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Futures Strategy Guide (Sports Betting)

by March 4, 2020
Week 1 Preseason NFL

Futures are an important part of your sports betting portfolio. Just like with the stock market, you want to diversify so that you have investments in different realms, so you don’t leave all of your eggs in one basket.

Many bettors get sucked into futures for the wrong reasons, though, as they just throw darts at championship futures where they can possibly hit a big payday. There is plenty of value to be found in the futures market, but make sure you’re going into it with the right mindset.

With that in mind, we’ve got four tips to help guide you in terms of futures betting. If you’re new to it, these should help you get on the right track.

Check out our consensus and the odds at each sportsbook for 2020 NFL MVP >>

1. Don’t Get Sucked In By Payout
The first rule of Fight Club is you do not talk about Fight Club. The first rule with futures is don’t strictly get sucked in by the payout. Yes, it’s quite clear that +5000 is much more attractive than your average -110 win. However, there’s a reason there’s a big payout offered: there is more risk involved.

Should you look for value? Absolutely. Should it be the first reason you make a futures bet? Absolutely not. Make a calculated decision, not just one that appeals to you because you might get a big payday.

2. Study The News
When you’re betting on long-term futures in the offseason, one of the most important aspects of it is to study the news. For example, in the NFL, we’ll have free agency, the NFL Draft, training camps, and exhibitions. The way that bettors get an edge here is outworking the oddsmakers, in a sense. For example, if you have a good read on where a quarterback might land or if you’re well aware that a team made a great hire at head coach or assistant, you can place a bet before the lines adjust.

The same goes for watching teams play in the preseason. Many bettors write off exhibition action like Summer League basketball games as glorified practices, but these types of contests — across all sports — give you more clues as to who looks good and who is struggling.

Read the mainstream news, study the team reports, and keep your finger on the pulse with fantasy. These will all help you get a good beat on futures.

3. Failures Are Often A Better Bet Than Success
If this one sounds confusing, allow me to explain: it’s easier for things to go wrong than for things to go right. In other words, betting on the under for a regular-season win total can often be easier to hit than the over. Why is that, do you ask? Factors like injuries, rookies failing to meet expectations, momentum, coaches struggling, and so on can all contribute to an under.

For you to go the other way and hit the jackpot on a Super Bowl bet from the preseason, or for you to win your regular-season win total over bet, you need a lot to go right. For a Super Bowl bet, almost everything has to fall in line for you to cash. Betting on “No” props, “won’t” props, or unders can be easier to win because you might just need one or two things to go wrong, not for everything to go right.

4. Bet Unders Early, Bet Overs Late
One important note — especially with football futures — is you want to bet all negative props early. Those include won’t win, won’t make the playoffs, and unders for regular-season win totals. You’ll also want to bet all the positive props late.

The key here is injuries. Let’s say you bet on a team to win the Super Bowl in the dead of summer — before the preseason has even begun. Well, now you’re locked in, and if any injuries occur in the exhibition games or training camp, you could get screwed. That’s why it’s best to wait with those right up until the start of the season.

Now, if you’re on the other end of it and you have an under, betting early makes sense. The more that goes wrong, the better.

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Dave Golokhov is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Dave, check out his archive and follow him @davegolokhov.

Bet Types, Betting 101