Gambling in a casino can often involve rapid-fire exchanges between the player and the house. Blackjack grinders alternate between winning and losing hands within the span of minutes, while slot machine enthusiasts can watch a wager evaporate in mere seconds.
This frenetic pace is all par for the course in those games, but plenty of players appreciate a more leisurely long-term approach. For these folks, the sportsbook is their best bet based on the wide availability of wagers that require several days, weeks, or months to settle. Check out three bets that offer the most bang for your buck below.
1 – Betting on the Champion Before or During the Season
First and foremost, the “futures” betting market—or wagers based on predicting a long-term outcome—is centered around championships.
Well before their respective regular seasons ever start, odds on the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL are posted by eager bookmakers looking to generate early futures action. And the only ones more eager are the bettors, who descend upon Las Vegas in droves to fire off a laundry list of futures on their favorite teams.
You can bet on any number of championship titles within a given professional or college league. Obviously, the bulk of the action is devoted to league titles, with the Super Bowl reigning supreme as every sportsbook’s main event. Lets take a look at the odds to win the Super Bowl courtesy of MyBookie ahead of week 5 of the 2020 NFL season.
Futures Betting Odds on the Super Bowl 55 Champion
|Team||Super Bowl 55 Odds|
|Kansas City Chiefs||+325|
|Green Bay Packers||+750|
|New Orleans Saints||+1100|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||+1300|
|Los Angeles Rams||+2000|
|San Francisco 49ers||+2200|
|New England Patriots||+3000|
|Las Vegas Raiders||+8000|
|Los Angeles Chargers||+15000|
|Washington Football Team||+40000|
|New York Giants||+50000|
|New York Jets||+100000|
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As you can see, a $100 wager on the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs offered a $650 potential profit. Other elite teams at the top of the totem pole include the Baltimore Ravens (+700), New Orleans Saints (+900), and last year’s NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers (+1100).
Speaking of conference champions, the futures betting market also covers the lesser titles earned en route to the league’s ultimate prize. Between division, conference, and league titles, betting on champions in the “Big Four” pro leagues alone serves up dozens of potential futures betting opportunities throughout the entire year.
Sticking with the NFL for a moment, let’s break the league down to see just how many championship futures bets can be made each season. You already know about the Super Bowl, but before reaching the playoffs, four teams from both AFC and NFC will win their respective division crowns. That makes eight divisional title bets, plus two more for the Conference Championship games, followed by the Super Bowl for 11 total title wagers.
For the bettors out there who like to savor their sweets slowly, title-based futures bets are positively packed with value. NFL fans get a full 17-week schedule to digest just to settle their divisional futures, with a month of playoff games to finish off conference and Super Bowl bets.
If you’re more into Major League Baseball (MLB), the regular season’s 162-game marathon march towards the postseason somehow provides even more value. Every day from spring through the fall, you’ll have relevant baseball games on the docket that directly affect your futures action.
Think about it like this: Even if you bet $1,000 on MLB futures, your investment breaks down to just $6.17 in expenses per regular season game. In an industry where many gamblers have no problem risking (and losing) $10 on a single spin of the roulette wheel, stretching your bets as far as possible via futures betting represents the best of bankroll management.
And don’t forget to take a look at the bottom of the betting board too, as major underdogs have been known to turn in a miracle or two on occasion.
Back in 2016, a few bold English Premier League (EPL) soccer supporters made off with a mint when perennial doormat Leicester City stunned the world. Priced at an astounding 5,000 to 1 odds against, the Foxes stormed their way to a shocking EPL title win, while costing British bookmakers millions of dollars in the process.
2 – Predicting Which Player Will Win an MVP Award
Another fun way to enjoy futures betting is to back individual players to hoist their league’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) award by season’s end.
As opposed to team-based title futures, betting on a league’s MVP race boils everything down to player performance. This helps to weed out much of the variance inherent to team sports, in which roster movement, key injuries, and upsets by underdogs can doom a futures ticket.
With only a handful of legitimate candidates for the MVP award in major sports, you can narrow your focus down to just three or four players. And if you’re feeling frisky, you can even fire bets on each of them at different price points to give yourself maximum leverage against the field.
Check out the opening odds on college football’s prestigious Heisman Trophy award, the sport’s equivalent to an MVP, to get a feel for how player-based futures shake out:
Futures Betting Odds on the 2020 Heisman Trophy
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The numbers don’t lie, as this year’s Heisman Trophy race really comes down to a pair of big-time quarterbacks poised for the pros. Trevor Lawrence of Clemson has already led his team to a National Championship, so his (+200) odds on adding a Heisman certainly make sense. And other than Lawrence, only Spencer Rattler of Oklahoma is priced below the 10 to 1 threshold.
With such stratified odds standing between the contenders and the pretenders, betting on individual excellence is all about identifying elite talent. Just ask the sharps out there who nailed Baltimore Raven’s quarterback Lamar Jackson at a whopping (+8000) to win last year’s NFL MVP award.
When you aren’t afraid to find the right balance between big favorites and upstart underdogs, betting on player awards provides value in more ways than one. First, cashing in on a huge flier like Jackson for 80 to 1 on your money can pad your bottom line for seasons to come. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, MVP betting turns a single ticket into an entire season’s worth of sweat.
3 – The NCAA “March Madness” Tournament Bracket Betting Pool
Every year, the arrival of March sends college basketball fans and bookmakers alike into a frenzy.
The NCAA National Championship tournament, along with the series of conference championship tourneys used to seed the field, are collectively known as “March Madness” for a reason. With a 68-team bracket used to crown college basketball’s kingpin every year, bettors are treated to 67 games of increasingly intense action.
Cinderella squads routinely upset the heavy hitters, game-winning buzzer-beaters punctuate the biggest games, and basketball’s brightest young talent takes to the big stage. What more could you ask for?
Well, when you enter a March Madness bracket betting pool, you also earn the chance to bag significant cash prizes and bragging rights to last a lifetime. You can organize your own bracket pool, find one offered by the major online sportsbooks, or visit a Las Vegas bet shop. However you choose to play though, the underlying concept remains the same. You fill out your bracket with as many correct winners as you can.
There’s nothing quite like scouring the college basketball scene for stats and info, before sitting down to scrawl out a complete 68-team bracket. From the opening round to the “Sweet 16,” and onward to the “Elite Eight” and “Final Four,” trying to spot each team’s potential path to the National Championship game is a Herculean task.
The prolonged sweat makes all of the research well worth it, however, as the NCAA packs those 67 games into three weeks of basketball heaven.
The beauty of bracket betting pools is how they relate so closely to traditional futures betting. You’re free to back multiple teams by purchasing additional brackets, and even a small monetary investment can be parlayed into hefty winnings when the stars align.
Holding a futures betting ticket in your hand offers a sense of hope and expectation unlike any other gamble. With every team at 0-0, and every player primed to give it their all, the possibilities are practically limitless.
One bad game or big upset can’t tear that ticket in two, so it has staying power that single-event wagers simply can’t match. If you’re a sports bettor who enjoys the idea of extending the sweat for months on end, you just can’t beat the futures market, where providing bettors more bang for their buck is always the name of the game.
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. …