The Importance Of Futures Betting Timing: A Washington Nationals Story

  • Futures betting odds are always changing based around a team’s performance, injuries, or media attention.
  • The Washington Nationals lost their all-star before the season began, making them a longshot to win the World Series.
  • Depending on when a bettor wagered on the Nationals this year, a $250 bettor would have made anywhere from $437 to $12,500.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – No matter what the sport is, there is always an opportunity for a longshot to win a game, division, or even the championship. Earlier in the year, the St. Louis Blues proved this to be true when they won the Stanley Cup, despite being in last place halfway through the season.

On Wednesday, a similar situation occurred in the MLB, as the Washington Nationals won the World Series in seven games against the heavily-favored Houston Astros.

The Nationals were never expected to make it this far after Bryce Harper left for Philadelphia in free agency and oddsmakers at US sportsbooks counted them out of contention quite quickly.

Changing Betting Odds For The Nats

Before and after the news of Harper’s departure, the Nats’ odds moved from +1700 to win the 2019 World Series to +2350. This gave bettors an excellent opportunity to cash in on the changes, though only the wildest of gamblers would have likely taken this chance at the moment. Still, placing a $250 wager, a winning bettor would have walked away with anywhere from $3,500 to $5,875 in profit.

For reference, the Astros ended free agency with odds to win the Fall Classic at +600. The odds for the Astros stayed relatively steady all season, as one of the main preseason favorites to win it all in October. Their odds ranged from +200 to +450 during the year depending on the team’s performance.

But while the Astros were staying true to the top, the Nationals’ betting odds took a different route. From May to June, the odds for the Nationals rose immensely, fluctuating between +2500 and +5000 for the two-month period.

This gave bettors an even better outlook, as those die-hard fans and true believers that bet on the Nationals would never see odds again this high for the year. If a bettor risked $250 during these two months, they would have seen $6,250 to $12,500 come back from the winning wager.

The Nationals finished June with a 42-41 record. They were fourth in the division for the majority of May but improved to third before the Fourth of July. It appeared the team would just not be able to do it this year. However, as the team kept winning games and going on many four-game winning streaks, the oddsmakers starting taking notice.

During July, August, and September, the odds for the Nationals ranged from +2500 to +1100, removing some of the luster for bettors. A bettor who caught the belief in the Nats at this moment would be $6,250 to $2,750 richer on a $250 wager, though.

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Looking For Value In Futures Bets

Understanding how these odds constantly change is vital to making money when betting on sports. Those who pay the most attention to the futures betting odds and its changes realize that a certain wager is not priced well enough or doesn’t pay out enough for the probability of the event occurring.

Some bettors realized this when the MLB postseason began. As the Nationals were a wildcard team, they were only given a 10.5% chance to win the World Series going into the playoffs – much higher than the 1.7% chance they started the season with.

The Nationals road to the World Series became much tougher when the postseason began. Facing off (and beating) in a one-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers – who were 20-7 in September – the Nationals were slated to play against the 106-win LA Dodgers afterward.

The Dodgers won the first game and bettors were granted with +2000 odds on the Nationals to win. A $250 bettor would have pocketed $5,000 at this moment. But after winning three of the next four, the odds for the Nats dropped to +425 in less than one week’s time. Now, $250 bettors were looking at only $1,062.50 in winnings.

While the payout was still beneficial, these differences give bettors an extra cushion for their losing wagers and keep them from having to increase their risk amount to make a worthwhile investment.

After winning the first two games in the NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals, the odds for the Nats fell even further to +175, as they were only two wins away from making their first-ever world series. The odds did spike again to +570 when the Nationals were facing elimination with both of the remaining games set to be played in Houston but betting on elimination games is tricky in itself.

No matter when a bettor placed their wager on the Nationals this year, they made the right call. However, timing has proven to be critical in betting on futures action. The same $250 could have made as little as a few hundred dollars or as much as $12,500 this year for a bettor, proving that sports betting is not only knowing what to bet but knowing when to bet as well.