Tips on How to Play the Professional NBA Basketball Futures Market

In the sports betting arena NBA futures are a form of exotic where you are asked to predict a seasonal or playoff outcome in advance. Futures for a given sport are usually posted at least two to three months prior to the start of the new season. That means the first futures for the next season can often be found right after the previous season ends.

NBA Futures

With sports betting futures there can always be surprises. This was the case with the Boston Celtics a few years ago in 2006 when most prognosticators thought they would do well when they added Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, but none thought they’d win the NBA Championship. They did just that. They weren’t a long shot but they certainly weren’t a favorite. Most thought they would take the East and then be out of the playoffs quickly.

However, NBA futures rarely have huge surprises and, if anything, of the four major sports futures in the U.S., they are the most predictable. Does that make futures wagering a good sports betting opportunity? Only if you’re willing to hedge your bets. That is, in order to give yourself a chance at making some cash or at least breaking even, you’re going to have to put money on more than one team, which will diminish your return.

Is the Long Shot Worth It in NBA?

There is a simple answer to this NBA question — no. Not in the NBA. In any other sport they might be, but if a team is a true long shot, then they probably do not have a chance of making the playoffs at all – in this case the NBA playoffs.

In the professional basketball futures market, the teams with the best chance of winning it all are usually listed around 2-1 while those that certainly have a chance are listed around 10-1 to 12-1. The NBA teams that have no chance at all usually carry odds ranging from 75-1 up through 150-1. Long shots in the NBA are not usually worth the cash.

How to Bet NBA Futures

Here is a look at NBA futures for the 2010-2011 season.

Using the above NBA futures, this is how to wager on them. Keep in mind that these are bets that you may win something on but that you will most likely lose. Make them and forget about them. And only se cash you’re willing to tie up for the season and lose.

You want to cover yourself by using three bets. The point is to try to win something by spreading your cash around a bit. You are going to wager more on the favorites and less on the teams that are thought to be less favored. You are staying away from anything with odds higher than 35-1.

In our example, you are going to wager a total of 10 units. Each unit is worth $20. Thus, you are betting a total of $200. (This is just an example and how much you actually wager and how much a unit is worth in your betting scheme is up to you.) Here’s how to spread your bets:

  • 5 units ($100) on the favorite.
  • 3 units ($60) on the second favored.
  • 2 units ($40) on a favored team,

Here is how it breaks down.

NBA Team Odds Bet Payout Profit

  • Miami Heat 7-4 = 2.75 x $100 = $275 – $100 wagered = $175.
  • Los Angeles Lakers 11-4 = 3.75 x $60 = $225 – $60 wagered = $125.
  • Boston Celtics 12-1 = 12 x $40 = $480 – $40 wagered = $440.

By the way, other good bets for the third spot would be the Orlando Magic at 11-1 and Dallas Mavericks at 18-1. When you are betting on NBA futures you want to ramp up on the favorites since they usually make it to the finals.

A Final Word on NBA Futures

Sports betting on futures should be done and then simply put away until the end of the finals. It is true that you can continue to bet on futures as the season progresses and the odds change. But if you continue to bet them, you will be simply reinventing the wheel. You are better off focusing on the games at hand.