We take a look at both the Current and Opening lines in the marketplace, offer up some mini-analysis and provide a bet on a big-name favorite, which may hopefully be able to be hedged around the Elite 8 stage in the Big Dance next April.
Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends, we’re so glad you could attend, come inside, come inside. Futures Books markets, 2015 A.D. This time, a look at the Men’s Division I College Basketball marketplace and a way to try to create some modest Hedge opportunities near the end of the Big Dance if you’re so Lucky.
The Odds for the 2016 NCAA College Basketball champion have been out since the end of last year’s NCAA Tournament in April, and, so far there has been some decent movement in the numbers for some of the NCAA Basketball odds favorites here at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.
The new season is still some four months away, but now is really the only time to try to find the Big Schools with a realistic chance of going far and opening up some chances. But Hedging doesn’t come easy. And making a wise Futures Book bet on a team that can win is not only the cleanest way to do it, but one which could open up a Hedge or two. Before we look at some simple, fake approaches, let’s look at the Current and Opening Futures Book odds from her at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook for the 2016 Men’s College Basketball Championship, which is scheduled to be played on Monday April 4 at NRG Stadium in Houston.
2016 NCAA College Basketball Champion Opening and Current Odds For Select Teams—LV SuperBook (June 24)
A Potentially Hedgeable Duke Futures Bet Scenario
The actual realistic opportunity for Hedges on NCAA College Basketball bets doesn’t happen as much and as easily as most people make it out to. And quite often, the equity in the original Futures Bet is sapped, depending on how you decide to approach your Hedge or Hedges. The best way to get a pure hedge in such a bet—here we’ll use Duke in next year’s tournament as a theoretical example—is to have that team you bet on playing in the National Championship game where you can simply bet on that team’s opponent on the Moneyline and guarantee yourself X amount of profit, again depending on how you decide to Hedge. Some bettors decide to try to go right down the middle and make sure they at least get the most money they can out of the whole process, Hedge considering, from their original Futures Book bet. In this Duke theoretical example, the key here is for Duke to at least get to a point where you can hedge some, and picking a team that makes runs and has a chance to actually win it all is the key. Betting emotionally or recreational or because you attended the college are all fine if you don’t care about having a realistic chance of winning some scratch, but actually taking a team that can get to and win it all is ultimately the most important thing, because usually, winning that original Futures Bet is more important than the potentially choppy and dangerous Hedging process. And Head Coaches matter. Remember that when making Futures Book bets.
Anyway, let’s look at that theoretical Duke scenario plugged in with this past year’s tournament odds with the current Futures Book numbers posted now at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook. Let’s say you had a $100 Futures Book bet on Duke at the current 12/1 odds, creating a potential to win $1200 (and get your initial $100 bet back) if Duke wins the national championship (again). So, if you bet nothing Hedge-wise until Duke was playing Michigan State in the Final Four (Semifinals), and then wagered $100 on the Moneyline on the Underdog Spartans—priced at+225 (Bovada)—you could have a chance to theoretically somewhat protect your original Duke Futures bet by taking Michigan State, then winning $225 and ending up a modest $125 (+$225 -$125 =) after subtracting the loss for the original $100 Duke Futures bet. If Duke wins, then the bettor is in the position to still win the $1200 if Duke wins the championship game, and the bigger potential for a pure Hedge on the opponent on the Moneyline in the NCAA championship game. But it’s important to remember that the real value of that potential winning Blue Devils NCAA basketball futures odds wager needs to figure that $100 hedge loss on the Spartans on the Moneyline in.
Carrying this scenario on to the championship game and providing a working example where one would guarantee maximum winnings in a Hedging situation by “splitting” the potential amount won would look go like this with last year’s numbers. Assuming you did lose $100 on that first Final Four Semifinal game Hedge on Michigan State on the Moneyline, you’re now looking at a maximum profit of $1100 (if you do nothing and Duke wins) and a profit around $500 to $550 if you try to split it ($1100 divided by 2 =) and guarantee the most you can get without losing—the point of a Hedge in the first place.
