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Betting 101: Learning how to play the futures market
We've gone over the many ways to bet on individual matches, but betting futures can be the most exciting way to go about your business.
Published Feb 24, 2023
Our Betting 101 series has already taken you through the many ways you can bet on an individual match. We’ve gone through how betting odds work, which should have you prepared to make moneyline wagers. We have also run through betting on spreads and totals, which we do often in our match previews. But another way we like to look at betting is through the futures market.
Through the futures market, you can bet on events that are coming down the pipeline, like backing a player to win the 2023 French Open, even though the event is months away. You can generally find some great odds by going out on a limb early. For example, rather than just betting on Aryna Sabalenka to win each of her individual matches at the 2023 Australian Open, we suggested backing her at +900 odds in one of our pre-tournament videos. That meant that a $100 bet would win $900—which ended up working out nicely for those that followed along. We also grabbed Novak Djokovic at -110 odds to win the tournament. By backing him to win the entire thing, we avoided laying awful odds on him to win matches he was expected to win.
Generally, you’ll have the option to bet on outright tournament winners for most tournaments, so it’s not just limited to Grand Slams. That’s something to keep in mind as we approach the Sunshine Double, as you’ll probably want to have a little action on the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells or the Miami Open. However, you aren’t going to be limited to just picking the winner of the event on the futures market.
One way to take advantage of futures is by checking out the odds your sportsbook has to offer after the draws are released. You can often bet on players to reach a certain point in the tournament, rather than risking your hard-earned money on that player to do something that isn’t realistic like going all the way. For example, it wasn’t outrageous to think that Marin Cilic might have won his quarter at the 2022 French Open, even if you knew he didn’t have much of a shot at raising the trophy. And most sportsbooks allow you to bet on who will win each quarter.
One of the hidden beauties of betting on the futures market is that you can sometimes put yourself in a scenario in which you’re guaranteed to make some money. We did that with the Australian Open, as we suggested plays on both Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina before the event. That made for a stress-free final.
Hedging later in the tournament is a way to set up a great situation. It just requires you to have one of your outright bets going further than expected. For example, if you had Sabalenka to win at +900 and didn’t have Rybakina, you could have bet half of your expected payout on the Kazakhstani. That would also set up a stress-free situation. And when it comes to futures, there’s nothing better than avoiding a sweat.