Las Vegas Football Futures
by Josh Nagel - 7/25/2009
Scroll Below this article for a list of up-to-the-minute NFL futures odds.
A football futures bet can feel like a long-term lottery ticket. Whether you are simply betting your favorite team, or have put in extensive handicapping to determine the club you think has a chance at winning it all, a futures bet comes with a season's worth of action and anticipation.
If you happen to come upon the good fortune of picking a winner, a futures bet also can result in a hefty payday. Futures bets at sports books everywhere are growing in popularity, and knowing where to shop for your best bet can play a big role in the potential value of the wager.
Las Vegas football futures remain a hot commodity among customers in Nevada's casinos. Football fans have annually flocked to the state's sports books to mine the prospect of banking a small fortune by throwing down some cash on a team to win the NFL Championship at attractive odds for their dollar.
However, the evolution of online sports betting, along with the 24/7 media blitz of pro football coverage, has changed the landscape of Las Vegas football futures and their online counterparts.
A team's transaction to obtain a player - or even a rumor that they might do so - or an injury can send the futures odds on certain teams into a tailspin of fluctuating numbers similar to the stock market's reaction to news from the treasury.
In this day and age, overreaction to a particular player or team's movements can cause a gambler to lose value in a futures bet. However, in some cases, it can work in the bettor's favor.
For instance, if a high-profile player is traded to a particular team, you might lose value, as this team's odds are sure to drop. But if you favor a team in the same division that has not made a major move, there is value to be found in this team's odds.
"What was once a value bet has turned into a popularity contest, and most people don't understand how much the worst of it they are taking," says Jimmy Vaccaro, a Las Vegas-based oddsmaker for Lucky's Race and Sportsbook.
Vaccaro noted, for example, how the odds changed when the Chicago Bears traded for quarterback Jay Cutler in the off-season. The Bears had odds of around 45/1 to win the championship before the trade. A flood of action on the Bears after the trade dropped their odds to 20/1.
The addition of one player, even at such a key position, is not worth such a dramatic response in futures bets, the oddsmaker noted.
"This is the new wave of these players betting futures based on what they hear, as opposed to what they know," Vaccaro said.
A lot of the determining factors regarding the value of futures bets depend on the type of player you are and where you prefer to do your shopping.
Because of the parity among NFL teams and the public's tendency to bet longshots, odds on Las Vegas football futures have become increasingly conservative. This is because teams such as the 2000 St. Louis Rams have hurt the sports books when they underwent a one-season transformation from also-ran to NFL champion. The books dodged another bullet last season when the Arizona Cardinals, who were 50/1 to win the title before the season, came up just short in the championship game.
While odds of 90/1 or greater used to be common place, odds on Las Vegas football futures rarely exceed 50/1 for any given team. Such is not the case with online sports books, which have a tendency to gamble more with such underdogs.
Because only one team will win the championship, online books tend to take risks by offering huge prices on the NFL's lower-tier teams. This is geared to induce action what they surely believe will be losing bets, and because they receive less public action on the underdogs than Nevada casinos, they can afford more liability on these teams.
For instance, seven NFL teams are listed at 50/1 or greater to win the title. They also have teams like the New York Jets listed at 44/1; after the club drafted USC quarterback Mark Sanchez, futures odds on the Jets dropped to around 25/1 at most Nevada sports books.
However, Las Vegas is the place to look if you like the favorite. This is because online books are wary of carrying too much action on the favorites, and tend to reduce the odds accordingly. Nevada books welcome such action to even out the volume they are taking on the underdogs.
For instance, most Nevada casinos are still offering odds on the New England Patriots, who are the early favorite, at 5/1 or better. The odds at most online books are in the +375 to +325 range.
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