With sports betting, most bettors want to participate in something that offers a little more instant gratification, such as betting on a game happening that week.
However, betting on futures offers plenty more value. Still, it isn’t bet nearly as often because you’ll have to potentially wait months for the final result.
Here, we’ll discuss what futures sports betting is, go over futures betting odds, and answer the question, “how do betting futures work?”
Table of Contents
What Is A Futures Bet?
A futures bet is wagering on an event in which the outcome happens, well, sometime in the distant future.
Example: Betting on the NFL Super Bowl winner in August when the event takes place in February.
When to Make Futures Bets
If you’re aiming for value, the best time to make futures bets is really the earlier, the better. This can depend on the sport, though.
Example: You can wait until the conclusion of the NFL Draft and free agency to see where the team stands.
It’s also a good idea to start betting on these before the season actually begins, as odds can begin changing rapidly.
How Futures Betting Odds Work
Futures betting odds work similarly to a moneyline bet. All you’re doing with these bets is picking who will win the contest, whether it’s an MVP award, championship, or winning a division.
So, there are instances of players/teams receiving “-” odds, but more often than not, you’ll receive “+” lines. These plus/minus indicators is how odds work across the gamut of sports betting.
Explaining “+” and “-” Odds
In a team versus team bet, the “-” indicates the favorite, whereas the “+” discerns the underdog. This is essentially the same for futures betting. If you have a field of options and you see something with “-” odds, this shows that the online sportsbook thinks highly of that outcome and views them as a larger favorite.
Example: If the odds are -120, you’ll need to bet $120 to win $100. However, if the odds are +120, you’ll win $120 if you bet $100.
Example: At Bovada, the Buffalo Bills have the best odds to win Super Bowl 57 but are +550. There are 30 different teams listed. Conversely, to win their division, the Bills are -250 because there are far fewer teams and fewer data points to account for.
Do Futures Odds Change?
Yes. Futures odds change all the time. These odds can change after a draft, after free agent signings, trade acquisitions, and the main one — when the season begins, and we see these teams play and take form.
Using the Bills example above of +550 for the Super Bowl, when it comes to the end of the season, and they’re, let’s say, 13-4, the Bills will almost certainly have “-” odds.
This is why betting before the season provides more value, with the only trade-off being needing to wait a bit longer to receive your payout.
Types of Futures Bets
There are ample types of futures bets to make. These extend beyond who wins whatever sports championship.
The list below shows the most common futures bets.
- Total Team Wins – Betting on how many moors betting online a team wins during the regular season.
- Post-Season Success – Betting on teams that makes the playoffs, win their division, win the conference, or win the championship.
- Players Stats – You can bet on the number of home runs a baseball player hits, touchdowns a quarterback throws, goals a hockey player scores, and more.
- Play Awards – Betting on which player wins an MVP award, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, Heisman Trophy winner, and more.
- Draft – You can bet which player goes No. 1 overall, the number of players taken from a certain conference, the number of players at a particular position, and more. These are also known as draft props.
Futures Betting Strategy
Interpreting the Odds
With futures wagers, you’ll need to take a slightly different approach and interpret the odds differently. As mentioned, the Bills have the best odds, and it’s still +550. This still gives that “+” line, but you have to consider the rest of the field and weigh the pros and cons of each team or player and their odds.
You may think a certain team or player wins a certain thing. Still, depending on the odds, the value could be too close to pass up, and you never want to get overconfident in your evaluation.
Example: The New Orleans Saints are +300 to win the NFC South, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are -250. Chances are the Buccaneers win, but the +300 value for a team that has beaten the Buccaneers readily the last few seasons is too good not to sprinkle some money on.
With weekly bets, you tend to make one bet and wait for the result. However, with futures bets and so much time to bet as you wait for the final result, you can hedge your bets.
It’s important with futures bets to place bets multiple times but at different times. This can result in your hedging your bets.
If you decide to do this, keeping track of your bets is important to ensure you have avenues to profit, especially for larger field bets.
Avoiding Teams/Players with “-” Value
This goes back to interpreting odds. When you see a team with “-” value, you may think the team in question wins. Still, the value isn’t there when you compare how much you’ll need to wager to win $100 and how long it’ll take for the bet to resolve. Of course, the closer a line is to -100, the more tolerable it can be, but it’s best to seek out the “+” value.
Buy Low When the Time Is Right
When you head into a season and feel confident about a team, sometimes it doesn’t always go according to plan — we’ve all been there.
You could see a team have +300 odds at the beginning of the season, and after a few weeks, it moves to +400. It’s important to remember that sports seasons are quite long, and things can change.
So, if you feel confident about a team and they’re in a slump, take advantage of the better odds when they arise.
