Futures Betting 101
US sports betting sites offer a number of different types of wagers. If you are new to the activity, you should gain an understanding of all your options, and futures betting is one of them. You can potentially take home some big paydays in the futures betting markets.
Most wagers are placed on games that are going to be resolved shortly after you make the bet. With sports futures betting, long-term prognostication is necessary, and this is an element that makes this type of wagering unique.
What is a futures bet?
As the name would indicate, when you place a futures bet, you are wagering on something that is going to happen in the future. The most common types of future bets revolve around team accomplishments.
There will be future bet odds posted on the team that is going to win the World Series, the Super Bowl, the Stanley Cup playoffs, the NBA title, and college championships. You will also see futures odds for the winners of leagues, divisions, and conferences.
If you place a futures bet on a team to win the World Series, you have action as long as your team still has a chance to win it all. You get great value when you place a futures bet because you have a vested interest in the outcome of every game that involves the team you bet on.
There is another level to this dynamic. Yes, you can pull for the team you supported, and you can also root against all the other teams, so you have multilayered interests.
In addition to futures on a team winning a title, there are player futures as well. You can bet on the player that will win the NFL MVP award, the Heisman Trophy, the MLB Cy Young Award, the Rookie of the Year, and other individual awards.
How do futures odds work?
The moneyline is utilized for the futures markets, and it can yield positive or negative returns. For example, at the time of this writing, FanDuel Sportsbook is taking wagers on the Buffalo Bills to win the Super Bowl at +550. You would win $550 for a $100 bet if the Bills pull it off.
Because there are so many different teams competing for an overall championship, in most cases, all of them will yield positive returns. However, you may see negative odds for division winners and other smaller groupings.
You have to consider the potential payout when it comes to futures odds. Let’s say that the Bills are -600 to win the AFC East. Is it wise to put up $600 and wait four or five months to collect a C-note if all goes well? Most seasoned sports bettors would say that the money can be put to better use.
Picking the most likely winner is not the objective when you are handicapping the futures. It’s a risk/reward equation, so the idea is to identify the teams that are undervalued in the futures betting markets.
When are futures bets paid out?
The fact that you have long-term action when you place futures bets is positive on the one hand because you get a lot of excitement for your money. On the other side of the coin, a portion of your bankroll is going to be tied up for an extended period of time.
You have to balance these two factors when considering the sports betting futures markets. If the potential payouts will be significant, the investment can be justified. But as we have stated, you probably do not want to leave your money in limbo as you hope that you will receive a modest return.
Can I cancel my futures bet?
Generally speaking, a sports bettor cannot decide to cancel a futures bet because this would defeat the purpose. You are taking a risk-based on a future outcome with full knowledge that the circumstances can change.
So the answer is no, you cannot cancel your sports betting futures wager on the Kansas City Chiefs to win the Super Bowl if Patrick Mahomes suffers a season-ending injury.
However, futures bets can be refunded when it is necessary and fair, and this happened recently. The 2020 NCAA tournament was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, and sports betting sites refunded March Madness futures wagers.
There is no standard rule that applies to every sports betting site, but they basically adhere to the same policies. Before you make a futures bet, you can read the fine print to gain an understanding of the terms of the wager and the reasons why a bet may be refunded.
NFL Futures Betting
Football is the most popular sport to bet on in the United States, and NFL futures markets attract a great deal of action. As we have touched upon, you can make a bet on the Super Bowl futures , and there are futures odds for NFL division winners and NFL conference winners .
The sportsbooks will update the betting odds on an ongoing basis throughout the season, and the probabilities can change dramatically. If a team goes on a sustained roll, the odds will reflect their dominance, and odds will get longer and longer when a team is consistently struggling.
The vast majority of the wagers in this market are NFL team futures, and there are also player futures. These are examples of common futures bets for the individual NFL player awards:
- Comeback Player of the Year
- Offensive Player of the Year
- Defensive Player of the Year
- Offensive Rookie of the Year
- Defensive Rookie of the Year
- NFL Passing Leader
- NFL Rushing Leader
- NFL Receiving Leader
You can enjoy a great deal of diverse action if you get involved in this futures market. However, injuries are extremely common in the game of football, so you are taking a calculated risk when you wager on the player futures market.
NBA Futures Betting
The NBA regular season is played in order to separate the contenders from the pretenders, and the real season begins when playoff time rolls around. Sportsbooks post odds to win each NBA division , the Eastern and Western Conference NBA futures odds , and the NBA finals futures odds .
Individual NBA player futures odds are established for basketball as well, and the different categories are similar for all of the professional sports in the United States. As the season goes on, the odds will continually be adjusted as more and more current information becomes available.
With regard to the NBA MVP futures, there is an important consideration that some people overlook. This award is almost always going to go to a player that is on a winning team, so if you are considering two players with equal potential, you should evaluate the strength of their respective teams.
Voters will usually side with a player on a successful team if his main competition for the award is on a lesser team. Some people think that this is not fair because the award is based on the player’s performance, but at the end of the day, winning is the name of the game.
MLB Futures Betting
The World Series is the culmination of the long MLB season, and it is a lot of fun to watch the Fall Classic when you have a live World Series futures bet. There will be odds posted for the MLB division futures along with MLB league futures.
