People love to make futures bets, including NCAA Tournament futures.. Sportsbooks also love to offer them for one big reason – they are very profitable. In a lot of cases betting seriously on futures bets is not something that serious bettors will pay a lot of attention to. You have to tie your money up for a long time, you are dealing with a lot of uncertainty, and the value often isn’t significant enough to adequately compensate for that uncertainty. They can be fun bets to make and to handicap, but you can often find more effective ways to leverage your money and maximize potential returns.
Betting on NCAA Tournament futures – Either betting on which team will win the whole tournament, or which ones will win the Regionals – has many of the same problems as other futures bets. For a couple of reasons, though, they can be more attractive than some options. For starters, the time frame is much shorter – the NCAA championship game occurs just two and a half weeks after the first game is played, so your money isn’t tied up for a whole long season. Second, because of the huge amount of emotional and uninformed public bettors that flock to the NCAA Tournament there can be value found in March Madness futures if you know where to look for it. Here’s a look at four factors for college basketball handicappers to keep in mind when looking to bet on NCAA Tournament futures:
Parlays – Futures bets are moneyline bets. Parlays often aren’t particularly attractive because they offer potential payouts that are far less than the risk associated with them. The exception, though, is when you parlay moneyline bets. If each of the individual moneyline bets represents good value the the parlay of those moneyline bets could be very attractive. Whenever you are thinking about moneyline bets, then, it’s not a bad eye to have the possibility of a parlay in the back of your mind. In this case, for example, college hoop handicappers could parlay the potential winners of two or more different Regionals.
Likely line movement – If you are serious about playing futures then you really need to look at them for the first time as soon as they are posted. When you look at the prices that early then you can often spot vulnerabilities. Some of the tournament futures odds will stay relatively stable from when they are posted to when the tournament starts. Others will move significantly – either because sharp money bettors think that there is value in the original price or because the public heavily favors a team and bets a disproportionate amount on them. If you are able to make predictions about how lines are moved then you can determine when the best time for you to bet on a college team you like could be. For example, if a team you like is also likely to be very popular among other basketball bettors then you are better served to bet as soon as you can before the price drops and the value is reduced. On the other hand, if a team isn’t likely to be particularly popular then you might want to wait to see what happens before you make the bet because there is no real risk in waiting.
Better value for heavy favorites? – Sometimes in the NCAA tournament – especially in the Regionals – there can be a team that seems to be clearly better than the rest. It is very tough to win a region, but it can seem like these teams control their own destiny and will win as long as they play up to their potential. If you spot a team like this – usually a No. 1 seed – then chances are very good that the sports betting public and the media will share your opinion. That means that the futures odds are going to be set low by oddsmakers, and that they are likely to fall lower because of public action. If there is only one team that stands out in a region and no clear second choice then the betting action will be very one-sided, and the impact on the price of that favorite will be significant. What you need to ask yourself, then, is if the futures odds are the best way for you to invest your money in your opinion. Would you be better off just betting on the team in each of their games – and perhaps rolling the profits into the next bet to create a virtual parlay of your own? The potential profits in this approach could be higher than the futures if the futures odds have really been bet down, and even if they aren’t then the risk is much lower – if the team suffers a major injury or other setback then you can choose to stop betting on them to preserve your profits. In the future bet your money is locked in.
Under-appreciated teams – Whenever you are looking at futures to be a smart handicapper you need to be on the lookout for under-appreciated teams. The top seeds do not always make the Final Four, and lower seeded teams can be very dangerous. The public tends to favor the higher profile teams, though. That means that there can be very nice value on talented teams that perform outside of the brightest national spotlight. If you have done your homework and know which basketball teams are a real threat thanks to their style of play, their form, and their and their likely path to the Final Four then you could find real value on them. It’s important to remember here that bets with high potential payouts like futures bets require a long term view of success. A good bet isn’t necessarily defined as one that turns out to be a winner. A good futures bet is one in which the potential payoff is significantly higher than the chances of the outcome the college basketball handicapper is betting on.