If you are taking a trip to Vegas, want to get some sports betting done but can’t find a game you like, you might want to consider making a futures bet on a sport currently in its offseason. The most common futures bets are selecting a team to win the championship, which 2 teams will make it to the championship, who will win their division, and picking the over/under of how many games a team will win during their regular season. Example: Los Angeles Lakers 42.5. Picking the over means you think they will win at least 43 games. The under means 42 or less.
The most important thing to highlight about making a futures bet is the entertainment value it gives you. Since most bettors are just gambling for some casual fun, the idea of getting valuable time for each wager put in will definitely appeal to some. Futures betting gives you a lot of this. If you bet the over/under for a team’s total wins, instead of having 1 game to get excited about, you have the entire season to pay attention to.
Obviously not every game is going to get your blood up the way betting the outcome of a single game might, but it is a lot of fun cheering for (or against) the same team for an extended period of time. It’s exciting to keep up with them on a day in and day out basis. Keeping up with how their stars are doing, who’s hurt, what trades they might want to make, anything.
If you took the over on a team’s win total and they are having a great season it’s great to sit back and light up a cigar waiting for them to surpass the over – as long as they don’t blow it. It’s pretty demoralizing if they are stinking up the place all year and within a few your weeks your bet no longer feels alive, but then again you never know, they may turn it around and that would be doubly satisfying. Or the most likely case is the outcome is determined by what happens at the end of the season and quite possibly the last game. Having sat through a whole season, these games will now be that much more exciting.
So, in 2 of these 3 scenarios you are getting a lot of adrenaline pumping entertainment and/or excitement that lasts for months and you only had to place one bet. It almost makes individual game betting seem unappealing considering that excitement only lasts a few hours and possibly only a few minutes if they get blown out. A lot of it comes down to what kind of rush you want. Some people like the fast and furious pace of winning and losing, like what you get in blackjack. Others, especially since they expect to lose over time anyway may want to get some time out of it like you would in roulette since it takes much longer to complete a spin as it does to play a blackjack hand.
The variance factor of luck is the special sauce that makes any kind of game extra unpredictably interesting unless you are the type that doesn’t like having luck determine an outcome. If Team A is one of the best teams and the league and Team B is one of the worst, you might be inclined to bet on Team A as either a straight bet or part of a parlay.
The thing about professional sports is the difference between the best team and the worst team is actually very small, incredibly smaller than many people realize. If Team A shows up and is sloppy and Team B is on point, Team A is going to get embarrassed and things like this happen. Maybe not at a high frequency but not so rare it’s the leading story on the news. Bettors throw their arms in total disbelief but it is an opportunity to remind yourself that Team B is a team full or professionals too who were also the best of the best. They may look like a bunch of scrubs but that’s just because they are an overall weaker collection of professionals compared to the league. That doesn’t mean they can’t go to town on a team that has an off day.
An off day, sure, but an off season? Now you are starting to push it. If there is a team that you think is really overrated so you take the under on their total, yeah there’s nothing mind blowing about the occasional victory they somehow pull out at the end, but over the course of an entire season that’s going to be difficult to repeat. The cream rises to the top and the rest sink to the bottom. Since it’s quite unlikely to get lucky left and right, the appeal of futures betting rises because it feels like the educated and researched picks you make are more likely to come in. This gives the bettor a feeling of satisfaction knowing they got the outcome they deserved right or wrong. It’s a very anti-climactic feeling when you feel like you got royally screwed at the end of a game to cost you. With futures betting you reduce your chances of that happening.
Make no mistake luck still exists. If you bet the over on a team and their best player gets hurt in the first month and misses the whole season and costs you the bet, what can you do? Nothing of course, same as if you take the under on a team and they constantly coincidentally play teams that currently have key injuries. Still, season ending injuries to a single or player a whole slew of injuries to many important players are a lot less likely to occur and impact the outcome of a futures bet than 1 fluke play in a game occurring and completely changing its outcome.
