Using Betting Lines And Futures To Make Sports Cards Picks
It’s fun to cheer on your favorite team or player throughout the season, but if you invest in aligning sports cards, a good season makes you money.
The same can be said about sports betting, whether that means taking the over on total wins, picking the Rookie of the Year before the season tips off, or more.
In today’s article, we’ll discuss how sports betting and sports card investing overlap, and how you can use betting lines and futures to make strategic picks.
Sports cards and sports betting: A surprising correlation
Perhaps no stronger correlation between sports cards and sports betting can be highlighted than what happened in 2020.
When live sports stopped, the sports card market exploded. Three years later, it’s still going strong.
So why did this happen? When you sports bet, you use strategy to make money based on knowing more about sports (hopefully) than your peers. When you invest in sports cards, you’re doing the exact same thing – trying to secure rookies or parallels of the next big star.
The overlap between opening boxes of cards and betting on games is similar, too: both are a rush with a chance to pay off big if you defy the odds, and let’s face it, both take a decent amount of luck.
But many of the sports betters who came to sports cards during the pandemic have stuck around. Why? Here’s a look at 3 reasons sports card investing is better than sports betting.
You always have value
If you place $1,000 on the Chiefs to win the Super Bowl, how much do you have left if the Chiefs don’t win the Super Bowl? Zero dollars.
If you buy a $1,000 Patrick Mahomes rookie before the season, and Mahomes does not win the Super Bowl but has another stellar season, what do you have left? A card worth at least $1,000, but maybe upwards of $1,500.
When you buy sports cards, they never lose all their value like a betting slip can. Even if a player suffers an injury or has a down year, the card’s value doesn’t completely collapse – it just dips.
Longer term game
How much does it pay to bet the Grizzlies to win the NBA Finals in 2026? We’ll never know – you can’t place that bet for several years.
But you can invest in Ja Morant cards and watch the value grow over the next several seasons to the point that, if they do win the Finals in 2026, your collection has grown exponentially.
In short, sports cards allow you to invest in more long-tail outcomes than sports betting does.
More players to pick from
When you sports bet, you have a limited list of players and several outcomes to pick from. For example, you can bet on MVP, ROY, or Most Improved Player in the NBA.
There are a lot of players that have cards worth investing in that don’t make a pre-season futures list. If you want to take a longer shot, a sports card investment is the way to go.
Using betting lines and futures to make picks
Nobody knows more about sports than the oddsmakers in Vegas.
By this point, advanced analytics make even the sharpest betters struggle, and there’s a reason for that: every year, we can collect more and more data from sporting events that the lines are better and better.
Thankfully, that can actually help a sports card investor. Leveraging Vegas’ insight can lead to some solid pick-ups if you’re looking to buy and flip throughout the season.
Here’s how you can use the lines and futures to help you make strategic picks for your cards.
Looking at team futures
Team futures are a good indication of how a team will perform over the course of the upcoming year, and oftentimes betters are on this before sports card investors.
For example, the Philadelphia Eagles had surprisingly high chances of winning the NFC per Vegas, and they attracted a lot of preseason betting action despite going just 9-8 the previous year. Just like advertised, though, the Eagles won the NFC and made Philly betters a good deal of money.
Going into the season though, most sports card investors were more locked in on rookies and Mahomes, Allen, Herbert and Burrow. Jalen Hurts was widely overlooked. That said, if you had looked at the team’s future, noticed the Eagles discrepancy, and bought a lot of Jalen Hurts during the pre-season, you’d have made quite a bit of cash.
Whether you’re scouring team futures for surprising overachievers or disappointing underwhelmers, the Vegas lines can give you a good lean. Look at the odds, study the hottest cards on the market, and make moves before other investors can react.
Looking at award futures
Sports card investing is about investing in individual players more than teams, so award futures can be a great assist. Before a season starts, or even as it progresses, constantly check the MVP and ROY odds.
Where should you look? A good place to start is actually toward the bottom of the list. If a player is in the Top 5 on the MVP futures, he’s probably already having an amazing season and his value is inflated to match.
But if you look lower on the list and check frequently enough, you’ll notice names jumping onto the list for the first time. Again, Vegas always moves faster than sports card investors, so the names cracking the bottom of list are probably players that are turning heads in Vegas without getting nationwide media attention and getting award attention from ESPN and others. These are great investment opportunities.
For example, Shai Gilgeous Alexander broke onto the MVP Futures list at +20,000 odds during the first couple weeks of the 2022-23 NBA season, but it wasn’t until about a month in that big media outlets started hyping up his amazing season. I’d bought quite a bit of his stuff early in the season, and it’s up almost 50%.
Knowing what to look for in Award Futures can get you on the right track to making big money on player investments.
Conclusion: Get better odds of a great investment using lines
If you are a serious sports card collector that wants to give yourself the best chance of success, definitely utilize sports betting lines if you aren’t already. It’s a great way to get ahead of sports card trends before they actually happen but using sources that are quite efficient.
Have you used futures or betting lines to help you find investment potential? Let us know how it worked on Twitter @card_lines. And don’t forget to sign-up for our free newsletter! Happy Breaking!