What Are Futures Bets in Sports Betting?

Futures bets are wagers placed on events that will result in the future, such as the outcome of a sports season or a major tournament. Unlike traditional bets placed on a single game or event that is resolved quickly, futures bets involve outcomes that are determined over a longer period, sometimes spanning weeks, months, or even an entire season.

What Is the Definition of a Futures Bet?

A futures bet is a wager made on the outcome of an event or season that will be determined at a later date. This type of bet is most commonly associated with predicting a champion in a league, the winner of a tournament, or individual accolade recipients like season MVPs. For example, you might place a futures bet on the team you believe will win the Super Bowl before the NFL season even starts.

DraftKings explains futures bets as opportunities for bettors to lock in odds on a team or individual that they believe will win a championship, aligning with their long-term predictions.

How Do Futures Bets Differ from Other Types of Sports Wagers?

Futures bets are distinct from other betting types mainly due to their extended timeframe. While a standard bet on a single game resolves following the event’s ending, futures bets may not pay out until the event’s completion, which could be many months away. The extended period generates larger potential payouts due to the difficulty in accurately predicting outcomes over a longer timeline.

In contrast to point spreads or over/under bets, which are settled based on specific performance metrics in a single match, futures require a broader view. They account for an entire season’s worth of games or the full duration of a tournament. The long-term nature of these bets can tie up a bettor’s funds for extended periods, and any number of unforeseen events like player injuries, trades, or even game cancellations can affect the potential outcome.

Understanding the nature of futures betting is crucial for bettors considering diving into this betting style. It involves patience and a strategic approach to maximize potential returns while minimizing risk. It’s a game not just of predictions, but also of watching how a season unfolds and adapting accordingly.

How Do You Place Futures Bets?

Placing futures bets online is a straightforward process, and here’s a step-by-guide to make your first wager. First, you’ll need to choose a reputable sportsbook that offers comprehensive futures betting options. Look for one that features events like March Madness, the Super Bowl, and the NBA Finals. If you’re ready to get started, you can check out offers from partnering sportsbooks.

Step 1: Create an account on a sportsbook
Select a sportsbook that operates in your state and has favorable reviews from other bettors. Popular choices include Bet365, BetMGM, and DraftKings.

Step 2: Deposit funds
Before you can place any bets, you’ll need to deposit money into your account. Most sportsbooks offer several methods to fund your account, such as credit cards, e-wallets, and bank transfers.

Step 3: Navigate the sportsbook
Head to the dedicated futures section or check the specific sport’s page for futures markets. Here you can find a variety of futures bets, including potential winners of the MLB World Series, NFL Super Bowl, and other major championships.

Step 4: Choose your market
Select your preferred future market. This could be anything from the team to win a championship, to a player to earn an MVP award, to PGA Tour event winners.

Step 5: Place your bet
Once you’ve decided on your bet, choose the market and confirm your wager. Enter the amount you wish to bet and place your futures bet.

When choosing a sportsbook for futures betting, consider the variety of options available and the odds offered. The best value for your bet might not always be with the first sportsbook you check, so it’s beneficial to shop around. Compare futures odds across different sportsbooks, and also look at the terms for parlaying future bets, as these can vary.

Handling your first futures bet can seem daunting, but with some research and strategic thinking about when and what to bet on, you can add an exciting dimension to your sports betting experience. Whether you’re eyeing a favorite or sensing an underdog story, futures betting can be a lucrative long-term investment in your sports fandom.

Which Sports Can You Bet on with Futures?

When it comes to futures betting, virtually every professional sport presents an opportunity to get in on the action. With NFL futures betting, you can predict which team will hoist the Lombardi Trophy months in advance or bet on who will win MVP before the season even starts.

NBA enthusiasts pore over the latest NBA championship odds, trying to forecast which powerhouse or dark horse will dominate the courts. Meanwhile, MLB followers contribute to the debate with their own MLB season predictions, analyzing every statistic to choose the next World Series champion.

Let’s dive in with examples across these sports:

  • In the NFL, the scope extends from Super Bowl winner predictions to conference championships, division titles, and even player-specific futures like MVP.
  • NBA betting landscape is abundant with wagers on the eventual champions, conference victors, and numerous player awards such as Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year.
  • MLB betting aficionados speculate on outcomes like the World Series winner, league MVP, and Cy Young Award recipients.

But futures betting doesn’t stop with the big three American sports leagues. You can also place futures bets on events such as the Stanley Cup in the NHL, major golf tournaments, tennis opens, and even college sports championships.

Each season is full of potential highlights to bet on:

  • The culmination of the NFL season, the Super Bowl, often sees a surge in futures bets as fans and bettors try to outsmart the sportsbooks.
  • The NBA Finals have its own allure with dynamic teams battling for the title, influencing bettors to make early predictions based on NBA championship odds.
  • The MLB season concludes with the World Series, where speculation on the winner starts early in the season, guided by MLB season predictions.

