With Major Sports and Sports Betting Resuming, the Futures are Really NOW

Glenn breaks down the various scenarios for future betting during a shortened MLB season and the crazy playoff situations in the NBA and NHL.

With the 2020 wagering season shortened by COVID-19, gamblers won't need to wait long to cash future bets

The "future bet" often offers the average sports bettor the greatest personal challenge. Breaking it down to its simplest meaning, many do not consider it a bet at all, but rather some sort of long-term investment, more equivalent to a successful stock market play, where an inevitable result often takes greater patience. What no one will debate is the risk involved. The difference in betting futures is a much longer time commitment in comparison to a daily game play evaluating the result. 

Whether it be a 162-game MLB season, the 16 games of the NFL, the NBA 82 game marathon, whatever.  The opportunity to see a potential win takes anywhere from approximately five to seven months start to finish to reach fruition. Not this reinvented COVID-19 sports season!!

As we soon anticipate hearing "Play Ball" for Major League Baseball and the NBA prayerfully resumes at the end of July, we are re-writing the rules for brief regular seasons. And hence, record noticeably short future wagering bet seasons as well. With the NHL likely to officially announce their abbreviated 2020 regular season/Stanley Cup playoff format, only the NFL might run a traditional regular season, with the traditional future bet format intact.

Playing by The Rules

The bettor's key here is checking each individual book on the list of preferred sportsbooks for their specific rules governing each league's play. With the Coronavirus changing our life on a weekly basis, those rules often change. BUT are clearly potentially subject to refund as with all outlined rules governing play for any type of wager.
MLB future bets World SeriesFor example, top sportsbook Bovada has wasted no time in posting an incredible 276 future bets focused upon Major League Baseball for their recently announced 60 game regular season. Maybe you think the Baltimore Orioles can somehow win only 21 or more (-115) within this truly short period. OR the Los Angeles Dodgers get off to a bad start and DON'T win more than 37 (under 37.5 / -105).  My point is you will have to wait about one-third of the time in 2020 vs. the average baseball season to determine your result. 

Each teams' odds to make the playoffs have been given the short notice as well. Keep in mind, the new MLB playoff format was specifically created for this season only. Some interesting potential bets here, considering the limited 60-game play. 

As an example, the popular Chicago Cubs are priced in the middle by Bovada to make the playoffs for this shortened season. That is not by accident.

Yes +115
No   -150

The oddsmakers as usual are not fools here. With the Cubbies slacking off a bit last season, many questions in their lineup, pitching rotation and still a new manager in David Ross, equaling quite a bit of uncertainty. Plus, they live in baseball's toughest division. This new proposed MLB format puts emphasis on that division play.  That means additional tough games against the Cardinals, Brewers and even the improving Pirates as well.  That -150 for NO might be tempting to wait only about two months or so to collect. 

NBA Futures Business as Usual During Unusual Times

NBA Championship betting oddsWhen the NBA resumes on July 30th, the futures line to win the NBA Championship will not look much different than one posted on March 11th, the calendar day the league shut down, following Rudy Gobert's positive COVID-19 test, suddenly forcing players to practice social distancing rather than prepare for the playoffs.

However, the method teams will need to get to the playoffs has dramatically changed. "Seeding games" will be played through Aug. 14th, and a play-in tournament will be held August. 15-16th if necessary, with the first round of the playoffs starting Aug. 17th. The NBA Finals will begin Sept. 30th. Again, an NBA future bet today would mean only about three months evaluating the results during this mini-season.

The following is the current Odds to Win the NBA Championship from top sportsbook BetOnline:

Los Angeles Lakers +225
Milwaukee Bucks +300
Los Angeles Clippers +375
Houston Rockets +1000
Boston Celtics +1500
Philadelphia 76ers +1800
Toronto Raptors +1800
Denver Nuggets +3000
Miami Heat  +3000
Dallas Mavericks +4000
Utah Jazz +5000
Oklahoma City Thunder +6600
New Orleans Pelicans
Portland Blazers
Indiana Pacers
Memphis Grizzlies
Brooklyn Nets
Orlando Magic
Sacramento Kings
San Antonio Spurs
Phoenix Suns
Washington Wizards

Based on prior NBA favorite-oriented results, a leap of faith penciling in the Milwaukee Bucks plus a choice of either LA team is not a bad strategy. Then determining the weight of your individual one-team selection to select a positive future win bet result. By the way, to win the Eastern Conference, the odds are not remotely close. BetOnline has the Bucks currently listed at -175 with closest competitor the Boston Celtics at a whopping +650.  Here's hoping Giannis Antetokounmpo doesn't get Coronavirus in late September if you back that suggested ticket. 

Face-off for the NHL August 1st

The NHL has similar plans waiting to be finalized to resume play approximately August 1st with a target date to award a Stanley Cup in the first week of October.  Many preferred sportsbooks have begun determining their odds for this shortened regular season. 

NHL Stanley Cup futuresAs an example, BetOnline has a challenging NHL future menu for bettors. Converse to the NBA, many teams have a competitive opportunity to win the Stanley Cup in 2020 and the betting board reflects it. The Boston Bruins (+650), Tampa Bay Lightning (+650), Colorado Avalanche (+700) and Vegas Golden Knights (+800) all share favorite status. Five other NHL teams are not that far behind. 

If you really want to take a chance on the immediate future, BetOnline also has Stanley Cup exact team matchups available ranging from 16-1 for a Bruins-Avalanche final to a longshot New York Islanders Minnesota Wild meeting at 750-1. 

Guess-timating the Futures

Ironically, every sport has the same unknown factor in place that mirrors our own everyday life. It is one thing to live with the potential for injury to a key player wrecking the hope of any bettor's chance cashing a long-term future wager. But now, one mandatory COVID-19 temperature check means at least a two-week quarantine at the wrong time, destroying a betting ticket. 

In 2020, it may not be the best team that wins, but the overall healthiest one. The good news here is it will not take very long reaching the verdict. 

Glenn Greene covers the games from a betting angle every week exclusively at OSGA.com. For weekly betting insights, including previews and picks from Glenn, click here.

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