Reader Mark chimes in:
The way the playoffs unfolded was the worst case scenario for a Giants futures holder...had any upsets occurred, the diff. between buying the futures and playing the ML each game would have shrunken (sic).
This is a fair criticism, and we don't want to let the results get in the way of the process. Luckily, I do this for a living, so at the start of the playoffs I made a spreadsheet with all the possible playoff scenarios to estimate accurate futures odds.
The Giants, for example, had about a 40% chance of beating the Bucs and advancing to round 2. Of those 40%, roughly 25% had them facing the Cowboys, and 15% the Packers. Of the 10% of scenarios where New York advances to the NFC Championship game, they face the Cowboys 2.8%, the Packers 4.9%, the Seahawks 1.4%, and the Redskins 0.9%. And so on.
The results? The Giants' odds indeed improve: they move all the way up to 163-1 dogs to win it all. The difference between this and 211-1 isn't much, because:
- The Giants have to face a top-2 NFC seed in round 2, and will probably face another in the NFC title game
- The Patriots were huge favorites to win the AFC
- The Colts, who probably win the AFC if the Pats don't, are also big favorites over the Giants
If I could give one piece of advice regarding futures betting, it would probably be to never bet a 5- or 6-seed to win the Super Bowl at the start of the playoffs. 40-1 odds may look sexy, but they will virtually never be good enough.