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Futures Betting

Futures Betting

Sadonna Price
Sadonna Price
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What Is A Futures Bet
How Do Futures Bets Work
Best Strategies For Futures Bets

Online sportsbooks in the United States have dramatically improved the sports betting experience for the average person. Bettors are now able to conveniently place a huge range of wagers on a variety of sports and leagues from around the world from a location of their choice.

Not only does the easy access to betting lines increase the action on daily sporting events, but it also means more people are wagering on futures. Here, we will take a look at futures bets and go through all that you need to know about them.

Pros & Cons Of Futures Betting

There are many benefits to futures bets, and far more advantages than disadvantages.


  • For starters, many of the odds for futures are lucrative, and that means a potentially large payout for the bettor based on a small investment.
  • Futures also give you something to root for over a longer period of time than just one game.
  • Knowing you have a futures bet in place could prevent you from making extra bets and damaging your bankroll.


  • The biggest downside of futures is that they’re difficult to win. It’s tough to predict sporting events in advance, whether it’s just a few days or several months. This is the reason many of the odds are so profitable.
  • Bettors should also keep in mind that futures can tie up funds for a long period of time, so that is a smaller portion of the bankroll that you have to work with.

Still, we’d say futures bets are worth it.

What Are Future Bets?

Futures bets are pretty much exactly what they sound like. These bets are all about placing a wager that will be decided in the future rather than betting on a single game that may only take a couple of hours.

One of the big selling points for this type of bet is that they can pay out quite large sums of money. Many futures bets are made well in advance, such as picking a championship winner at the start of a season. Because accurately predicting an event so far in the future is quite difficult, the odds are long and the payouts are big.

And thanks to online sportsbooks, bettors no longer need to wait in line at the casino to put their money on the winner of the NBA Finals or the Super Bowl at the start of each season, as mobile betting sites make betting futures easier than ever.

How Do Futures Odds Work?

Futures odds are posted long before an event is due to take place. For most team sports, this means futures betting odds are posted in the offseason with plenty of time until the start of the season.

Examples include:

  • Division Winners
  • Conference Winners
  • Champion
  • Awards (MVP, Cy Young, Art Ross, etc.)

Now all futures are long-term, however, many of these bets don’t need to be placed before the season. Many futures markets also remain open during the regular season. Bettors can pick a division winner, conference winner, and a champion (among other things) as the season progresses and odds are updated by sportsbooks.

Another interesting fact is that depending on the exact market and when the bet is placed, futures can take days or weeks to settle rather than months. For instance, the winner of a golf tournament takes four days, and the winner of a tennis tournament would take a couple of weeks.

How To Place These Bets

In order to place futures bets, you need to first visit your online sportsbook and sign in. From there, you’ll have to pick a specific sport and league before looking for a tab that says Futures.

Some sportsbooks will separate team and player futures into different categories, while others will not.

It’s important to note that futures odds are always changing, especially during an ongoing season. But bettors should keep in mind that their wager is locked in at the odds that were available when it was placed. There is no updating the odds of a bet that is currently in play.

Futures Examples

Online sportsbooks present futures odds for all of the biggest leagues in the United States. Whether you want to pick the Super Bowl champion, the winner of the NL East, the NBA MVP, or who will win The Masters Tournament, these sites have you covered. Below, we’ll go sport-by-sport to let bettors know what to expect for each league and its futures options.

NFL Futures Odds Betting

There is no sport with more fanfare in the United States than pro football, and it is the most popular sport to bet on as well. That goes for weekly games in addition to futures, and there are plenty of options, including but not limited to:

  • Super Bowl Winner
  • AFC/NFC Champion
  • Division Winners
  • Team Win Totals
  • To Make The Playoffs
  • Regular Season MVP
  • Offensive/Defensive Rookie Of The Year
  • Coach Of The Year

While some of the awards-related categories are likely to disappear once Week 1 starts, bettors will still be able to place bets on most of the above until late in the season.

The Super Bowl champion betting market may be the most popular among all futures bets.

NBA Futures Odds Betting

The NBA is another sport that sees tons of action from bettors throughout the entire year, and not only while the season is going on. There are also a variety of NBA futures options at sportsbooks including:

  • NBA Champion
  • Conference Winner
  • Division Winner
  • Team Win Totals
  • Player Awards (MVP, Rookie of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year, etc.)

Bettors can continue wagering on most of these options throughout the course of the season and through the playoffs. Once the postseason arrives, short-term futures will be posted for every matchup including Series Winner, Total Games, and Exact Series Outcome, among other things.

