What is a Futures Bet? How to Bet Futures

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Ray BelkoraJune 1, 2022, 03:05 PM

Even if you’re brand new to sports betting you probably realize that at its surface it’s all about picking the correct winners (or losers) in a specific game.  However, there’s a whole world of bets that you may not even know about. 

What are Futures Bets?

A futures bet, by definition, is a bet on an event that will be happening in the future. These bets are typically based on not the outcome of a single game, but an entire season. These bets usually involve what team is going to win the championship or who will win the MVP of the league. 

Futures will typically open before the start of the season and you may place a bet as soon as the line becomes available. These lines are decided by the oddsmakers figuring the probability every team and or player has to win the championship, award, etc. 

Common Types of Futures

MLB Futures

  • World Series Winner
  • Division/Conference Winner
  • Team Win Totals
  • Cy Young Award
  • MVP

NFL Futures

  • Super Bowl Winner
  • Division/Conference Champion
  • Team Win Totals
  • Team to Make Playoffs
  • MVP
  • Offensive/Defensive Rookie of the Year

NBA Futures

  • NBA Finals Champion
  • Team Win Totals
  • MVP
  • Rookie of the Year

NHL Futures

  • Stanley Cup Champion
  • Hart Trophy Winner 
  • Rookie of the Year
  • Coach of the Year

PGA Futures

  • The Masters Winner
  • US Open Winner
  • British Open Winner
  • PGA Championship Winner

College Football Futures

  • National Champion
  • Conference Champions
  • Heisman Trophy Winner

College Basketball Futures

  • Conference Champion
  • Make the NCAA Tournament 
  • Make the Sweet 16
  • Make the Elite 8
  • Make the Final 4
  • Win the NCAA Tournament
  • Naismith Award 

How to Place Futures Bets

Placing a futures bet is just as simple as placing a regular bet on a game happening the same day or live. Today we will use DraftKings as our example book. 

To begin we decide which sport we want to place a future on. Since the MLB is currently in the offseason (and a lockout) I will pick them as this can give a big advantage once the season starts.

Currently the book has the Dodgers as the favorite at +650. However, maybe you like what the Cardinals have done with their roster and want to place a futures bet on them at +2200. Futures odds can be read the same as any other American odds.

This means that for $100 dollars if the St. Louis Cardinals win the world series you will win $2200. Once you place this bet the odds are locked in – even if the futures line moves during the season. This means that if the Cardinals get a hot start to the season and their odds lower to +1000 your bet is still locked in at +2200! However, your money is also locked in and it will not pay out or mark as a loss until the event is over. This could mean a long term hit to your bankroll so keep that in mind when you are placing futures.

Futures Betting Strategies

Buy Low

Often-times sharp bettors are looking to buy low on a team or player that they feel could really turn it around throughout the season. By doing this they are simply getting better odds for themselves and hoping the team or player does turn it around. This strategy can be employed on its own with the bettor planning to ride out the season and see their team end with the winning result. However, when done correctly you’ll have a lot of value on your bet because the odds have shifted significantly (as in the +2200 to +1000 example above).

Hedge

Hedging a bet involves betting the other side in order to limit or even eliminate financial risk. If you successfully buy low on a team or player and they play themselves up into the favorites category you have two options:

  1. Ride out the bet as stated above and hope they win.
  2. Hedge on the other side of the bet to guarantee profit.

For example: 

On March 1, 2021 the Phoenix Suns had odds set at +4000 to win the NBA Championship. A $100 bet, if correct, would win $4,000.

The Suns would go on to play their way into the NBA Finals and have odds set at -180 for them to take it all, putting them as a solid favorite. The Milwaukee Bucks odds were set at +160 to win the championship. 

A bettor could ride the Suns all the way, hope they win the championship, and be $4,000 richer! The odds even SAID the Suns were favorites. However, as we all know, that’s not what happened.

If you wanted to hedge out of your future you would go to our hedging/arbitrage calculator and input the following numbers

By placing a $1,576.92 bet on the Bucks to win the series at +160 would guarantee a profit of $2,423.08 no matter the outcome of the series! 

While the only guarantees in the betting world are how valuable our OddsJam Industry and Arbitrage plans are, there is some serious cash that can be made betting futures. 

So what are you waiting for? Get on out there, research your options, and make some money!

Also check out puck line betting.