Futures Betting By Sport
Futures wagers can change depending on the sport. Some awards are unique to the sport, but most are relatively similar.
Below, we’ll list the top futures bets for each sport.
- Super Bowl Winner
- Conference Winners
- Division Winners
- Win Totals
- MVP Winners
- Rookie of the Year
- Exact Top-Two Finishers In A Divison
- National Championship Winner
- Heisman Trophy Winner
- NBA Finals Winner
- Conference Winners
- Division Winners
- March Madness Tournament Winner
- World Series Winner
- Exact World Series Matchup
- AL Winner
- NL Winner
- Division Winner
- Cy Young Winner
- Rookie of the Year
- Stanley Cup Winner
- Conference Winners
- MLS Cup Winner
- Top Goalscorer
- Primeira Liga Winner
- Various Other Top League Winners
Other Types of Futures Bets
- Political Elections
- Award Show Winners
Where to Find Best Odds / Where to Play
If you want to bet on futures markets, BetUS is the place to be. When you get here, you’ll see that the welcome bonus offers up to $2,500 in value for the sportsbook and over $600 for the online casino — these are linked together.
However, the sheer volume of futures betting opportunities dwarfs really any other online sportsbook.
Here, you have your typical futures bets. Still, you can also bet on seemingly a never-ending roster of player prop futures, including reception and touchdown leaders in football, 6th man of the year in basketball, and more.
- The most incredible array of futures offers on the market
- $2,500 welcome bonus value
- Easy user interface
- Multi-use online gaming platform
Online since 2011, Bovada has proven time and time again to be one of the best online sportsbooks.
Bovada has a wide variety of futures markets, though hockey is probably the weakest overall.
The welcome bonus is a 100% deposit bonus worth up to $250 with just 5x wagering requirements.
Not only does Bovada offer the “baseline futures bets,” there are way more opportunities that you won’t find elsewhere.
- $250 Welcome Bonus
- Largest futures market
- Great odds on futures bets
- Limited hockey market
BetOnline ranks just behind Bovada. So close, in fact, you could consider this a “2A and 2B situation.”
The welcome offer at BetOnline is a 50% deposit match up to $1,000, so you have the upper hand in terms of monetary value.
However, BetOnline falls just behind Bovada in the overall volume of futures bets.
Yes, there are plenty available at BetOnline, but looking at all the sports, BetOnline is just behind.
Notably, however, BetOnline has more hockey futures than Bovada.
- $1,000 deposit bonus offer
- Solid overall futures markets
- Great additional promotions
- Slightly fewer promotions than Bovada
MyBookie may not have as many futures bets available as those that rank before it, but when compared to Bovada and BetOnline, it’s really quite close.
There tends to be more on football than on the more popular sports. Still, there are also plenty of futures betting opportunities for the more niche sports like tennis.
At MyBookie, you’ll receive a deposit bonus offer worth up to $1,000, and the wagering requirements on the bonus funds to withdraw it are 10x.
- Great futures betting opportunities for niche sports
- Covers the more popular sports well
- $1,000 deposit bonus
- The user interface could use some polish
- Some of the more popular sports could have more diverse markets
At Everygame, players receive three deposit bonuses worth up to $250 each. This offer is still higher than that of Bovada. Still, the futures markets are fine, though more so about the more basic offers instead of something new and exciting.
You’ll be able to bet on your championship, conference, and division winners, but anything more than that seems hard to find.
Also, the user interface design is OK, but dated more than others on this list.
- Three-part deposit bonus welcome offer
- Great odds on baseline futures bets
- Deposit bonus offer specific to football
- The user interface design is fairly weak and outdated
- No additional or exciting futures bets
No. After you’ve placed a bet, the odds you wagered on are locked in and won’t change until the game has reached a final result.
This depends on the online sportsbook, but it’s best to expect you’ll be unable to cancel them.
Online sportsbooks use algorithms and projections when setting futures odds. Also, they look at the number of competitors in the field of a bet. So, if there are 30 different teams listed, the odds are more likely to all be “+” because, at that point, you’re betting on that team and against the remaining 29 teams.
When betting on something such as a team wins, the under seems to be the safer bet as more things can go awry, such as injuries to make the team worse as the season continue. However, the safer bet of those two isn’t listed. If you’re having trouble deciding, we’d advise not to actually wager — don’t put yourself in a box.
Yes. Betting on what golfer or tennis player will win a tournament is no different than picking a team to win the Super Bowl. There’s a shorter window to take advantage of the odds because players can miss cuts, but it’s the same kind of process.
To place your first futures bet after creating an account and depositing money into your account, you’ll need to visit the sport you’re interested in on the site. There, you’ll find multiple options to choose from, with one of them being futures. When you click on this, the various futures betting options appear, and you can select from there.