You can bet on player award futures like the eventual Cy Young Award winner, American League and National League Gold Glove winners, and all the other individual awards. In baseball, the bias toward players on winning teams is not as impactful as it is in the NFL.
NHL Futures Betting
Fans of the National Hockey League that are not left out of the team futures markets. You can place a wager on the Stanley Cup futures , and there are NHL division futures along with NHL conference futures odds .
It is important to understand the fact that you can play more than one team in the futures markets for a particular sport. As long as the odds are long enough, you can still make a profit if you bet multiple teams to win the championship.
If you are a really good prognosticator (or really lucky), you can find yourself tuning into the final game with a positive money wager on both sides.
Soccer Futures Betting
The futures betting odds for soccer or European football are more limited because of the American popularity factor. You can bet on the winner of the English Premier League, and the online sportsbooks offer odds to win the MLS Cup. You can bet on World Cup futures as well.
Golf Futures Betting
Playing golf is challenging and addictive, but most people would say that is not the most gripping spectator sport in the world. This may be true if you do not have any action on the outcome, but if you bet PGA golf futures , the interest level intensifies.
The online sportsbooks set future odds for the player that will win each tournament on the PGA Tour, with an emphasis on the four majors: the USPGA, U.S. Open, the Open Championship, and Masters futures odds .
UFC Futures Betting
UFC futures are on the board at the online sportsbooks and mixed martial arts fighting and betting action complement one another. You will always see the current futures odds for all of the important events that are on the schedule each year.
Boxing Futures Betting
In spite of the surging popularity of the UFC, traditional boxing is alive and well in the United States, and Las Vegas is the epicenter. You have intense mano-a-mano competition in the gambling capital of the universe, so boxing futures have always attracted a lot of action.
NCAAF Futures Betting
College football betting is right behind the NFL on the popularity scale, and it provides an advantage to bettors because there are so many individual games each week. The NCAAF futures betting menu includes conference futures, college bowl game futures, and eventual champion odds.
The sports betting sites will post odds to win the Heisman Trophy as well, and you can sometimes find significant overlays in this futures betting market. There are 65 teams in the Power Five conferences alone, so before the season starts, dozens of players have a legit shot at the Heisman hardware.
NCAAB Futures Betting
College basketball generates a lot of betting interest throughout the entire season, and you can bet on single games and the futures. There are NCAA basketball conference futures , and you will be on the edge of your seat during March Madness if you have a futures wager on your favorite team.
Political Futures Betting
You may see news stories about the odds to win elections, and there was huge betting interest in the last presidential race. Even though the will is there, it is illegal to bet on elections at the different sportsbooks in the United States, but it is common on the other side of the drink.
In fact, Fortune ran a story about it the day before the 2020 election. They highlighted a gambler in the United Kingdom that wagered 1 million pounds on Joe Biden. It was the biggest election bet that was ever placed at the notable UK sportsbook that took the wager.
Entertainment Futures Betting
Entertainment futures betting is a wager on Academy Award winners and other entertainment-related awards. Each state that has legalized sports betting can establish its own guidelines, and most of them do not allow entertainment wagering.
However, there are a handful of exceptions to the rule. In 2021, FanDuel Sportsbook accepted legal bets on the Oscars. The betting markets included Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress.
For your information, Nomadland supporters took home the money, but it was a heavy favorite with paltry -670 odds.
Where should I place my Futures Bet?
You can place your futures bets at any of the online sportsbooks that are legal in your state. However, there are many to choose from, and you would not know where to begin if you are new to sports betting.
This is fully understandable, and this is where we can enter the picture to provide guidance. Our researchers have put all of the sportsbooks under the microscope, and you can check out our sportsbook reviews before you make any decisions.
What are futures bets?
A futures bet is a wager on an outcome that will be determined at a later date. There are futures bets for teams to win championships, and there are individual performance futures bets. Most bettors that have a lot of experience take full advantage futures bets with implied probability value. What is implied probability? It's an estimate of the likelihood of a particular outcome. If the future odds are higher than they should be based on your implied probability estimate, it is a good bet.
How do I bet on NFL Futures?
To wager on NFL futures, you establish an account at a licensed sportsbook in your state. You navigate to the page that is dedicated to the sport you want to bet on, and you click or tap the the link that points to the futures betting markets. All of the participants will be listed for each type of bet, and you click or tap on the button that displays the bet you would like to make. It will be transferred to a bet slip, and you fill in the amount of the wager and finalize the bet.
What is an outright bet?
An outright bet is a wager on the winner of a particular tournament or league. It is really just different terminology for a futures bet.
Can I bet on the future US election?
No, election betting is not legal in the United States. If you happen to be in Europe, you could place a legal wager on a U.S. election.
Where do I place a futures wager?
You can place futures bets on all of the major sports and some that fly under the radar at all of the legal sportsbooks in America. If a certain sportsbook stands out to you for some reason when you read our reviews, you should open your first account there. You will receive a deposit bonus, and free bets and/or risk-free bets are offered by most bookmakers. Why should you limit yourself to one infusion of free money? You can take advantage of the deposit bonus offers on a number of different sites and walk away with multiple free bets. This is not the only advantage that you seize when you have more than one sports betting account. There are many futures bets on the board at all the different sportsbooks, and the odds for the same bet will vary. You can go line shopping before you make your wagering decisions. This will allow you to make your bet at the site that is offering the most favorable odds.
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