The National Football League is the best sports league for betting because there are so many options to choose from and most of the action occurs at the same time. There’s simply nothing like NFL Sunday when it comes to wagering.
Every season is filled with its fair share of surprises, so it’s important to implement a strategy to guide you towards profitability by the end of the year.
That’s where we come in handy, ready to provide an in-depth overview of each type of NFL bet and NFL best bet picks. The focus of this article will be on futures, which can be a great way to find value and hit a nice payout. Without further ado, let’s get right into it.
What Are NFL Futures Odds & How Do They Work?
The term “futures" lives up to its name, as these types of wagers are settled at the end of the season or playoffs. There are two types of futures bets: those that have a singular moneyline and others where you select Over or Under the assigned number. Let’s take a look at several examples of each.
- Buffalo Bills to win the Super Bowl (+650)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers to win the NFC (+340)
- Kansas City Chiefs to win the AFC West (+155)
- Pittsburgh Steelers to make the playoffs (+310)
- Bryce Young to go first overall in NFL Draft (+230)
- Justin Herbert to lead in passing yards (+900)
- Jonathan Taylor to have most rushing yards (+500)
- Ja’Marr Chase to finish first in receiving yards (+1200)
- Dak Prescott to have most passing touchdowns (+1200)
- Joe Burrow to win MVP (+1300)
- Aaron Donald to win Defensive Player of the Year (+700)
- Los Angeles Rams to be the highest-scoring team (+1000)
- Houston Texans to be the lowest-scoring team (+500)
As you can see here, there are no shortage of options. You can take a team to win the Super Bowl, make the playoffs, or win the division. You’re able to pick your favorite player to lead in a specific stat or win an award.
Each of these selections offer greater payouts than your allotted risk, as seen by their plus odds. For example, if I put $100 on Justin Herbert to lead in passing yards (+900), I’d win $900.
Most moneyline futures that have singular outcomes are plus odds, but some will require you to lay some juice. This is seen with choosing the Chiefs to make the playoffs (-240).
- New York Jets Regular Season Wins: 5.5 (Over: -160/Under: +140)
- Denver Broncos Alternate Regular Season Wins: 11.0 (Over: +190/Under: -230)
- Drake London Receiving Yards: 764.5 (Over: -115/Under: -115)
- Breece Hall Rushing Touchdowns: 5.5 (Over: +100/Under: -130)
- Aidan Hutchinson Sacks: 8.5 (Over: +110/Under: -145)
There will be several players available to bet Over or Under on a given stat, like receiving, passing, and rushing yards along with touchdowns of each type. The moneylines on these selections are lower, meaning that they don’t offer high payouts.
For example, if I put $100 on the Over on Breece Hall‘s rushing touchdowns, I would get back $100. We also see here that some outcomes are more juiced, meaning that we could see that number move in that direction, such as with the Under on Aidan Hutchinson‘s sack total.
How to Read NFL Futures Odds
NFL Futures odds can be displayed in three different styles: American (+200), Decimal (3.0), and Fractional (2/1). Each of these formats is just a different way of presenting the same information. The odds determine your potential payout. Below you’ll find a breakdown of how to read your futures wagers.
How American Odds Work
American odds are displayed with positive and negative numbers related to $100. The favorite is shown in minus odds, while the underdog has plus odds.
Here’s an example of American odds in a futures bet:
Let’s say that I take the Over 5.5 wins for the Jets at -160 odds. If I want my bet to pay $100, I would be risking more money, since it’s at a minus moneyline.
To calculate the risk, simply divide the odds by 100 and multiply the result by your stake. In this case, it would be 1.6 multiplied by 100, which equals $160.
If I wanted to only stake $100 and wanted to determine my payout, I would divide by 1.6 instead. This example would pay out $62.50.
How Decimal Odds Work
Decimal odds are more commonly used in other parts of the world. The difference here is that odds are displayed in decimals and related to $1 rather than $100.
Let’s say that I took the Over on Drake London‘s receiving yards at 1.87 odds. This number relates to the stake plus winnings of a $1 bet. If I bet $1 on this and won, I’d get back $1.87 ($1 stake plus $0.87 profit).
If you want to calculate your payout manually, you can multiply the profit on the $1 bet times your stake. Let’s say that I wagered $100 on this. I can multiply 0.87 by 100 to get $87, which would be how much I’d win with these odds.
How Fractional Odds Work
Fractional odds are shown as fractions. While it’s more commonly used in horse racing, you may see it in NFL betting at times.
Simply divide the numerator (top number or number on the left) by the denominator (bottom number or number on the right) and multiply it by 100 to convert it to American odds.