MLB Futures Odds Betting

Major League Baseball gains tons of traction among bettors from the spring through the fall when the World Series is played. This is another sport that sportsbooks are sure to have many futures categories available for, and many of them pay handsomely.

  • World Series Winner
  • AL/NL Pennant Winners
  • Division Winners
  • Team Win Totals
  • Player Awards (Cy Young, MVP etc.)

Selecting a World Series champion or a pennant/division winner can be done at any point thanks to sportsbooks updating odds as the season is played. Baseball is a sport that is harder to predict at the start of the season than some others, so waiting to see how the teams stack up before placing any MLB futures could be the way to go.

NHL Futures Odds Betting

Though it may not be quite as popular in the United States, the NHL has a passionate and loyal base of fans and bettors. Hockey is a fast-paced and thrilling sport that is fun to bet on for both individual games and futures, and there are many markets offered.

  • Stanley Cup Champion
  • East/West Winners
  • Division Winners
  • Team Win Totals
  • Team Point Totals
  • Awards (Hart, Art Ross, Vezina, Conn Smythe, etc.)

Similar to most other sports, oddsmakers add postseason lines for many different aspects of a series including the winner, total games, and exact outcome. These short-term futures are exhilarating due to the notorious excitement and unpredictability that comes with the NHL playoffs.

Golf Futures Odds Betting

Betting on PGA Tour golf has been exploding in popularity over recent years, and the sport is an interesting case from a gambling perspective. Because golf is a sport played over four days, technically many of the bets are futures, even if the bet doesn’t take months to settle.

Golf bettors do have daily options such as individual round matchups and micro-betting on specific holes, but there are also many other bets one can place including:

  • Outright Winner
  • Finishing Position (Top 5, 10, 20, 30, & 40)
  • Nationality Props (Top American, Top European, etc.)
  • Tournament Winning Margin
  • Will There Be a Hole-In-One?

You can bet on the winner of an event at any time but at the end of each round, sportsbooks will re-post odds for some of the finishing positions (top 20 and under usually). Technically, these are live bets because the tournament is ongoing, even if play for the day is over. The four-day format of golf makes live betting different from other sports, where the actual game is going on when you place any in-game wager.

Strategies For Futures Bets

For those looking to seriously get into futures betting, there are a couple of strategies that can be employed. Here, we’ll take a look at a few of them and you can decide for yourself if it’s something to put into play the next time you check sportsbook odds.

Bet On Multiple Teams

Another option is to place bets on a number of different teams in the same sport. For example, you bet on three different NFL teams to win the Super Bowl. This way, if one of your teams wins, you will still have made a profit even when you’ve placed three separate bets.

Live Betting During The Season

While most bettors place their bets before the season starts — often there are better odds at this time — it can be worth waiting. Sometimes choosing a bet during the season will get you better odds, but they can also be worse. No matter what, though, placing a bet mid-season will give you a better idea of the status of the teams.

Shop Around For Lines

Sportsbooks can have very different impressions of certain teams compared to their peers. Before filling out any bet slips, shop around to make sure you are getting the best line possible. Futures odds tend to vary more than everyday odds, so this cannot be stressed enough. It can mean a major difference in your eventual payout if you are to win.

Hedge A Futures Bet

Hedging is a popular strategy, and it’s more easily done with futures because of the long-term nature of these bets. Hedging refers to taking the opposite side of a wager you have already placed, and bettors enact this strategy to guarantee themselves a profit.

For example, you bet $100 on the Los Angeles Lakers to win the NBA title at +500 to start the season, so your potential payout is $500 in profit. Then, say the Lakers make it to The Finals vs. the Brooklyn Nets, who are +100 to win the series.

A hedge would be the same bettor putting $250 on the Nets to win the Finals, because this guarantees profits no matter what.

If the Lakers win, he wins $500 and loses $250 from the Nets bet, winning $250 in total. If the Nets win, the bettor wins $250 and loses the $100 from the Lakers bet, still profiting $150. There are many different ways to hedge and the amount is up to the bettor, but this is just one example.

Futures Betting

Futures bets are a very popular type of betting option. In fact, they’re getting even more popular. And while they are hard to predict, there are many positives including large payouts and extended rooting interest.

Futures are not for everyone, though. So, with that in mind, make sure that you understand the sport you choose to place a future bet on. This will help you to make as accurate a bet as possible. On top of that, you will be able to enjoy the games and season as it all unfolds.

Finally, shop around for the best futures odds and keep an eye on any changes.

Thirsty For More Betting Knowledge? Check Our Sports Betting Guides Hub.


About the author

For almost two decades, Sadonna has remained at the forefront of the gambling industry in the US and abroad, covering the latest news and legal update...

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