For anyone who wanted an escape from the 2020 elections, the Masters Tournament is beginning Thursday. By the end of the weekend, bettors will find out how wisely they chose when they placed their futures wagers. But it’s not too late for bettors to bet on the Masters winner. There are a few options for bettors who want to get in the futures game late. Here’s everything Michiganders need to know about placing futures on the Masters.
What Are Futures Bets?
All you pros out there can skip this part, but newbies should stick around to know what they’re getting into. Futures bets are bets on the conclusion of a sport’s season. Bets on season award winners and championship winners are among the most common futures. But since they’re so far out, they’re exceptionally risky. But with great risk comes great reward. Futures odds can reach into the thousands. Anyone who wins a $100 bet on +2,500 odds is going to have a great day.
However, predicting the winner of a series is difficult–especially from the beginning. Bettors who’ve studied athletes’ performances throughout the season. The most successful sports bettors have sophisticated statistical analysis at their fingertips. But for the layman, a season of performance will have to do. Here are some of the places bettors can place their last-minute futures.
Which Michigan Sportsbooks Offer Futures
Most if not all Michigan sportsbooks will have futures available. Michigan’s major sportsbooks certainly will, and they offer a wide range of odds. Some of Michigan’s largest sportsbooks include:
These five brands are among the most recognizable. Their futures sections show bettors which players are likely to win the day at the Masters. However, the wide variability of odds may also be startling to bettors who are new to futures betting.
Masters Futures Odds
With 96 players in the field, there’s plenty of talent to choose from. However, the field of players is segregated into players that sportsbooks are confident in and those who have no chance. We certainly aren’t going to list them all. Instead, we’ll break down the top six, Tiger Woods, and the bottom five. They’ll paint a picture of the vast field of odds that bettors will find in the futures section.
Favorites, Celebrities, And Extreme Underdogs
When bettors open a sportsbook for the first time, the odds will be close together. Here are the odds on the rough top six contenders in the Masters futures:
FanDuel has the best odds on most of the favorites in the futures section. However, the odds are close together. If any of these players won, bettors would only be out a few hundred dollars if they chose a less competitive sportsbook. A winning wager at BetMGM is still a hefty prize even though it compares poorly to the most likely Masters winners. However, BetMGM becomes competitive on Tiger Woods’ odds:
BetMGM has the best odds on Tiger Woods, with FanDuel trailing behind. However, both sportsbooks beat out DraftKings, BetRivers, and Barstool Sportsbook. Bettors will also notice the difference between sportsbooks increases. As the odds increase, the differences between them do, too. That’s critical to understanding what happens in the bottom five:
|Jose Maria Olazabal||+200,000||+100,000||+200,000||+200,000||+200,000|
Suddenly, a few hundred dollars seems like small change. BetMGM dominates the odds on the most unlikely winners. Five-zero odds differences may seem outlandish. With odds as high as +300,000, bettors may wonder why sportsbooks would even offer such a prize. But this isn’t unusual for futures bets. It’s the type of normal unique to the futures section.
How Outlandish Futures Odds Happen Across Sportsbooks
New bettors may forget that sportsbook odds are also probabilities. Every set of odds can be converted to the percent chance that a given player can win. For example, +100 odds are 50%, +900 odds are 10%, and +2,400 odds are 4%. As odds get larger, the chances of a win decrease. Most of that decrease also happens in the 100’s range. Here’s a graph of odds and their probabilities from +100 to +1,400:
Bettors can imagine how much more extreme the graph to +300,000 odds would look. By the time the odds pass +10,000, all the odds are less than 1%. Any of the players with +300,000 odds are only 0.033% likely to win. Those long odds are based on career performance, the event, and any other data points oddsmakers can get their hands on. Offering odds like that gives bettors a thrilling underdog, but minimal risk.
For a similar reason, futures odds can differ by tens of thousands of points across sportsbooks. Take the 200,000-point range on the lines on Larry Mize. That may look like an extreme difference. However, 200,000 points are only a 0.05% difference. 1/20 of 1% is far less enticing than the prospect of winning $200,000 on a $100 bet. But sportsbooks wouldn’t offer a deal like that if it was even remotely likely. As tempting as a win like that may seem, bettors should stick to the smaller end of the futures spectrum.
Betting On Winners
Although sportsbooks have favorites, each of their chances to win is still marginal. The Bryson DeChambeau isn’t guaranteed to win because he has the lowest sportsbook odds. There’s only a small difference between his odds and Jon Rahm’s. There’s plenty of room for the (relative) favorites to lose.
Players like Tiger Woods can also cause an upset and win the whole thing. A winning bet on him is less likely on paper. However, his record and career could carry him to a Masters win, anyway. It’d be an upset in the sportsbooks, but it’s far from impossible. He’s about a quarter as likely to win the Masters as Bryson DeChambeau. In a field of elite golfers, that’s plenty of room for an upset over the weekend.
Futures bettors shouldn’t be dissuaded from wagering on a player they’re confident in just because the odds are a couple thousand points higher than the favorites. None of them has been assigned a strong probability of winning. The “favorite” in this section only has an 11% chance to win the Masters. Michiganders should pick the player they think will win. The odds aren’t in their favor, but the Michigan sportsbooks likely haven’t predicted the winner accurately, either. There’s room for many of the players to win.
But don’t get carried away. Wagering on anyone past +10,000 is probably a lost cause. However, there’s plenty of room for me to be completely wrong too. That’s half the fun of futures bets.