When sizing up a futures bet, the most important thing to consider is how much your pick worth? It’s one thing to get excited about rooting for a certain team to win a championship, but it needs to be worth the price you are getting on them since you are probably going to lose. Therein lies the pros and cons between betting games and betting futures. Betting a game, you are lot more likely to win but only get a day’s entertainment. Betting a future, you are more likely to lose but stand to get a lot of entertainment, not to mention a potential very large return if your bet comes in.
In 2016, the Chicago Cubs were an overwhelming favorite to win the World Series, laying bettors only a measly 3/1 or 4/1 to outlast 29 other teams. Not to mention the Cubs hadn’t won a championship since 1908. Their team was certainly loaded with talent, but 4/1 odds? Are you kidding me? The sportsbooks determine their odds based on what people have been betting and what they think they will bet. Since they believed a lot of money was going to come in on the Cubs regardless, why offer a payout even as great as 5-1 when bettors are willing to take much less? It’s easy to say in hindsight that it was a fair price since the Cubs won, but low odds on longshots are everywhere and most of them turn into nothing. This one just happened to be rather extreme and became an exception.
Whether you are betting futures or individual games, the key to winning at sports betting is being able to figure out who is underrated and betting on them, and who is overrated and either avoiding or betting against them. Maybe there’s a team that’s +700 to win their division but you think they’re a sleeper and could surprise everybody with a strong season so you take them because of the big payout. The same as if there’s a really popular team that’s -800 to win their division, you may opt to avoid it because it won’t take too much to go wrong to keep them from winning it. Figuring these things out is so difficult because there is a ton if information out there supporting good and bad opinions on each team yet most of it is still irrelevant.
If you like exotic prop bets, they can be used in the form of a future pick as well. They can be found either online or most commonly at the Westgate sportsbook in Las Vegas. One example of a futures prop would be picking the over/under on an individual player’s total number of base hits. Suppose the line on Mike Trout’s hits were 170. You are deciding if you think he will get at least 171 hits or no more than 169.
When making assessments on these kinds of future props, things to consider are how old the player is, how he has done the last couple of seasons, if he’s injury prone, and what team is he currently playing for. A consistent star’s performance appears more likely to stall when he changes teams. The change of environment due to maybe a huge contract often seem to result in a depleting output. This makes it well worth considering if a player is in a walk year, meaning they will be a free agent at the end of a season. Often times a player will have a great season, maybe even the best of their whole career during the year they are about to become a free agent because they are motivated to get a big contract.
If a player changes teams and/or was just given a new fat contract, this might be a factor in taking the under, or if he gets hurt a lot. Remember, if you bet the over on a player to achieve a certain statistic, as much as everything else you are betting on their health. If they get hurt and have to miss a significant period of time you are going to lose. If there’s a guy who you think is either too prone to getting hurt or has reached an age where that is about to start occurring more frequently, you might like the under.
Individual props like these are available for multiple statistics across the major sports but it goes even further. You could also see a list of baseball players before the start of the year with odds on them leading baseball in home runs. Someone like Giancarlo Stanton or Bryce Harper you can expect to have higher odds, but if up and coming sluggers like Aaron Judge with extremely high payouts are there because they are new to the league, you may find a diamond in the rough. When making a future’s pick like this there will also be a selection to take the Field, meaning you are betting on anyone NOT on that list to lead baseball in home runs since there is always that chance someone unexpectedly has a huge season.
If you take a longshot team to win the Super Bowl, if they even make the playoffs you have opportunities to guarantee yourself some money. If you put $100 on a team at 25-1, now they are only a few wins away from getting you that $2,500. What if you hate their matchup in their first playoff game? Suppose they are playing on the road against a team that is a -300 moneyline favorite against them. You can lay $600 on them and if they win, you are still up $100 overall. $200 for the playoff game win minus the $100 future loss. If your future team wins that game and you lose the $600 bet, well, at least you are that much closer to hitting the 25-1 pick. You can keep doing this all the way until the end. Just don’t lose too much betting against them to offset what you’d win for hitting the future bet.
When you make a futures bet it isn’t necessarily because you think they are going to win, you just like the value on them. If 25-1 seems like a good deal, then go for it just in case. If they make a run, you can still hedge your money back out on them and still come away with a profit.