Question: What are futures sports betting and how do they work?
Answer: In our last article, we covered what parlays are. Prior to that, we covered teasers, prop bets, “against the spread”, “moneyline”, -110/+110/even money, and over/under. The listed odds will govern a winning payout by a sportsbook. Moneylines will always list the odds for a given contest. To know how much a winning bet pays, look at the line; often it is -110, +110, or even money. Even money doubles a winning bet, -110 wins 90% of the bet, and +110 wins 110% of the bet. A wager placed against the spread may not always list the odds. Over/under looks at the combined total of points, or goals, scored by the participating teams. Prop bets are wagers that do not affect the outcome of the sporting event. Teasers allow the bettor to change the point spread in exchange for a reduced payout. Finally, parlays allow an individual to receive an increased payout if the individual bets the correct result all games listed on his or her ticket.
Courtesy of our friends over at Sportsbook.ag, we’ll provide an example.
Futures allow bettors to wager on event that will take place later in the sports year. One of the positives with futures are that they usually take into account a large chunk of the season, or the entire season – you aren’t simply betting on one game. On the downside, you have to wait in order to see if you win.
For example, let’s look at the 2012 NL East Division odds. First, note that the event closes on October 3, 2012. So when do you bet the contest? Say you believe a team will win the NL East going away – bet them today. On the other hand, think about the end of last season. The time to bet a team like St. Louis Cardinals to make the playoffs would have been late in the season, when it looked like the Atlanta Braves would make the playoffs – the payoff would have been beneficial because most people believed they couldn’t come back from the hole they dug themselves into.
The key thing to note with futures is that the odds are almost constantly changing – from the date the bet is made available to the date the bet closes. As the season goes on, teams will be eliminated from the 2012 NL East Division – those teams will be removed from being bet on, and other teams odds will become more favorable.
As of today, putting $10 on any of the following teams to win the 2012 NL East Division would result in:
Atlanta Braves – Win $60.00, to Pay $70.00
Miami Marlins – Win $50.00, to Pay $60.00
New York Mets – Win $150.00, to Pay $160.00
Philadelphia Phillies – Win $6.25, to Pay $16.25
Washington Nationals – Win $50.00, to Pay $60.00
Not all betting establishments offer futures, check to make sure.
Other notes related to teasers:
- How do I place a futures wager in Las Vegas?: If you were placing a futures wager in Las Vegas, the proper way to place the bet is by the identifying number. You do NOT approach the bookmaker and say “Futures bet on the Atlanta Braves”; instead, say either use the unique identifying number, or say “Atlanta Braves to win the NL East”. Two things: (1) The unique identifier may be different from sportsbook-to-sportsbook, do NOT assume that they are the same; (2) The minimum sports bet at Las Vegas casinos varies, from $5-$10 a contest. Consult your sportsbook for exact minimums and maximums. Not all contests will have a moneyline available. Most contests where the spread is high, a sportsbook will not allow a moneyline wager.
- When can I collect my winnings?: Depending on the sportsbook, contests are collectable once a final result is posted. If you are placing a sports wager, other than online, you may be able to mail in a winning ticket. Consult the sportsbook of your choice as to whether that method is available.
- What if the game goes into overtime?: Remember that a contest generally includes overtime. So if the team you bet on wins, in overtime, you win. If that team loses, you lose. Note that over/under wagers generally include overtime. Consult the sportsbook of your choice for their rules.
- When does a contest go final?: It depends on the sportsbook and what sport you are wagering on. In baseball, a contest is considered final once a team wins, obviously. If however, the game needs to be shortened, it is considered final after at least five completed innings have been played, and where one of the teams is leading. Where an inning has not been completed or where the score is tied, in the case of baseball, the event will be suspended (picked up where it was left off) or cancelled (the event will start over from the beginning, but wagers placed on the original contest will be refunded). Consult the sportsbook of your choice for their rules.
- The moneyline changed since I placed by wager, what happens?: NOTE: Whatever your ticket says is the moneyline for the contest matters! Do NOT refer to a different moneyline. Generally, you may not cancel and re-bet in order to gain the benefit of the more favorable spread. By contrast, a less favorable line that occurs after the placing of a wager does not affect your wager.
- I want to wager on a game, but I don’t see it as being available: Not all games will be available to bet on. Sportsbooks pick the contests that are likely to have the most action. Note that some sportsbooks will not accept bets on certain teams (The Palms will not accept bets on the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, because the Maloof family, owner of The Palms, owns the Kings; Harrah’s casinos will not accept bets on the NBA’s Boston Celtics because Harrah’s has an ownership interest in the Celtics).
- The game I wagered on says “refund” or is no longer on the board, what happens now?: Sometimes a sportsbook will remove a game which they had previously allowed bets on. This may occur due to an injury or some other concern. When this happens, sportsbooks will refund the amount wagered, and a new bet can be placed once the new odds are posted. Occasionally, a sportsbook will still honor the original bet; consult the sportsbook of your choice for their policy.
- I saw that The Palms Las Vegas had one set of odds listed, but Flamingo Las Vegas has a different set listed, will the Flamingo Las Vegas honor the odds listed at The Palms Las Vegas?: Sportsbooks may have various odds for a given game. Note that whatever sportsbook you place a wager at, those odds (which are listed on your ticket) govern the game. Generally, you cannot request different odds other than the ones that are posted.
Other questions related to “futures” or another Sports Wagering question? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What’s the best futures bet you ever made? Who do you have to win the NL East? Tweet to us @BVTSB