Popular sportsbooks like Bet365, BetMGM, and DraftKings feature these bets prominently, tempting bettors with a blend of long-term investment and the potential for a significant payday.

However, there’s more to consider than just winnings. Drawbacks, such as an extended commitment and unforeseen elements like injuries, can influence the outcome of your futures bet. So, it’s essential to understand the entire landscape of futures betting to make informed bets across these thrilling sports seasons.

Armed with this information and the right strategy, your next wager on an NFL, NBA, or MLB future event could be not only a lot of fun but also particularly rewarding. Keep an eye on the odds, stay updated on season highlights, and you may just find yourself a few steps ahead in the futures betting game.

When Should You Place a Futures Bet?

When considering when to place a futures bet, timing is everything if you’re aiming for the best odds. The most opportune moment often comes down to two critical periods: during the early market phase and prior to the impact of offseason moves or other preseason factors that could significantly alter futures odds.

Timing Your Bet for the Best Odds

Should you lock in your bet early or wait? The early market stage of betting can yield enticing odds, particularly if you’re confident in your pick before the public and the oddsmakers have had a chance to react to preseason developments. Encashing on early market futures betting often means jumping in before the majority of bets shape the odds.

Impact of Offseason Moves and Other Preseason Factors on Futures Odds

Offseason roster moves, trades, injuries, or even rumors can shift futures odds considerably. For example, the acquisition of a top free agent or a key player recovering from injury could shorten the odds for a team’s championship victory, thus potentially reducing your payout. Monitoring these moves closely is essential if you want to stay ahead of the game. However, there is no magic formula for the perfect timing; it’s a gamble that requires insight and sometimes a bit of luck.

In essence, whether or not to dive into early or late futures betting hinges on your understanding of the sport, the value perceived in the current odds, and your prediction of how these odds might shift as the season approaches or unfolds. By keeping tabs on the conditions that influence the betting landscape, you can make a more informed decision on when to commit to your futures bets. If you’re ready to explore the ins and outs of futures bets and take advantage of timing, check out the useful information on DraftKings, a reputable sportsbook that frequently updates its futures betting options.

In reviewing various sports betting facets, it’s clear that futures bets allow for strategizing around specific events throughout the sports calendar. Whether it’s March Madness, the Super Bowl, or The Masters, understanding the intricacies of futures betting and the ideal moments to lock in your wagers can lead to a more thrilling and potentially rewarding betting experience. Keep in mind, the success of futures betting is not just about when you bet, but also where you bet. Comparing the offerings of top sportsbooks like Bet365 and FanDuel can provide the competitive edge needed to make the most of your futures betting adventure.

What Strategies Can Enhance Your Futures Betting Success?

When you dive into the world of futures betting strategies, understanding value is your golden ticket. You might ask, “What makes for a solid futures betting approach?” The answer lies in recognizing true value and accurately assessing long-term probabilities. Now, let’s break down how you can apply this understanding to elevate your betting game.

Understanding Value and Assessing Long-Term Probabilities

Knowing the value involves evaluating whether the potential payoffs of a bet are worth the risks over the duration until the outcome is decided. For example, if you’re examining the NFL Super Bowl winner market, you need to consider the teams’ abilities, their paths to the finals, and the odds presented. If the odds reflect a higher chance of winning than you believe is accurate, that’s where you find value. This requires doing homework, like analyzing team performances, tracking player injuries, and even the impact of trades or coaching changes.

Hedging Strategies: How and When to Use Them for Futures Bets

Now, onto hedging future wagers. Hedging is like taking out insurance on your bets. Sometimes, halfway through the season, you might find that your initial prediction is holding up quite well and you stand a good chance of a payout. Should you let it ride or lock in some profit? This is where hedging comes in. It involves placing a counter-bet to guarantee a win regardless of the event’s outcome, thereby minimizing risk and ensuring a return.

The best time to hedge is when the remaining outcomes are relatively few and predictable. An example is hedging during the playoff season for a team you’ve bet on to win the championship. Another strategic moment for hedging is during the finals or when a significant event could potentially affect the outcome, dramatically swinging the odds in or out of your favor.

While betting on futures can include long wait times and a significant amount of unpredictability, applying strategies like understanding value and knowing when to hedge can significantly enhance your success rate. Remember to keep an eye on the future betting sections of top sportsbooks like DraftKings and consistently compare odds to find the best value bets. Whether you’re eyeing the next MLB World Series winner or looking for the edge in the NCAA basketball tournament, these futures betting strategies are your playmakers for a smarter betting playbook.

What Are the Risks and Rewards of Futures Betting?

When it comes to futures betting, there’s a delicate balance between potential high rewards and significant risks. Let’s explore what’s at stake.