Using a rough Moneyline number on Wisconsin from last year’s National Championship plugged in with this scenario (Wisconsin -105 Moneyline, -1 point favorite over Duke), the bettor would have to bet about $600 on the Badgers on the Moneyline ($600 x .95 = $570) to create a reality where he or she would have around a $450-500 winner in the end either way, and a profit around that amount. If Duke were to win it all at $100 at 12/1 here in this scenario, you’d win your $1200, subtract the $100 Michigan State M/L Hedge Semifinal loss (+1200 -$100 = +$1100) and then subtract the $600 Badgers Hedge Final loss and end up profiting $500 (+$1100 - $600 = +$500). If Wisconsin would win the 2016 Championship this theoretical, you’d win $570 on the $600 Hedge bet in the Championship game, then have to subtract the $100 cost of the original Duke Futures Book ticket (+$570 -$100 = +$470) to get to your final overall profit, which would be slightly less ($30). In that scenario you would end up with a $470 profit after all was said and done, at least close enough to the amount you theoretically would have won ($500) if the Blue Devils prevailed.
Conclusions and a Couple Other Decent Teams Who Could Get to Elite 8
One thing Evolution has taught me about making Futures Book bets on NCAA College Basketball: Remember The East of Mississippi River Rule. The team which has won the last 22 of 25 championships has come from East of the nation’s big, muddy liquid divide with only Arkansas (1994), Arizona (1997) and Kansas (2008) being the only schools from west of the Mississippi River to capture the coveted crown. With that in mind, an actual—and not theoretical—Futures Book bet on Duke at 12/1 still seems wise right now—despite it opening at 25/1—as this team has legendary genius Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski; returning players like C Marshall Plumlee, PF Amile Jefferson, SG Grayson Allen and Matt Jones; and, highly-touted incoming Freshmen like PG Derryck Thornton (Findlay Prep), PF Brandon Ingram (Kinston High School), Parade National Player of the Year for 2015 and back-to-back Ohio Mr. Basketball-winner G Luke Kennard (Franklin) and C Chase Jeter (Bishop Gorman), son of former New York Yankees SS great and future Hall of Famer, Derek Jeter.
Three other teams worth looking at for a potential Futures Bet Hedge—as winning it all is probably a stretch for these teams next April—are the Pac-Ten’s Arizona (30/1 from 15/1, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) and the Big Ten’s Michigan State (30/1 from 40/1) and Wisconsin (75/1 from 50/1). All three teams always seem to be in the mix still around the Elite 8 and sometimes Final Four points in the NCAA Men’s Division I College Basketball tournament—arch Madness if you’re nasty—and all three have really good Head Coaches (Sean Miller, Tom Izzo and Bo Ryan).
So, is it better to lock in around half your profit on pure (one-game) Hedges? It usually depends on the specific situation, an individual’s Risk Profiles and how the bettor actually think things may play out. There really is no Cardinal Rule to Hedging and real opportunities in this Futures Book marketplace come less often than one thinks and it’s smart to use an Arbitrage Calculator if you’re really that serious or in a situation where you think you can or maybe should hedge. But one thing’s for certain: If you do want to give yourself a decent Hedge possibility and the best perceived Value, Leverage and Equity on the teams that can actually maybe make it to the Final Four, then now is the time to get those Futures bets teams as the Odds for the real contenders seldom go up. And it’s even a little bit late right now (mid-June) as the power of my $20 Duke ticket at 12/1 is much, much different than it would be had I bought it at the opening odds of 25/1. And this will affect any potential Hedge(s) against Duke in late March of 2016 with a $240 (12/1) potential overall maximum win amount much harder to Hedge against compared to a $500 (25/1 potential payout) one. Markets are markets and the Early Bird always gets the worm... and the best numbers. And maybe that’s another reason the Wise Guys are so wise.
NCAA Championship Futures Hedge-Minded Picks: Duke 12/1, Michigan State 30/1, Arizona 30/1, Wisconsin 55/1 (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook)