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Protect Your Unit, Preseason: Futures Betting!

Now you can make fake bets for the entire season!

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Oregon State v California Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

(DISCLAIMER: This game is for entertainment purposes only. No actual money is being wagered.)

The college football season begins soon, and that means it’s almost time to kick off this website’s most famous side game: Protect Your Unit.

Oh, wait, I forgot. We’ve already kicked off!

Normally, the game starts the Monday the week of the first college football game. But we’ve added an exciting new feature: Futures Bets!

A futures bet is a bet on some sort of long-term proposition, something typically not decided in one contest. In college football, you can bet on who will win the National Championship, who will win the Heisman Trophy, how many games your team will win, and so forth. These offer some sort of pay line, such as +160 (bet $100 to win $160) or -600 (bet $600 to win $100), depending on the likelihood of the proposition at hand.

For example, if you want to bet on Clemson to win the national championship, it pays +225. If you want to bet on Vanderbilt to win the national championship, it pays +500000 - literally $5000 for a $1 bet. These are the same odds that were offered on small-time Leicester City to win the English Premier League in 2015-16. They did it, and UK bookies had to pay out 25 million pounds. (I honestly thought it’d be more. There’s a betting shop on every corner in that country.)

You can see all the futures bets available at the futures page at In general, the types of bets are:

  • Over/Under wins: bet that this time will exceed or finish below the specified number of wins. For example, USF is 6.5. But the payouts vary; you only win -165 if they exceed it. Nevada is also 6.5, but pays +125, suggesting the house thinks USF is more likely to meet this goal than Nevada. You can also bet that the team will finish below this number.
  • National Championship: This team will win the national championship.
  • Playoff Team: This will be one of the four playoff teams.
  • Conference Champion: This team will wins its conference championship game.
  • Heisman Trophy: A player from this team will win the Heisman Trophy. (It doesn’t matter which player.)

Not all bet types are available for all teams. National bets are unavailable for most non-Power 5 teams. Some bets are missing for obvious reasons, like the conference bet for teams that don’t play in a conference. And the real sports betting houses, on which our data is always based, don’t always offer every possible line.

Now, some particulars:

  • Futures bets are optional. You don’t have to make any if you don’t want to. You don’t have to bet any AAC teams.
  • You may bet up to $100 of your starting $1000 on futures.
  • Minimum bet is $1 as always.
  • Over/under win bets are for the regular season only. Conference championship games and bowl games don’t count towards the win total.
  • Over/under win bets are voided if a team’s opponents changes. In other words, if games are cancelled and then rescheduled against different opponents, as we’ve seen in recent years, any bets on those teams’ win totals is void (returned without winning or losing). This is true even if a bet has already clinched. Changing the date and/or location of a game without changing the opponent does not void it.
  • Over/under win bets are only paid when the team completes its regular season. In other words, if you bet UConn to win more than 2.5 games and they start 3-0, you don’t get paid until their regular season ends.
  • Any combination of bets that does not exceed the $100 total limit is allowed.
  • Futures bets are only resolved when the underlying proposition is officially announced, clinched, or mathematically eliminated. If Alabama and Clemson go 13-0 again, Playoffs bets don’t pay until it’s officially announced.
  • During the season, money locked into futures bets is not available for further wagering. For example, if you bet $20 on futures and then lose $900 on regular games, you would only have $80 available to bet on next week’s games.
  • Rules pertaining to being out of money apply if all your remaining money is locked into futures bets.
  • If your futures bets later win, you may then use those winnings on subsequent

This is all pretend money, of course. Every now and then I like to remind everyone of that. We just play for funsies, and some minor prizes.

If you haven’t played the game at all, and would like to join, here’s how the regular season goes: you get $1,000 fake money to start. You must wager $50 to $250 or 5% to 25% of your bankroll per week. You must make at least three plays, one of which must involve an AAC team. You can skip one week if you’re not feelin’ it. There are higher limits for bowl games. At the end of the season, whoever has the most fake money wins.

For both futures and regular-season fake betting, you enter your selections by logging into If you don’t have a username/password for that website, or don’t remember yours, email me at and I’ll hook you right up. No cost or obligation. Not even any ads!

Futures bets are available from August 1 until the first game of the season kicks off, which is on August 24. Bets on Week 1 games don’t open until the Monday of that week, which is August 19. You can look at some lines here but can’t bet them yet.

For an introduction to sports gambling terminology in general, see The Gambollllll Glossary. Or, just ask. We’re a friendly bunch.

The website is a little wonky right now - you can’t view your futures bets other than the initial confirmation - but trust me, it works fine. I’ll get it spun up more over the weekend. Any questions, please ask!