Perhaps the best way to describe them is that they are wagers where there are multiple entities involved, and that it is an outcome that will be decided over the course of a series (or schedule) of events, rather than a single event.It is probably easier to illustrate by example. Which team will win the NBA title? Who will win the Super Bowl? Who will win the Masters? The U.S. Open? The British Open? Which player will win the MVP Award? All of these, and more, are subject matter for futures bets.More often than not, the customer can place these bets well before a series of events actually commences. This enables a couple of things to happen. One is that the bettor has an opportunity to evaluate the field as thoroughly as possible before making the wager. Another is that the sportsbook is able to hold the customers’ money for a lengthy period of time – months at a time, at the very least. As you can imagine, there are some advantages to that.That is not the only reason sportsbooks like futures.
They like them because they can post odds that give them a considerable house edge. As a result, while they may have to pay on a longshot every now and then, the hold percentage (reflected by the amount the house retains after paying out winners) is very high.
Also, the crowd that customarily bets futures is not all that sophisticated. Rather, it consists of “squares” who do not necessarily seek out value when making wagers.
How to bet NBA futures / How to bet NFL futures
The basic principles here are very similar.
If you want to get into a conversation about futures in sports like pro basketball (the NBA) or pro football (the NFL), and you are intent on betting into that kind of field, you’ll want to decide upon which specific propositions you’re going to explore.
There are several ways to go down this road. For example, in basketball you could be confronted with:
— Odds to win the NBA Championship
— Odds to win the Eastern Conference
— Odds to win the Western Conference
— Odds for each possible NBA Finals matchup happening
— Odds to win the Most Valuable Player
— Odds to win Coach of the Year
… and of course, there are corresponding futures bets on pro football (NFL) as well.
It’s important to note that with these futures bets, you’ll be able to wager on them before the beginning of the season, being able to collect (if you win) at the season’s conclusion, or whenever the winning entity in the field is resolved. A lot of online sportsbooks are more industrious than that, as they continually update their futures odds throughout the season. Of course, when the playoffs arrive, these are updated even further.
There are also wagers available on “total regular season wins,” and these are updated as well.
They can be considered futures, in the respect that they do not involve the result of any one game, but are instead settled over the length of the season.
Whichever of these wagers you make, they involve projection and speculation.
Can you handicap them?
Yes, you can.
You see, the sharps; that is, the more educated bettors, don’t mind at all the idea of wagering on regular season win totals, because they involve a two-way proposition, with an “over” and an “under.” The prices might not always be appetizing, but if you have a strong enough opinion, you can move forward with more confidence. A sharp bettor can find some value here and there with these kinds of wagers.
We’ve mentioned that when it’s time for the playoffs, you are usually going to see an updated list of futures odds. There are fewer teams on the board than there were earlier in the season, of course.
And there are certainly some other things to think about. Let’s say there are four teams left, or even eight. IF there is a team you think stands above the rest, alternative way to go, for a short term, might be to take that team and place individual bets on that team, one step at a time. If / when the first wager is won, that win is then rolled over into the next bet, and so on. In the end, that’s usually going to be a better payout than the futures wager, especially if your team wasn’t the favorite.
That’s more of a scientific approach that professional-level bettors may undertake. But it all depends on what you want to take out of the experience.
Regardless of your motivation, the more knowledge you bring into any experience, the brighter your “futures” are going to be.