Evaluating the Potential Payouts vs. the Holding Period of Your Bet

The possibility of landing a substantial return on investment is certainly an advantage of futures betting. You could be looking at a payout that far exceeds your initial stake if your prediction for a season’s outcome is on point. Consider this scenario: You place a bet on an underdog, and over time, their odds improve, leaving you poised for a major win if they succeed.

However, it’s not all clear skies and smooth sailing. The significant risk here lies in the holding period of your bet. Unlike single-game wagers, a futures bet ties up your funds over a lengthy period—from weeks to months—during which anything could happen. Injuries, trades, or other unforeseen events could sway the competition and affect the outcome of your bet.

Longshot Bets: Weighing the Chance of Huge Payouts Against the Odds

Let’s talk about longshot bets. These are the dark horses, the unlikely heroes of the betting world. They offer the tantalizing chance of a huge payout due to their low probability of winning at the time of betting. When such a shot does come in, it can be a game-changer.

But here’s the deal: The odds are stacked against you with longshot bets. They are called longshots for a reason, offering a low percentage chance of winning. When you place a longshot bet, you accept that while you might strike it rich, you’re more likely to lose your stake.

DraftKings, a leading sportsbook, provides opportunities to lay down these futures bets. Yet, the challenge for bettors is to recognize when the potential return justifies the risks—including the long wait and the slim chances. When assessing futures bets, consider the competitive landscape, the timing of your bet, and the evolving odds.

Remember, picking a future champion in sports like the Super Bowl or NBA Finals isn’t just about hunches; it’s about being strategic, patient, and sometimes, a bit daring. The rewards can be substantial, but so can the losses. Always balance the thrill of a possible big win against the reality of the bet’s timeframe and the likelihood of your chosen outcome.

How Can You Manage Your Bankroll with Futures Bets?

Managing your bankroll effectively is key to success in futures betting. You’ll want to allocate funds to these long-term wagers without breaking the bank. One tip is to designate a specific percentage of your bankroll to futures and stick to it. This prevents overspending and allows you to enjoy other betting opportunities while your future bets are active.

Diversifying your sports betting portfolio is just as important as diversifying a financial investment portfolio. By spreading your bets across different markets, you mitigate risk and increase the chance of securing a profit. This can involve placing wagers on different sports, leagues, or even types of bets. And remember, while futures betting can be incredibly fun—and potentially lucrative—it does involve tying up part of your bankroll for an extended period.

So, smart bankroll management in futures betting comes down to discipline and diversification. By budgeting carefully and not putting all your eggs in one basket, you can make future bets work for you all season long.

How Do Bookmakers Set Futures Betting Lines?

Why do sports betting lines for future events change? Precision first: Betting lines change over time primarily due to shifts in public betting patterns, relevant news (like player injuries or trades), and updated statistical models.

Bookmakers leverage a combination of expertise, data analysis, and public sentiment when setting futures betting lines. The process begins with their own advanced algorithms, which incorporate an array of factors such as team performance metrics, player statistics, and historical data. These initial lines are then adjusted based on how bettors are wagering, keeping the books balanced and limiting exposure.

Understanding how to read futures sports lines is crucial. When you look at a futures market, the odds you see are bookmakers’ latest assessments of each outcome’s probability, conveying both the payouts you can expect and the implied likelihood of an event’s result. When you’re calculating potential payouts, remember that these odds reflect not just the chances of winning but also the betting public’s trends.

For instance, if you notice the odds for a team winning the NFL Super Bowl have shortened, it might be due to a surge in bets placed on that team. Conversely, if a key player is injured and the odds lengthen, this suggests a lower probability of that team’s success.

Monitoring the changes in futures lines over time can also provide insights. Sharper bettors follow these fluctuations closely, understanding they may indicate movements in market sentiment or reactions to the latest news and performances. This interpretive skill can unlock value in the futures market, allowing informed bettors to act before the lines shift further.

Whether the event is a high-profile championship like the NBA Finals or a less publicized tournament, future lines give a dynamic picture of the unfolding odds, and savvy bettors can harness this information for strategic wagering.

Can You Combine Futures Bets with Other Types of Wagers?

Yes, you can combine futures bets with other types of wagers, like parlays, depending on the sportsbook’s rules. Parlaying future bets involves linking several bets together for a potential higher payout, but it also comes with higher risk, as all linked bets must win for the parlay to pay out.

The Pros and Cons of Parlaying Futures Bets
Parlaying futures bets can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s tempting to aim for that hefty winnings from a small stake, as the combined odds multiply the potential payout. Yet, the challenges are just as real; the likelihood of winning a parlay diminishes with each additional bet. This means your savvy selections each need to stand the test of time and other unpredictable elements to secure that final lucrative reward.

