundreds of thousands of followers and most of these are influenced by what they are saying.

The reality is that, if betting were that easy, then everyone would be successful. It’s these sorts of followings that tie into fading the public strategies as well. It doesn’t take a lot of people to bet low-medium sums for a betting site to take note and move lines.

You can track their results, which most don’t post, to see how good they are. Chances are, if a handicapper is making their bets public, then they are losing long-term. There’s very little upside to sharing a successful betting strategy as all this does is lower the odds (potentially) for the bets they want to make

Common Fades that You Must Avoid

We’ve outlined a lot of key areas that you can target to make a successful fade and now that we know what does a fade mean in betting, we can look at scenarios that we want to avoid.

  1. Fading poor teams: The biggest error that we see is fading poor teams. When teams are playing poorly, their record speaks for themselves and it’s one of the easiest data points that people follow. So, if everyone knows a team is bad, then there is no advantage to be gained as these bets will be avoided and betting lines will be relatively accurate.
  2. Fading teams with notable injuries: When key players are missing, lots of people jump on board to oppose them as if this were some kind of insider knowledge. However, the sportsbook will also be aware of this and the odds will be priced accordingly. If the adjustment has already been made, then the value has gone and the decision to fade is a poor one.
  3. Be wary of poor form: The form guide is one of the most popular strategy points and finding teams that are in poor form is a method that is often applied. The issue is that everyone knows they are in poor form, so these bets will be avoided anyway. If the public is betting against that team, then why would we want to follow? If anything, finding the right time to bet on these teams to turn their form around is going to be a much better strategy long term.

You’ll notice that the majority of these points lead to information that is common public knowledge. When this occurs, we want to avoid fading these types of bets as what happens is that if flips, so instead of a fade we’re now following the money. When this happens, we lose all the value that we get from fade betting.

Can you Make Money from Fading a Bet?

Fading is not something that you can do with every market. It needs to be applied as part of a wider strategy and used when the market suggests the right time to do.

It’s important not to fall into the trap of betting against the favorite for every game as this is not how fading the public works. You need to target when the line has moved too far both for the favorite and the underdog, which is not always the case.

There will be times when the favorite is shortened due to public popularity, but the underdog odds stay the same. If you were simply fading the public bet in this example, you’re not getting any value as the online sportsbook is still giving you the same odds for your opposing bet.

Fading is a strategy that you can make money from, at lots do, but it comes down to timing. This is a skill that you will improve over time and when locked down, the value you get from this betting strategy will be as big as any.


What is “fading” in the context of sports betting?

How does “fading the public” work?

Is fading a profitable betting strategy?

What are the risks associated with fading?

How can you identify opportunities to fade?

Can fading be applied to all types of sports betting?

What is the best betting site to use for fading?

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Jonathan Askew
Sports Betting and Casino Expert
Jonathan Askew
Sports Betting and Casino Expert

Jonathan is a freelance writer working with Techopedia. He has been working within the gambling sector for over 15 years and has been fortunate enough to work with brands that include Gambling.com, CheekyPunter.com, BasketballInsiders.com and Betfair. He specializes in US and UK-based sports and casino content for Techopedia.