What is a Future Bet? 3 Futures Betting Tips

Future Odds for who will win offensive MVP

Vegas dangles the odds at you when you walk into the sportsbook. You see online sportsbooks use them in offseason advertising. But, what are Futures Bets and How do you win betting Futures? Future Bets, AKA Futures, are wagers on the result of events that happen in the future. These are typically referring to something that happens after many related events. For example, If you bet on the Super Bowl winner at the beginning of the season, you are betting that your team will have a successful regular season and playoffs, and therefore contend for the championship. You can also bet on individual players to win in a futures wager. Let's say you feel that Patrick Mahomes will win the NFL MVP award. You can bet on "Mahomes to win MVP" before the season begins. You will hold that ticket the entire season. But there are shorter “futures” bets as well. A bettor can predict the winner of an NBA playoff series that is about to tip off. This means that you hold that betting ticket until one team wins four games and advances. You can even wager on the same bet after the initial games have ended. If its a series tie of 1-1, you’ll often see sportsbooks offer new odds on what is now a best of 5 playoff series. Another commonly offered Futures Bet is on a team's Regular Season Win Totals. In this example you might see the top NBA teams with a regular season win over/under line set at 55 wins. You wager on if the team will win more or less games and then follow them all season. Your bet doesn’t get graded until the final game of the season. Futures are not limited to sports! At some sportsbooks you’ll be able to bet on politics or even “entertainment bets” or entertainment future bets. You can take a position on who will be the next president or win the republican primary. You can wager on the winner of a reality television shows like American idol. The bigger the betting menu of the sportsbook tends to be, the more futures options you’ll likely see. Although anything in the future could become a betting market, the most popular and regularly offered future bets are:

  • Odds to win the Championship or Conference
  • Major individual awards like MVP futures or Rookie of the Year Futures
  • Over or Under a Team’s Total wins for the regular season.

Why Bet on outcomes so far into the Future?

HUGE Payout Odds Using the example of the Chiefs wager to win the Super Bowl, you could get odds of around 7 to 1 or better. There may not be another bet where backing the reigning Super Bowl champion pays +700. The same is true for NFL MVP odds. You can bet on Mahomes to carry the momentum through the regular season and win the MVP for around +800 ( 8 to 1). Why are the payout odds so high? The payout on these future bets are high because it is one versus many. If you bet on the Chiefs to win the Super Bowl straight up the day before the big game, there is a good chance you’d have to risk more money than you could win since they could be a heavy favorite. That's not nearly as exciting. However, when you wager on a team or player before the start of the season, it is almost like betting on a race. Everyone starts at the same starting block and then we see who eventually pulls ahead of the pack. Sure, there are stronger horses than others but they still have to have a better run than ALL of the other participants. Skin in the game, every game Betting futures can be fun because the bettor has action on every game his team or player plays. Not everyone enjoys handicapping every game every day. Taking a position on your team to win X amount of games means you have another reason to root for them all season long, or... until the bet is mathematically decided.

Why to Avoid Futures Betting?

The big reason to avoid futures betting is that your money can be tied up... All. Season. LOOOOONG. If you have a limited bankroll, you may learn a lesson about the cost of missed opportunities. Lets say you have a $1,000 bank roll but you bet $500 on the Chiefs to win it all. Then you have a rough start to the season and those same Chiefs have a game coming up and you love that spread pick. But you can’t bet that game because the rest of your money is tied up in how many games they win overall. Buyer’s remorse is real when it comes to pending futures bets! We have heard from players who said they made a credit card deposit or just have unrelated personal loans. Bettors need to realize that if they carry debt while carrying a futures bet, you are essentially paying interest on riding that futures wager. Think about it this way, if you have a $500 futures bet and also have a 23% interest credit card with a $500 balance, you are paying about $10 per month just to ride that bet. That's 2 percent each month.

Tips for betting on Futures

Use a deposit bonus Bonuses, be it free bets or cash, go further on big underdog odds. If you can score a cash bonus of 20% that $100 to win $700 on the Chiefs now pays $840 on $120. Betting a free bet works the same way but instead of making $20 free bet worth a return of $18, it can be worth $140 Shop for Futures lines! In our guide to betting 2nd halves we talk about how easy it is to line shop at halftime. It is even more important to line shop betting future bets. That’s because the payout odds vary so much from sportsbook to sportsbook. You could have a wager pay 6 to 1 at one sportsbook while another is paying 10-1! Why? Because normal spreads and total straight bets move together with the market. That means if you bet a game spread at Draftkings for $2000, the line would change and Fanduel would follow suit. With Futures bets, the line typically moves automatically and books don’t follow each other like a real time market. One player might bet on Mahomes at one book while another bets on Burrows. The payout odds for each player becomes better at the sportsbook that didn’t get their action. That’s why you may see a big disparity! Handicap What Happens Off the Court! With Futures Betting, so much depends on what happens OFF the court or field. Just ask anyone who bet Joel Embiid to repeat as MVP. Embiid is all but certain not to play the required 55 games which eliminates him as an option to voters. You might say, well injuries can happen in a game too, and you’d be right. But can the GM trade a player at halftime? One of the biggest factors in how much value a futures bet holds, is based on what the GM will do. There are NBA teams that are considered to be in the second tier for championship potential. But… They hold a stash of draft picks and young pieces and have cap room. The 2024 Thunder could have pulled off a trade with the Lakers to get Lebron James. At +7000 coming into the 2024-24 season, you might be betting on them making a big move rather than betting on this current team’s ability to run through the playoffs.

The Bottom Line On Betting Futures

The value is generally not there when betting on one team or player versus ‘the field’. When there are many possible outcomes and you need to beat the bookie with one, expect a higher margin for the house. The bookmaker’s hold is generally going to be higher the higher the number of outcomes. Yes, you can mitigate some of that by line shopping but as a rule, future bets versus a field are going to be hard to beat. Season win total bet futures on the other hand, can be a great bet. There is variance across different books and the public opinion on a team’s chemistry, after adding new pieces is often wrong. With these future bets, you are not betting versus the field as there are only two outcomes similar to a straight bet. If you are looking to have action all season but want to avoid the Vegas Tourist trap sucker bets, find the best line for season win totals and enjoy rooting for, or against, a team all season long.

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