Futures betting is a highly specialized form of sports betting that most people engage in on a minimal level. Unlike point spread, money line, totals, and just about every other sports bet which offer fairly immediate outcomes, a futures bet is made and then months go by before you know the outcome.
There’s a lot of guesswork in futures betting, and in terms of true handicapping, placing a bet in the futures market is more like playing roulette than sports betting. That’s because it is impossible to predict what will really happen once a season begins. Questions such as who will be injured, what players will be traded, and what guy will have a breakout year are impossible to answer with certainty.
Basics of Futures Wagering
Sportsbooks offer futures wagering on every major sport, including the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, NCAA football and basketball, and soccer. With futures, which usually come out many months before the start of the regular season, you’re asked to pick who will win the major championship in a specific sport. You may also have the chance to pick conference champs, MVPs, and other award winners.
The odds on futures will change as the season progresses. Often, you may still wager on futures once the season starts, but as it becomes more apparent who has a chance of winning in a particular betting category, the odds will begin to tighten up. Therefore, best odds are found prior to the start of the season.
Making a futures bet is similar to making any other. You just have to wait longer to see if you made the right one.
The $100 Method
Is it really worth going through a lot of in-depth analysis before making your futures wagers? No, it’s not. What you should do is get up to speed on each team in a fairly general way, including any changes they’ve made to the roster during the off-season, front office and coaching changes, and other important happenings.
Once you’ve determined some likely candidates for your picks, take $100 and place it on four picks. Place 50% on a favorite, low payout team, 30% on two different teams that have a decent chance, and the final 20% on a dark horse that offers big odds. If you’re right about the long shot, you’ll make decent cash, if you hit on one of the middling teams, you should also be on the plus side, and if the favorite wins, you’ll come close to breaking even. Once you make your choices, forget about the bets and get down to the business of real sports betting.
Consider the 2013 Red Sox
After their disastrous 2012 season, the Red Sox were anywhere from 35-1 to 50-1 to win the 2013 World Series. They were not considered the least likely to take the series; the Houston Astros at 200-1 were the ultimate underdogs. Still, most thought that Boston had an outside chance at best. They won it all, and if you put $100 down on them in the off-season, you got a nice payout in October.
It just goes to prove that with futures you never know. Play three, four, or even five teams, spread your cash around, and see if lightning strikes. At the end of the season, you may have some extra cash, along with the bragging rights to being able to see into the future of your favorite sport. Not a bad deal.