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Futures Bets

Betting the Money Line

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A Futures bet is a wager on an event that is happening several months in the future, hence the name. The most common futures bet is a wager on which team will win the championship game for a particular sport such as the Superbowl in the NFL, World Series in Baseball, or NBA Title in Basketball. You can make a futures wage on just about any sport that has regular betting during the season.

Futures bets are not limited to just the title games of the sporting leagues. You can make wagers on the number of games a team will win during the season as well as the individual conferences titles for sports such as the NFL, NBA and MLB. The odds for the Futures bets are released months before the an event takes place. While you can wager on any of the sports, football is the most popular sport with the general public and the futures bets are very popular.

Football Futures
The Futures bet that gets the most action each year is the wager on which team will win the Superbowl. Other popular bets include who will win the division or conference championship and how many regular seasons wins a team will have.

The odds for a NFL team winning the Superbowl are usually posted shortly after the NFL holds their annual draft in the Spring. These odds for may change from the opening line as the start of the regular season approaches. Draft choices, coaching changes, free-agent signings, trades and returning starters all impact a team's ability win. If there is an injury to a key starter or blockbuster trade during the pre-season you will see the line adjusted for several of the futures bets. Any major change will not only effect the odds for a team winning the Superbowl, but can also change the odds on the conference title or change the number of games a team will win during the season.

The Odds and Money Line
The odds for the Futures bet on a conference championship game, or the Superbowl may be listed as a ratio such as 6 to 1 but when you place a wager you will be betting the money line. The money line odds are listed with an amount relative to a $100 bet with either a plus or minus sign. For example the odds of the Dallas Cowboys winning the Superbowl might be listed as 6 to 1 but when you go to the sports book to place a wager, you see the money line listed as +600. This means that if you bet that the Cowboys will win the Superbowl you are wagering $100 to win $600. You can make a wager of less than $100 and it will be adjusted to those odds.

The money line is used for all of the other Futures bets as well The total number of games a team will win during the regular season will be listed with the over or under the total number of wins expected but the odds may be different depending on which way you bet. For example the total number of games that the Indianapolis Colts are expected to win in the 2008 season is 11. The betting line is: Over 11 games +130
Under 11 games - 170

If you think the Colts will win over 11 games you would wager $100 to win $130. If you bet them to win under 11 games you would have wager $170 to win $100. In this case the Colts are “favored” to win less than 11 games.

Futures Betting Tips
Wagering on a Futures bet is tricky because so much can happen during the year that can affect a team. The most notable is an injury to a key player but sometimes the overall chemistry of the team may be different due to coaching of other changes made during the off season.

Before you make your wager you have to determine the true value of the bet compared to the oddsmaker’s projected line. Some bets are not worth the making if a team is a heavy favorite because the return on investment is so small. A perfect example of this is a wager on the New England Patriots to win the AFC East title. They have won the division year after year and for the 2008 season they are listed as -1000 which means you have risk $1,000 to win $100. This bet is not a good value and you would be stay away from any team that is a heavy favorite.

If you want to make a Futures bet on the total number of regular season wins a team will have you should look at teams that were in the middle last year or teams near the bottom. Each year there are Cinderella stories in the NFL and looking at the less popular teams can be profitable. Did a losing team make trades or pick up players who can help them win if so they might be a better value than a powerhouse team from last season that will be favored to win a higher number of games.

Making a Futures wager on any team or sporting event all comes down to finding value. If it is not there, then do not make the bet.

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