What Does Fade Mean in Betting? – Fading the Public Explained

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Written by Dan Fitch

Updated: 08:22 am EST, 04/07/2024

Fading is when you wager against what is deemed to be the most likely outcome in a sporting event. We’re going to explore the concept of what does fade mean in betting, so that you fully understand how it works and when to employ this strategy.

How Does Fade Betting Work?

The fade betting term is derived from the phrase ‘fading the public’. It broadly means opposing the public consensus regarding the outcome of a sporting event.

You may wonder where the public come into things, considering that it’s the oddsmakers at sportsbooks that are employed to set lines. Though oddsmakers will largely set their prices based on what they perceive to be the likely outcome of an event, there are other factors that can have an influence.

One is the popularity of the picks. If there is a team with lots of fans and a history of success, the oddsmakers will know that these fans will back their team. Meanwhile, many casual bettors will add them to their parlays, without much thought of the true likelihood of that team winning.

Sportsbooks have to consider the popularity of selections and how much the public are likely to bet on them, sometimes against their own, more considered opinion. Ultimately, they have to manage their liability, as they don’t want to lose too much if the pick from betting lines that the general public are largely wagering on, goes on to win.

That’s why you’ll often see betting odds shifting once the lines have been set and the market is open to bet on. If the weight of the money from the public is all going in one direction, then the sportsbook will adjust the odds, to shorten the price of the pick that is being backed.

This creates opportunity for bettors that are looking for a chance to fade the public. In a betting market with two selections, if the odds of one pick shortens, the price of the other selection will get bigger and that is where the value will be.

Example of a Fade in Sports Betting

To further explain fade in betting terms, let’s give you an example that will give you a better understanding of fade meaning in betting. Take a look at the football betting market below, for the NFL game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Baltimore Ravens.

As we can see, the Ravens are the hot favorites at -180, with the Chiefs out at +160.

Yet Kansas are the team with more fans around the world and have a strong record at recent Super Bowls. Let’s say that the betting public collectively put their money on the Chiefs, forcing the sportsbooks to adjust their odds, so that they look like this:

  • Baltimore Ravens = -130
  • Kansas City Chiefs = +110

The odds for such a moneyline bet have radically shifted. Imagine that there are no external factors such as injury news, which would have impacted the odds. The prices have purely moved due to the weight of money being put on the Chiefs.

In such an instance, backing the Chiefs now would be madness. They were rated at +160 and are now just +110. Conversely, the Ravens were a very short price at -180 and have now come out to -130.

The rational decision is to fade the Chiefs by backing the Ravens at -130.

In this instance, we have highlighted an outsider where the prices have shortened, but it could equally apply to favorites. Either way, the common factor are the odds being reduced due to the amount of money being bet by the public, giving you a chance to fade.

Step by Step Guide to Fading the Public

You may be interested in the concept of fading in betting, but unsure as to how to go about it. In this section we’re going to take you through the process step-by-step, using our recommended top offshore sportsbooks site BetOnline as an example.

1. Open a Betting Account

Visit the BetOnline website by clicking here and once you’re there, click on the green button marked ‘Join’ at the top right of the page.

2. Register Your Details

A form will appear, where you can add your personal details. You will have to set a password and there will also be a verification process to go through.

3. Deposit Some Money

Once your account is set up, it will be time to add some funds. Go to the Cashier section and select a payment method. Decide upon the amount of money that you want to deposit and confirm your choice.

4. Find a Fade

With money in your new account, you can now place a bet. Remember, that you are looking to fade a bet, so look carefully for such an opportunity.

5. Place Your Bet

Once you have found a fade, click on the odds. The wager will be added to a bet slip. All you have to do then is to choose your stake and confirm the bet.

Pros & Cons of a Fade in Betting

Any exploration of what does fade mean in betting needs to consider both the positives and negatives of this strategy. Here are the pros and cons as we see them.


  • Odds tend to be good when making a fade
  • Stakes can be lower with big odds which minimizes risk
  • Relatively easy to find favorites that are too short
  • Looking for fading opportunities familiarizes the concept of finding value


  • Underpriced picks can still win
  • Banking on knowing better than the bookmakers and the general public

What Does Fade Mean in Betting Strategy?

Before you begin the process of fading a bet, it pays to have some betting strategies to fall back on. Keep these top tips in mind and they will improve your profitability.

1. Familiarize Yourself With Fading Fan Favorites

Sports teams have passionate fans. Those fans often like to bet on their teams to win, often with little thought of the likelihood of the wager winning, or the value of the odds.

Sports teams with huge number of fans such as the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL, the LA Lakers in the NBA or the New York Yankees in the MLB all have more fans than the other teams in their respective competitions, not just in the US, but around the world. Their odds are nearly always shorter than they should be and can be markedly so when the popular team are in poor form.

2. Find Moments When Form Fades

It’s not just favorite teams with big fanbases that trade at short odds. Oddsmakers and the general public will also favor teams that are in good form. If a sports team is winning regularly, the public will bet on them and add them to parlays, expecting them to keep on winning. You can take advantage of this by finding the moment when a team’s form turns.

Perhaps the injuries within their roster are stacking up, or they are facing fixture fatigue and have done a lot of travelling. Maybe their recent victories have been tight affairs, suggesting that a loss is coming. If you can spot the moment when an in-form team are about to lose their mojo, you can profit with a fade.

3. Look For Low Key Underdogs

Sometimes the favorite is being backed heavily by the general public because the opposition is being wildly underestimated. Perhaps it is a sports team that haven’t shone in the playoffs for some years, but nevertheless have all the ingredients to go all the way. Or an unbeaten fighter facing a champion, who has yet to prove themselves at the highest level.

These sort of under-the-radar underdogs can be underestimated to an extent where the public just assume that the big name, established opposition will win. Do your homework and put in the research, so that you can spot odds at boxing betting sites, for example, that suggest when the general public are wrong.

What is the Opposite of Fade in Betting?

Now that you know more about what does fade mean in betting, it’s time to look at the opposite concept.

The opposite of fade is ‘tail’. Tailing is when you follow a bet, rather than opposing it. The tail or fade meaning, therefore refers to the decision to follow the public opinion or oppose it.

When making such decisions regarding tail or fade gambling, it’s best to assess the facts. Sometimes the general public are heavily betting on one outcome with good reason, which is when you should tail.

Many bettors are successful based on their willingness to tail the wagers of handicappers with strong winning records. If you can find such an expert and come to trust their judgement, based on their long-term success, then it makes sense to tail their bets.

Times When You Should Avoid Fading a Bet

In this study of fade betting meaning, we’ve so far focused on identifying worthwhile fade opportunities. Now it’s time to look at when it’s best to avoid a fade.

A fade is an opportunity that should be embraced should you find it, but never forced. You must sincerely believe that the direction that the market is going is wrong and have good reasons to back it up, before placing a fade. Don’t simply oppose a favorite that the public are largely backing for the sake of it.

Also make sure that you have justified faith in the opposite outcome. You might think that the odds of a team are too short, but don’t forget to study the opposition. They may have their own weaknesses, giving you reason to doubt them.


What does fade mean in sports betting?

Does fading the public work?

Explain the risks associated with fading?

What is the payout for fading betting like?

How can I identify opportunities to fade a bet?

Is fading the public profitable?