Most sportsbooks offer this option, but the crucial part to remember is correlation. While you may be eager to stack predictions in a single sport, sportsbooks typically do not allow bets within the same event or related outcomes to be parlayed, as they can influence each other’s probability.

Distinguishing Between Prop Bets and Futures in Your Betting Strategy
Understanding the difference between proposition bets (prop bets) and futures is essential in strategizing your wagers. Prop bets are bets on specific occurrences or non-occurrences within a game or event, like a player scoring a certain number of points or hitting a home run. They are generally focused on shorter-term outcomes within individual games or events.

On the other hand, futures are long-term bets on outcomes that will be decided in the future, like which team will win the championship at the end of the season or who will receive MVP honors. With futures, your money is tied up for a longer period, and patience is key.

Knowing how to navigate these different bet types can provide an edge in your overall sports betting strategy, as you can choose when to seek immediate results with prop bets or play the long game with futures.

The decision to parlay futures or to invest singly should align with your betting goals and bankroll strategy. If you’re thinking about diving into futures bets, it might be a good idea to check out the offerings from top sportsbooks like Bet365, BetMGM, or DraftKings for current opportunities.

Are There Resources That Can Help with Futures Bets?

When diving into futures bets, what resources can bolster your strategic approach? The answer lies in robust historical data and a suite of reliable analysis tools. By leveraging these resources, bettors can make more informed decisions when placing futures bets.

Using Historical Data to Inform Your Futures Betting Decisions
Historical data serves as a treasure trove of insights for futures betting. Patterns and trends from past sports seasons can guide your predictions and help identify valuable betting opportunities. Analyzing past performance of teams and players in specific conditions gives you an edge in forecasting future outcomes. For instance, if a particular NFL team has consistently performed well in past seasons, this might indicate a strong potential for future success.

Finding Reliable Sources and Tools for Futures Betting Analysis
The quest for reliable analytical tools and resources need not be a solo expedition. A myriad of online platforms and sports databases offer comprehensive data and statistical analysis tailored for futures betting. From evaluating team performance metrics to scrutinizing player statistics, these platforms provide the practical insights necessary for making smart futures wagers. If you’re ready to dig deeper into resources that can bolster your futures betting, consider checking out this handy tool.

Remember, while historical data and analytical tools can significantly enhance your betting strategy, they aren’t failproof. External factors like injuries, trades, and even unforeseen events can impact the course of a sports season and, consequently, your futures bets. Thus, while these resources are incredibly valuable, combining this insightful data with a measured approach and sound bankroll management remains paramount.


In the vast arena of sports betting, diving into futures bets can be both exhilarating and complex. From the foundational understanding of what futures bets encompass to strategic approaches for placing them, this post has covered the extensive landscape of futures betting. We discussed the nuances that distinguish futures bets from other wagers, the optimal timing for placing these bets, and the variety of sports where futures betting shines. We also peeled back the layers on strategies that could potentially enhance your success, the inherent risks versus rewards, and bankroll management.

Yet, what truly stands out is the intricate dance between knowledge and intuition in futures betting—a balance of statistical analysis, appreciation of the odds, and the thrill of anticipation. Whether you are calculating potential payouts or pondering the fusion of futures with other bets, the route to becoming a savvy futures bettor is marked by informed decisions and a diversified approach. Remember, the tools and data at your disposal are key to crafting a well-informed bet that could lead to significant payouts. Any seasoned bettor knows that a well-placed futures bet isn’t just a gamble; it’s an investment in foresight and strategy.


Q: What exactly is a futures bet in sports betting?
A: A futures bet is a wager on the outcome of a future event, typically encompassing a whole season or tournament, such as betting on which team will win the Super Bowl before the NFL season begins.

Q: How is futures betting different from other sports wagers?
A: Futures betting differs by having a longer timeframe for the wager to resolve, potentially spanning months or a full season, and often offers larger payouts due to the inherent difficulty in predicting long-term outcomes.

Q: Which sports are available for futures betting?
A: Virtually every professional sport, including the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, as well as major golf and tennis events, are available for futures betting, allowing bets on the outcome of championships, MVP awards, and more.

Q: When is the best time to place a futures bet?
A: The best timing for placing a futures bet can be early in the betting market or just before significant preseason changes impact the odds, balancing the potential odds against the likelihood of unforeseen events influencing the outcome.

Q: What strategies can improve success in futures betting?
A: Successful strategies for futures betting include understanding the value of a bet versus its risks, assessing long-term probabilities, and using hedging at strategic times to lock in profits and minimize risk.

Q: What are the risks and rewards involved with futures betting?
A: Futures betting has the potential for high rewards, such as substantial payouts if a longshot bet succeeds. However, it also involves risks like the lengthy period your funds are tied up and the uncertainties of player injuries or team performance changes.

Please note that betting involves financial risk and can be addictive. It is important to bet responsibly and only gamble with funds you can afford to lose.