What Is a Futures Bet? How to Bet Futures Online

Your Guide to Betting Futures

Table of Contents

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By Jason Radowitz

Dec 15, 2021

Not all sports bettors like to bet single games. Betting single games will have a much quicker payout than a futures bet, however, a futures wager will usually have a much larger payout in comparison to a single game wager.

A futures bet is simply wagering on the outcome of the entire season. You can wager on a team winning a championship or a player winning an award with odds that are inflated to a maximum. Most of the time, futures are a great way to lose money, but sometimes a bettor will hit the lottery and achieve a massive payout for betting on some extremely inflated lines in the market.

What Is a Futures Bet?

A futures bet is a wager that is placed on an entire season worth of games. You’re not betting on one game but you’re trying to figure out the outcome of the entire season.

You can bet on teams to win the championship, conference and division at really good odds before the season begins.

For example, hypothetically, in the NFL the Buccaneers are +500 to win the Super Bowl. You can take these odds at the beginning of the season and by the time the Super Bowl comes, if the Buccaneers are in the Super Bowl, chances are they’re not going to be +500 to win the game outright.

Futures bets are a great way to get a great price on a potential outcome that you believe will happen. You can also bet on the MVP, Rookie of the Year and win totals for a specific team.

How Does a Futures Bet Work?

A futures wager is just like a single game wager. You select the bet you’re looking to wager on and submit the wager for however much you’re looking to put down. The difference here is that you’re likely putting money on a “+” money outcome, giving you a small chance of actually winning your wager.

However, if you do end up winning the wager, the payout doesn’t come until after the season is over. If you’re betting on the MLB MVP and put $1000 on Shohei Ohtani to win the MVP at +3000 in March, you won’t see that money until the season is over and the MVP award is actually announced. That’s a seven-month wait period where your investment is sitting at a sportsbook.

Again, most of the time, futures wagers do not win and you’re not really waiting for your money back. Futures bets are sometimes viewed as lottery chances. Due to sports being so unpredictable, sometimes there’s way too much value on the lower tier teams to have success. The San Francisco Giants were projected to be third in the NL West in 2021 but ended up being first. The payout for the Giants to win the NL West was massive.

Types of Futures Bets

Championship Futures – This is betting on which team you think will win the championship of the particular league.

Team Wins – This is betting on the amount of wins a particular team will have using an Over/Under line.

Player Props – You can bet on a player winning an award to start the season and some books will allow you to bet on a specific player’s stats. Be careful here as injuries happen often in sports.

Team Props – Beyond just betting on a team’s win total, you can bet on a team to make the playoffs or win the division. Sometimes you can bet on a team to have more wins than another team.

How to Bet Futures Online

  1. Find a sportsbook that has a futures market with tons of options like DraftKings and FanDuel.
  2. Login or create an account on the site you wish to make a futures wager on.
  3. Make a deposit or use the funds already in your account to place a wager on a futures market.
  4. Go to the league you’re looking to wager on and scroll through the futures market. Always check a couple books to make sure you’re getting the best value.
  5. Double check your selection and submit your wager.
  6. Watch the season play out and hope your wager wins!

Futures Betting Strategy

If you’re looking to wager on a futures market but are unaware of how to start, we’ve compiled a list for you to view with a couple strategies that will help you get started.

  • Understand that you’re still allowed to wager on the futures market during the season. Odds will change based on performance in the beginning of the season. Sometimes when teams struggle early, the odds for that particular team drop. Sometimes buying low on a team or player is worthwhile, especially at plus money.
  • Continue to look at your preseason rankings and thoughts. If a team or player is struggling early, the line will move. This could be an overreaction by oddsmakers and you can capitalize on that. Stick to your gut and your actual thoughts before the season. It’ll all play out how you expected if you put in the research. You can score big on overreaction early.
  • Line shop. Every sportsbook has different odds for each and every market. If you’re betting $100 or $500, getting as much value as you can out of your wager is crucial. By betting +400 instead of +350, your profit increases by a wide margin. Don’t be lazy. Find the best line for your specific wager.

Where Can I Legally Bet Futures Online?

Not every state is legal to bet on sports at this time. However, there are many states that allow betting online and we’ve listed them below.

  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Maryland (fall 2021)
  • Michigan
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

The states below are run by one operator and don’t have the many legal books referenced above.

  • Connecticut (two tribes and the state lottery)
  • Montana (online available only in licensed establishments)
  • Oregon
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington, DC

Should You Make Futures Bets?

Futures bets are really exciting bets to make. Whether you’re just looking for something to wager on and have fun with, or you’re looking to make legitimate money betting on futures, paying attention to the outcome of the season using your bets can be exhilarating.

The advantages include:

A really good payout (potentially). Most futures wagers are + money wagers, meaning you have a low chance of winning. However, if your wager does win, you will earn multiple times your initial investment and that’s always exciting.

The fun in it. You can make a wager before the season begins and cheer it on throughout the season.

The disadvantages include:

The potential that a team’s outlook changes due to an injury is real. Every team goes through adversity and injuries and you’re going to be betting on one. If you’re betting on a player to reach a certain amount of points or win an award, you also have to hope that player stays healthy throughout the year. There’s so much uncertainty.

You have to wait a long time placing a wager and earning your payout. This isn’t a big deal for most because most bets end up losing, but if your wager wins, you have to wait a long time from the initial time the wager was placed until it cashes. In most cases, if a bet is placed to begin the season, you’ll have to wait over half a year to see that money again.

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Author

By Jason Radowitz

Jason Radowitz is a jack of all trades when it comes to writing sports. Jason writes and bets the MLB, NFL, NBA, NCAAF, and NCAAB when the sports are in season. Currently, he's a Writer and Betting Analyst for The Game Day providing daily content in the MLB. Earlier in his sports career, Jason was a graduate assistant for the University of Men's Hartford Basketball team using analytics and numbers to help put together the winningest season in program history. With his articles, you will be sure to get an analytical approach.