For example, if an outcome has 2/1 odds: 2 divided by 1 equals 2, multiplied by 100 is 200. Therefore, the American odds would be +200.
If you want to calculate your payout, you can either multiply your risk by the numerator, as long as the denominator is one. For instance, with 3/1 odds on a $100 bet, I can multiply 100 times 3.
If the denominator is greater than 1, like 5/2 odds, I can divide the numerator and denominator and then multiply the result by my stake. In this case, 5 divided by 2 equals 2.5, so if it was a $100 bet, I’d win $250.
What to Look for When Placing an NFL Futures Bet
There are several factors to consider when placing an NFL Futures Bet. We’ll divide this explanation into two sections, one focusing on players and the other on teams.
If you’re taking the Over on a player’s stat, consider their team context. Does the player have more opportunity this year due to injuries or free agency departures? A good example of this is seen with Mike Evans in Tampa Bay. Chris Godwin is still recovering from a torn ACL and Rob Gronkowski retired and may not make a comeback. This opens up more volume for Evans, which means that the Over on his receiving yards looks good.
Another thing to think about is whether or not the player is on an upward trajectory. The most significant growth we see is usually in a player’s second year, while others now on the wrong side of 30 years old tend to start to decline. An example of an ascending player could be Ja’Marr Chase, who is a generational talent. We could see him eclipse last year’s totals, making the Over a good bet. On the other hand, a player like Travis Kelce may start to decline.
You should also consider the most important element in football: quarterback play. If a team has a significant downgrade at the position, that’s bad news for everyone in the offense. A great example of this is in Seattle, a team that just replaced Russell Wilson with Drew Lock. That’s awful news for D.K. Metcalf, who may have a hard time surpassing in yardage prop due to erratic quarterback play.
Lastly, injury concerns are a big deal. Remember, you’re not getting a refund if your player is out for the season in Week 5. The bet becomes eligible as soon as they’ve played one game. You don’t want to be risking a lot of money on a yardage prop with a player who’s dealt with injuries. For example, taking the Over on Christian McCaffrey‘s rushing yards may be a risky move.
When looking for a team to target, the first thing to focus on is their quarterback. Teams with upgrades at the position are in a good spot to improve from last year’s totals. A good example of this is the Denver Broncos, who just added Russell Wilson. However, keep in mind that the odds will reflect this change in context, which leads us to the next point.
Try to find an undervalued team. Perhaps the market is not looking as highly upon their outlook as your projections. This is where you try to take advantage. Maybe you like a team because they upgraded their coaching staff but this is not yet reflected in their odds. A good example of this is the New York Giants, who moved on from Joe Judge in favor of Brian Daboll, who helped develop Josh Allen into an elite quarterback.
The other factors to keep in mind involve the rest of a team’s roster along with any significant injuries. You want to target improved teams that aren’t dealing with injuries to any marquee players as the season approaches. It’s a bonus to examine their schedule, as teams with easy paths good get off to a strong start that sets the tone for the rest of the year. This is important to remember when betting on a team to win their division or eclipse their win total.
Best Sportsbooks to Place NFL Futures Bets
There are several NFL futures bets sportsbooks options out there, but here are some of your favorites.
DraftKings burst onto the scene as a daily fantasy sports operator before expanding to include a betting site. It’s now considered one of the top choices in the iGaming space. The platform is user-friendly with a sleek aesthetic and organized layout, making it easily accessible for beginners and veterans alike.
The NFL futures market is robust here, as you can choose traditional picks like NFL MVP and Super Bowl winner along with deciding on who will lead the league in a specific stat, like rushing yards. There are even novelty props that aren’t always available on other sites, such as “Who Will Start Week 1 for the Tennessee Titans?"
It’s great to have such a diverse selection of futures bets and DraftKings earns high marks in this regard.
FanDuel emerged as a pioneer in the daily fantasy sports space, evolving into the most popular sportsbook in the United States that we now know today. The site created Same Game Parlays, where users can build combinations of their several wagers for greater potential payouts.
You’ll find several futures options at your disposal here. Not only are there the usual suspects like Offensive Player of the Year winner and Comeback Player of the Year, but you can also choose Over or Under on certain player stats. For example, you may go with the Over 4550.5 on Matthew Stafford‘s passing yards.
This site is one of the leaders in the industry, making it a great choice for futures wagers.
Caesars is a juggernaut in the iGaming industry, especially after it acquired European operator William Hill to help run its U.S. operations back in 2021. You’ll enjoy some of the best welcome bonuses in the industry here, along with a VIP Rewards System that offers cool perks like hotel accommodations and fine dining reservations.
