Betting on the future is always a risky proposition because, well, it hasn’t happened yet and it has a tendency to surprise if not outright shock. Nevertheless, futures betting is an area of sports gambling that can yield extremely profitable results in certain situations.
What Is Futures Betting
Of course all betting is futures betting in one sense, because you’re always betting on something that’s in the future. Therefore, it’s necessary to more specifically define futures betting as betting on events that are farther into the future than your average wager.
For example, one very popular futures bet is who will win the NBA title in the upcoming year. A bookmaker will offer various odds on each team: the Lakers might be 3-1, the Heat 4-1, the Spurs 15-1, the Memphis Grizzlies 40-1, and so on.
The odds on these futures bets may change quite drastically based on events. For instance, when the Heat picked up Lebron James, that changed the odds of the Heat winning the NBA crown.
Whenever you are placing a futures bet, then, you must not only consider the current circumstances of the team, but also the future possibilities. A particular player or coach might come or leave, and that could change your odds completely, for better or for worse.
Futures Betting for Big Payouts
By far the most popular usage of futures betting is to bet on an underdog so that if that underdog wins, you can get paid out huge. Remember, for futures betting, you are going to have your money tied up in this bet for a while, so you’ll want a nice pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
With this in mind, you will see many experienced bettors looking at teams or individuals that are at least 10-1 odds. Unless a team is really that much better than every other team, it’s rare that a mere 3-1 payout is going to cause an avid sports bettor to “invest for the long haul.”
In this sense, futures betting are a case study in the “time value” of money, whose fundamental truth is best expressed by the folksy cliché, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”
Indeed, when you bet futures, you want a sizeable prize to look forward to.
On that same note, make sure to maximize your potential winnings by shopping around for the most advantageous futures odds. You may find that futures betting odds are quite different from sportsbook to sportsbook because many times these bets are not heavily trafficked.
Futures Betting for Your Favorite Team
The other main reason for betting futures is if you are betting on your favorite team or individual and it gives you personal satisfaction and enjoyment to make this bet with your team, win or lose. Many sports bettors may place a small bet every year on their team, even if the team stinks.
This strategy cannot be underestimated because there may be that one year where your team that was supposed to stink turns out to make a run all the way to the final game. When you have a futures bet on that once stinky, now great team of yours, the fun meter for your life is likely to go off the charts and if your team does win that final game, your head might actually explode.
Even if your team does stink as predicted, some sports fans still enjoy the possibility of huge fun that is uniquely offered by futures betting.
Just make sure to keep in mind this concept of a “catalyst”–the signing of a Lebron James, the addition of a rookie with massive potential, the arrival of a new coach–that can transform a seemingly long shot futures bet into the best investment you ever made.