Posted by Dr Fro 5:49 PM
It isn't always easy to see what a bad deal futures are. But the current futures and lines in college basketball are illustrative.
Right now, if you bet $5 on Memphis, you would cash out $17 (that is, win $12.)
Take that same money and bet on their next game (which is at pickem). Plan on putting all proceeds from that winning ticket on the championship (assume it is at pickem), and you turn that $5 into $18.22 (that is, you win $13.22). The reason for the funny numbers is the 10% juice.
So using the assumption of pickem in the championship game, you are better off by $1.22 (24% of the original bet!). But we know that Memphis would not be pickem against UNC. Thus, by either getting odds or by getting points, the value of betting on the consecutive games rather than the future is even higher. And if they play Kansas, it should be equal to or nearly equal to pickem (note both teams have the same futures odds).
Anyway, futures are sucker bets. I do them all the time, but rarely for much more than $10 or $20. The biggest one I did was on UT in 2005, which was clearly not an objective, calculated move.