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Future Bets

I am in my fifth decade of betting sports in Las Vegas. When I first started there were only two sports books in town and there were no books inside the hotels. I have seen a lot of changes over the years: some good, some bad, but most in favor of the house. You either adjust to these changes or your bankroll will end up where most do – in the casino coffers.

Why Bet Sports Futures?

Computers and consolidated ownership of the properties have made it more difficult to beat the books on a day-to-day basis and, like most of you, I do not live in Nevada. Thus, placing a wager is illegal whether you are using a street bookie or offshore account.

That’s why I have dedicated more and more effort to studying, tracking and playing the sports futures. I can honestly say that not only has it been profitable but I have found it to be one heck of a lot of fun, as well. There is no better feeling than wagering on a team to win a championship at better than 5 to 1 odds and returning to Vegas months later to pick up your winnings.


Living in Southern California means I am only a 4-5 hour drive from Sin City, which makes several timely visits a year an easy and fun way to play the futures. Many of you living in other parts of the country are not so lucky. Many times a year I get asked the question about playing the futures with offshore books and my answer is always the same: Do you really trust them to be there six months from now?

I think you are better off sending money to Vegas with friends or relatives and having them bring you your ticket for safe keeping. These winning tickets can be cashed using certified mail. This process is perfectly safe and regulated by the Gaming Commission.


Wagering on teams when they still offer value is key to your chances of getting a decent ROI (return on investment). If you follow my blog you will soon learn when I wager on each of the major sports. These trips are not random but are based on decades of studying when is the best time to make plays on each major sport.


Where to make sports futures wagers is an ever changing and evolving situation. Back in the 1970s, the books were almost all independent and my job was to find someone asleep at the switch. It wasn’t difficult to do because the futures were such a small part of the total book’s handle and odds were not changed as regularly as they are today.

Corporate America has also played a part in making it more difficult to get a “fair” number when playing the futures. Many of the hotel properties are owned by the same parent company, so the numbers are the same in all their books. Given this fact and the disappearance of many of the independent books, it is tougher and tougher to get a fair shake in the futures. I stay on top of all these mergers and acquisitions in pursuit of the best number available and I don’t believe anyone in the country has a better grasp on where to go to find them.


Picking which team(s) I am going to wager on is based on many hours of research on what makes a champion in each particular sport and, of course, that ever-important ROI. The goal here is to make money and have fun watching our plays surprise the rest of the betting world. This is not the place to go into the laborious details of what stats I use to choose each particular play, but I will give you 3 steadfast rules I do adhere to:

  1. Do not bet favorites
  2. Do not bet on a team to repeat as champion
  3. Do not bet on any team at less than 5 to 1 odds

I purposely stay off favorites and possible repeating champions not only because that’s where the public money is, but, even more importantly, if either team is successful you have a very good chance of getting similar odds at the beginning of the playoffs. Why let the casino hold your money for six months for such a paltry return?

The insistence on getting at least 5 to 1 odds is one that has proven very successful for me over the years. I can’t tell you how many times I got burned early on when I broke this rule by wagering on a 9/2 or 4/1 shot. Obviously, if I am wagering on multiple teams, I make sure one winner will cover all my wagers and still give me a decent ROI.

I hope this quick overview of betting sports futures will whet your appetite enough that you follow my real time plays on Facebook, Twitter, and here on the sports blog. I look forward to your questions and promise to answer all of them in a timely manner and, even better yet, perhaps some of you will choose to join along when I am in Vegas chasing that ever elusive “best available” number.

Good luck!!

Larry Trusley, “Wiz of Odds”