Bill Speros for Bookies.com

By Bill Speros | | 15 mins

11 Futures Bets We Love On Valentine's Day: Daytona 500, Masters & More

11 Futures Bets We Love On Valentine's Day: Daytona 500, Masters & More
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Cupid’s Big Day comes just one day after The Big Game. If you normally wait for the end of football season to begin making your plans for Valentine’s Day, the Rams and Bengals gave you about 90 minutes following the end of the game Sunday night.

This Valentine’s Day comes after the longest and most-bet NFL season in history. It ended with a thrilling 23-20 win by the Rams (-4) over the Bengals. And love was everywhere at SoFi Stadium.

Betting sites were enamored with the game’s outcome. The spread was a two-way play, with the Bengals covering at +4 and the books pocketing the vig as profit. The books won with the Rams moneyline (-200) and the total falling on the under of 48.5. Mattress Mack lost $9.5 million in two separate wagers on the Bengals at +170 with Caesars Sportsbook.


LOOKING AHEAD: Super Bowl 57 Odds & Best Bets


The One Day To Be In The Red

Those who weren’t lucky when it came to their Super Bowl NFL betting wagers can hope for a quick rebound today. Perhaps their special someone will come through with chocolate (in any form), flowers, a romantic dinner, or a winning NBA betting wager on Valentine’s Day evening.

Masks, not so much.

While about 31.4 million bettors hoped to end Sunday in the black, everyone wants to land in and/or on red Monday.

Even if you’re unlucky in love and will spend this evening with your favorite order for one from GrubHub, we are here to warm your hearts with 11 bets we love for the rest of 2022.


11 Bets We Love For The Rest Of 2022

For this list, we’re going chronologically. Starting in six days. Here are our projected winners for some of the biggest events and awards between now and the end of the year.

11 Futures Bets We Love On Valentine's Day: Daytona 500, Masters & More 1

2022 Daytona 500

OUR PICK: Kurt Busch ( +1700 at DraftKings )

BUZZ: The green flag drops for the Great American Race this upcoming Sunday afternoon just 2.5 miles from the World’s Greatest Beach. Kurt Busch won the Daytona 500 in 2017 despite leading just one lap – the last one. Busch is driving for Michael Jordan’s 23XI team this season. He’s 43, the same age Tom Brady was when Brady won his 7th and final (for now, anyway) Super Bowl.

If you’re looking for another play, add in Tyler Reddick to your sheet. Reddick is driving the No. 8 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for Richard Childress. He was a two-time Xfinity Series champ. Busch is also +380 at DraftKings to finish in the top three.

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11 Futures Bets We Love On Valentine's Day: Daytona 500, Masters & More 2

2022 NCAA Men’s Final Four

OUR PICK: Kentucky Wildcats ( +800 at FanDuel )

BUZZ: Selection Sunday is just four Sundays away. Yikes! Kentucky has improved of late and the Wildcats are putting it all together at the right time. Kentucky trails Auburn in the SEC but would secure a top seed in the Big Dance with an SEC championship. A favorable seed in the NCAA Tournament could send the ‘Cats on their way to their first title since 2012.

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Wooden Award

OUR PICK: Oscar Tshiebwe, Kentucky ( +550 at DraftKings )

BUZZ: Here is the breakdown from our Senior College Hoops Handicapper Dan Kilbridge: “Tshiebwe is on pace to set every rebounding record since these things started to matter in the mid-80s. He's already taken some single-game records from the likes of Shaq. There's not one dominant player in the country this year, and there's definitely not a consensus best team.

"Kentucky has as good a chance as anyone to cut down the nets and Tshiebwe's dominance on the glass has him standing out atop a crowded Wooden betting board.”

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RELATED: Wooden Award Betting Tips, Odds & Predictions


11 Futures Bets We Love On Valentine's Day: Daytona 500, Masters & More 3

2022 Masters

OUR PICK: Xander Schauffele ( +2000 BetMGM )

BUZZ: Golf’s first major of the year will take place at Augusta National Golf Course from April 7-10. The real “tradition unlike any other” at the Masters is “betting.” Money has flowed back and forth among patrons in the gallery for decades. Betting on the Masters usually generates the biggest golf handle for the year at top legal betting apps.

The course and field are familiar to the most casual of bettors. This year, Jon Rahm is the early golf betting favorite, given his No. 1 World ranking and the fact he won his first major in 2021 (U.S. Open) and finished near the top of the other three. But his price is too high right now. We like Xander Schauffele. His price is right. His game suits Augusta. He’s finished T3, T17 and T2 the past 3 years.

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2022 Kentucky Derby

OUR PICK: Smile Happy ( +1600 at Caesars Sportsbook )

BUZZ: The First Saturday in May once again belongs to horse racing. There will be 20 starting spots available in the 148th running of the $3 million Kentucky Derby to be run on May 7, 2022. A total of 30 horses have earned qualifying points thus far for the big race. Classic Causeway leads with 16, while Pappacap and Epicenter (the 2 top American-bred horses) have 14 apiece.

The third Kentucky Derby Future Wagering Pool closed Sunday night. Crazy timing. Smile Happy is our early pick, he was 16-1 according the most-recent odds at Caesars Sportsbook (formerly William Hill) . The Kenny McPeek colt was the 3 ¼-length winner of the $400,000 Kentucky Jockey Club last Nov. 29 at Churchill Downs. He is expected to debut as a 3-year-old next weekend.

