Futures bets are just that — wagers on events that will happen in the future. Just as bettors can lay action on who will win the NBA title or the Masters golf tournament or the Daytona 500, they can wager on which team will prevail in the NCAA basketball tournament, and potentially on other related events.
NCAA Basketball Futures
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Types of NCAA Basketball Futures
NCAA basketball futures are expressed through a number that tells the bettor how much they’d win with a $100 bet; betting on favored teams means less of a potential return for the bettor, while betting on underdogs can pay more. Duke +225, for example, means a $100 bet would return $225 should the Blue Devils win it all. Kansas +2200 means a $100 wager would pay $2,200 if the Jayhawks cut down the nets. Those amounts are magnified depending on how much a bettor puts down. Laying $500 on Villanova to win the title at +4000, for instance, would net a bettor a $20,000 payoff should the Wildcats claim the crown.
But this isn’t like point-spread betting, where bettors have a margin to work with — in futures wagering, it’s win or bust. Wagering on the national champion may be the most popular type of NCAA basketball futures bet, but it’s not the only one. Many online betting sites offer other types of NCAA futures, including:
- Betting on teams to reach the Final Four. Especially for the power programs, it’s more realistic than winning the national title, but the payoff for bettors isn’t as high. Kentucky for instance may be +900 to win the title, but just +200 to reach the Final Four. Occasionally teams may sport a minus number, meaning the amount bettors need to lay to win $100, but in futures betting those are rare.
- Betting on individual players to be the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. Markus Howard of Marquette, for instance, could be +2000 to earn the honor, meaning a $100 bet would return $2000. But keep in mind that NCAA tournament Most Outstanding Players are usually on the team that wins it all, limiting the pool of truly realistic candidates.
- Betting on conference basketball tournaments. Before the Big Dance, almost all Division I conferences conduct their own tournaments that help determine the field for the main event.
Futures are sometimes offered on the bigger conference tournaments, such as those in the ACC, SEC, Big 12 and Big Ten. The best college basketball online betting sites, such as those reviewed by Bookies.com, are the ones that offer a wide variety of NCAA basketball futures bets as well as an array of options within each futures wager. Some sites may offer only the top options within each futures category, while the best sites offer exhaustive lists that include most of the teams in Division I.
NCAAB Champion Odds
Betting odds on the NCAA basketball champion are futures bets, and they work just like futures in any other sports. A type of moneyline bet, they’re expressed in a similar plus-minus format, although the potential payouts are usually much higher given how hard the title is to win.
When betting on the NCAA basketball champion, it’s rare to find a team with a minus number, meaning just about any selection pays out better than a $100 bet. The key is finding variety: When searching for NCAA basketball odds, top online bookmakers, such as those reviewed at Bookies.com, offer an exhaustive list of possibilities, rather than just the top few. Superior online options also offer futures on teams reaching the Final Four, although the odds (and potential payouts) will be lower than for winning the title.
When searching for betting odds on the NCAA basketball championship, look for sites that offer lots of options: from favorites that may carry odds in the +200 or +300 range, to mid-seeded teams carrying options of +1000 to +1200 who are still capable of winning it all, to long shots at +5000 or more that might be worth a flier.