What Are Futures Odds And How Do They Work?
By Loot, Sports Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Futures odds are, as the name strongly implies, odds on events that lie ahead in the future. Most of the betting surrounding most sports revolves around games being played in the very near future. Futures odds cover events that lie months ahead. Those events include which teams will win the championship, their conference, or their division. You can bet on how well a single team will do, by betting whether they’ll win a certain number of games or not (over or under). You can also bet on individual performance. The list of futures bets grows seemingly every year.
Futures bets offer a lot of upside to the bettor. First of all, the action lasts all season. You can place a small bet as low as $2 and then have a stake in a team or player for the entire season. As far as getting the most bang out of your wagering dollar, it doesn’t get much better than that. With the explosion of futures bets in the last decade or so, fans of virtually any sport can make futures wagers.
This is especially the case with team sports, where the performances of the teams and players is in fact very measurable. A team’s record tells you how well they did. And whether they won a championship, or just won their division is something that is readily apparent. The cool thing about futures bets is that it allows us to capitalize on any long-range vision we may have. Rather than betting on a tiny slice of the equation like when you bet on a single game, futures allow you bet on the big picture. Sometimes, that better suits some of our predictive abilities.
Let’s run through the different sports and see what futures bets are available:
Football: In football, the list of futures bets is pretty vast. In college, you can bet on which player will win the Heisman, which team will win the national championship, or which teams will just win their conference. In the pros, you can of course bet on the Super Bowl Champion, but you can break it down to conference and divisions, as well. You can take a big stab at it and even pick exactly which two teams will play each other in the Super Bowl. You can bet on who will win the MVP, who the rushing champion will be, or what quarterback will throw for the most yards. They even have over/under bets--on team wins and even stats for the top players. Here’s an example:
Odds to Win the AFC West
Denver Broncos -280
San Diego Chargers +260
Kansas City Chiefs +300
Oakland Raiders +700
Above is an example of an NFL futures bet, where you pick who will win the division. Again, how specific you want to be is up to you. You can pick teams to win the whole thing, their conference, just their division, or even whether or not they’ll win a certain number of games. However specific your prediction is, there’s a future bet to suit you.
Baseball: In a 162-game season, an MLB futures bet can seemingly last forever. You can pick a team to win a division, league pennant, or the World Series. If you feel a team will either be better or worse, but not good enough to win a division, you can bet on the total number of games they win, picking “over” or “under” the number of wins posted by the bookie. If feeling really frisky, you can bet on exactly which two teams will meet in the World Series. Baseball futures odds cover a wide gamut--from more-conservative predictions to total stabs in the dark. Some books even focus on individual performance, where you can bet on season honors or personal stats. Here is an example of a typical baseball futures wager:
Odds to Win the National League West Division
Los Angeles Dodgers -200
San Francisco Giants +325
Arizona Diamondbacks +800
San Diego Padres +1000
Colorado Rockies +1600
Basketball: In college hoops, the futures wagers focus on who wins the NCAA tournament, but also which teams win a conference or their conference tournament. In the NBA, the futures wagers can be more wide-reaching. Of course, you can bet on who will win the NBA championship. But you can also bet which team wins their division or conference, and even which two specific teams will meet in the NBA Finals.
Again, if your prediction is on a team that you don’t feel will win a division, conference, or the whole thing, you can simply choose whether or not they will win as many games as the bookie forecasts. In other words, whatever your prediction may be concerning a team, there will be a futures bet to your liking.
Futures Odds: Reading odds in futures bets is quite easy. It will be expressed on of two ways--the fractional form and the money line. Let’s look at a quick example of each:
Odds to Win the Super Bowl
Seattle Seahawks: 11/2
San Francisco 49ers: 13/2
New England Patriots: 9/1
Denver Broncos: 10/1
Green Bay Packers: 12/1
Above, you see the top 5 picks to win the Super Bowl, listed in the fractional form--probably the easiest odds expression to comprehend. Seattle at 11/2 is the same as 5.5-to-1, meaning you get 5.5 for every 1 you bet if they end up winning the Super Bowl. The money line is a little trickier:
Odds to win the American League Central Division
Detroit Tigers -225
Kansas City Royals +400
Cleveland Indians +700
Chicago White Sox +800
Minnesota Twins +3300
Above you see a futures bet using the money line odds expression. Detroit is -225, meaning they are a clear favorite to win the division. At -225, you would need to bet $225 to win $100. Whenever you see a minus-sign with a number, that is the favorite and the number you see is how much you must bet for every $100 you want to win. All other teams in this example are expressed with a plus-sign and the number you see is how much you win if you were to bet $100. The Royals at +400 means you would win $400 for every $100 you bet.
Again, the appeal in a futures bet is extensive. You can use your knowledge to bet on a “big picture” scenario. It can be as simple as you think a team will be better or worse than what most people think. Or you can try for the bigger score and pick a team to win the whole thing. Whatever you bet, you get to ride it out for however long it takes to decide the bet, which is usually most if not all of the season. It’s hard to think of a bet in the entire world of gambling that packs as much long-lasting action as a futures bet.
When placing a futures bet, it's IMPERATIVE that you're doing so at an online sportsbook that has a long track record of being in business and that operates with integrity. The best places on the web include Bovada Sportsbook and 5Dimes Sportsbook.