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11 Futures Bets We Love On Valentine's Day: Daytona 500, Masters & More 4

NBA Finals

OUR PICK: Phoenix Suns ( +500 at SugarHouse )

BUZZ: The defending NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks are just 2 games out of the top spot in the East, which features six teams within five games or less of the first-place Miami Heat. The Philadelphia 76ers pushed their chips all-in when they picked up James Harden at the trade deadline from the Brooklyn Nets for all-world malcontent Ben Simmons. The 76ers odds to win the NBA title moved up from +1400 to +700 after the deal. The Nets are still the league-favorites at +400.

The Phoenix Suns are tied with Golden State as co-favorites in the West to win the NBA title. The Suns came up empty in last year's NBA Finals, but they got over it in a hurry. They've got an NBA-best +8.2 net rating, the best record in the league, and they're healthy. And yet, they don't have the top odds in the NBA as of this writing.

That screams value to our NBA handicapper Mark Strotman. CP3 and Devin Booker have had it rolling all year, including a 19-2 stretch to begin the 2022 calendar year. The NBA playoffs begin with the Play-In Round from April 12-15. The real playoffs begin April 16. A seven-game NBA Finals would end on June 19. A good hedge to win it all is Miami at +800 with BetMGM.


NBA MVP

11 Futures Bets We Love On Valentine's Day: Daytona 500, Masters & More 5

OUR PICK: Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers ( +160 at DraftKings )

BUZZ: A high price. But sometimes, you have to take the free money. Embiid has been the best player on the planet over the last two months, averaging 33.6 points, 11.4 rebounds, and 4.6 assists. Oh, and the Sixers are an East-best 19-7 in that span and have moved into the top-6 in the East.

Harden's arrival should only help, and we believe Embiid will fend off Giannis, Nikola Jokic, and Steph Curry down the stretch to earn his first MVP.

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Stanley Cup Finals

OUR PICK: Florida Panthers: ( +500 at SugarHouse )

BUZZ: If there is a Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, it will be played on June 30. This has the NHL betting season ending after the NBA Finals. So much for the NHL being a “winter sport.” There are a few major dates coming up on the NHL calendar between now and then, most notably the March 21 trade deadline and the start of the playoffs on May 2.

The Tampa Bay Lightning are two-time defending Stanley Cup Champions and are +750 at FanDuel, the No. 2 pick on that site behind the Colorado Avalanche. While the Avs are a tempting pick, their price is too high at +450. Colorado has the most wins in the NHL and could have an easy path to the Cup Finals. Our hockey handicapping expert Adrian Dater likes the Panthers, who are tied for the second-most wins in the NHL at 32. Florida is +500 at SugarHouse, making this a value play too good to pass up.


World Series

11 Futures Bets We Love On Valentine's Day: Daytona 500, Masters & More 6

OUR PICK: New York Mets ( +1100 at PointsBet )

BUZZ: We hope there will be an MLB season. Since it’s Valentine’s Day, we will hope love and baseball find a way. Our senior Handicapper Adam Thompson leans toward the Amazins to win it all. To be sure, the Mets must find a way to get past the Dodgers. They’ve underachieved the last few seasons despite spending major money in free agency. That said, New York’s front-line rotation gives it an edge over just about anyone.

The offense is a who’s who of sluggers who simply need to match expectations. Having Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer for four of seven possible games in a playoff series is a good spot to be in. If the offense can hold up its end of the bargain, the Mets are a decent price to reach glory.

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Heisman Trophy

11 Futures Bets We Love On Valentine's Day: Daytona 500, Masters & More 7

OUR PICK: C.J. Stroud, Ohio State ( +450 at PointsBet )

BUZZ: Quarterback C.J. Stroud returns for his sophomore season after finishing fourth in Heisman voting with 4,435 passing yards and 44 touchdowns. Stroud made big strides throughout the season, particularly with his accuracy. He was a little shaky to start but ended up with some stellar performances, none better than the Rose Bowl. Against Utah, he began his 2022 Heisman campaign by completing 80.4% of his passes for 573 yards and 6 touchdowns. He did it without top targets Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, who opted out to prepare for the NFL Draft, and showed just how dangerous this offense could be again next season.

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College Football Playoff

OUR PICK: Ohio State ( +800 at FanDuel )

BUZZ: The door is open for the Buckeyes and their quarterback in 2022 and Kilbridge believes the Buckeyes are ready to smash through it like the Kool-Aid guy. Jim Harbaugh flirted with the NFL for about a month before deciding to stay in Ann Arbor, but his machinations rattled the Wolverines and his staff.

While the powers in the SEC often speak of “reloading and not rebuilding,” both Alabama and Georgia will suffer significant losses this offseason. Ohio State offers the Big Ten the best chance for another Heisman and a national title. In the SEC, we like Ole Miss.

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About the Author

Bill Speros for Bookies.com
Bill Speros
Bill Speros is an award-winning journalist and editor whose career includes stops at USA Today Sports Network / Golfweek, Cox Media, ESPN, Orlando Sentinel and Denver Post.