The futures section is neatly organized by team, where you’ll find their Super Bowl, Conference, and Division Winner odds all located in the same place. This makes it much more efficient to navigate this market. It’s also useful to have an Alternate Wins section. For example, I can take the Steelers at Over 8.5 wins at a +230 price. If you’re confident in a team, this is a good futures type to target.
You’ll enjoy one of the best platforms in sports betting at Caesars.
BetMGM is a reputable brand that carries the MGM Resorts name, making you feel at ease when depositing money into your account, using one of the multiple banking methods available at the site.
The futures selection features a number of unique props, which helps it stand out among its competitors. You can choose outcomes like “The Indianapolis Colts to start 4-0" or “The Kansas City Chiefs will win each of the road games." These are longer shot bets that give you a chance at a higher payout. What’s also cool is you even have the option to wager on the exact order of the divisional standings.
It’s refreshing to see an operator provide novelty props in this way, making BetMGM another great choice.
bet365 is considered to be one of the most reputable sites in the sports betting world. It’s renowned for its comprehensive selection of betting markets along with a robust live-wagering platform that also includes live-streaming options.
You’ll find everything you need in the futures section, including NFL MVP, Offensive Rookie of the Year, and more. There are also Over-Under wagers, which are great if you want to project a player’s stats for the season.
Be sure to make bet365 one of your options when placing NFL futures bets.
How to Pick NFL Futures Betting Sites
It’s important to establish criteria on how to choose the best sportsbook for NFL futures wagers. Here are some points to consider:
- Betting Market: You want a robust selection of futures that includes novelty picks.
- User Interface: The information should be presented in an organized layout.
- Futures Odds: The odds should align with the rest of the industry.
- Payment: There should be a number of banking methods to make payment more convenient.
- Promos: Welcome bonuses like first-deposit matches can help you build your bankroll.
Why Should I Bet NFL Futures?
There are numerous benefits to betting on NFL futures, such as:
- You have a chance to hit on a big payout with a longshot pick. Imagine you had the Bengals to win the AFC last year. There are always surprises in the NFL, so futures give you a chance to capitalize.
- Find an edge in pricing, as sportsbooks sometimes have inflated numbers when it comes to player stats. Wagering on the Under is a prudent play because there are so many injuries in the NFL, so you can exploit the high props in this way.
- It’s fun to pick a team to win the Super Bowl or player to win an award because it adds entertainment value to your viewing experience.
- Futures are easy to wager on, as you just need the selected outcome to occur.
Why Shouldn’t I Bet NFL Futures?
There are a couple of reasons to avoid NFL Futures, such as:
- Your money is tied up for several months, as these wagers are not settled until the end of the season.
- Some futures bets have inflated odds, which means limited payouts.
NFL Futures Betting Strategies
The best part about betting on NFL futures is that they are so many choices with high payouts. Since these bets are settled at the end of the season, you don’t want to be tying up your money in selections with lower odds. That leads us to the first piece of advice: target undervalued picks.
Perhaps you think that a longshot team is mispriced despite major improvements throughout the roster and you want to take them to win their division. A good example of this was the Cincinnati Bengals last season. They added a superstar-level talent in Ja’Marr Chase and Joe Burrow was entering his second year. Despite this, they were longshots to win the AFC North. They were a great choice given their abundance of offensive talent.
Before you place your bet on this undervalued pick, be sure to shop around for the best odds. This means that you need to have accounts in multiple sportsbooks to find the best bang for your buck. This is most important with futures bets because you’ll often find the biggest discrepancies within this market. For example, you may see that Tee Higgins is +4000 to lead in receiving yards at one site, but +6500 on another. That +2500 difference is $1,500 more winnings on a $100 wager.
If you want to get your feet wet with Over-Under futures props, the best thing to do is to stick with Unders. This is because you have an additional positive outcome on this side: you still win if a player misses time due to injury. The NFL is a league where injuries are common. You may find yourself in cruise control on your Over bet, only to see it lose because your player is forced to miss the last four games of the season. You avoid this by focusing on Unders.
The final piece of strategy would be to limit yourself to a minor percentage of your bankroll to be allocated on futures. You don’t want to tie up most of your money for 18 weeks by using it on futures bets. You need to save some of your balance to use on selections throughout during the season. With Over-Under futures, put a bit more units because they pay less. Moneyline futures should be sprinkles, since they’re more of a longshot.
NFL Futures Betting for Beginners
Beginners should only focus on finding undervalued longshots for their futures bets. You don’t want to have most of your bankroll tied up for months for minimal payouts, so shoot for the moon here.
The first thing you should do is pick a team that you think has a chance to win the Super Bowl, but has long odds. Focus on a team that has a franchise quarterback. The Los Angeles Chargers are a good example of this. They have Justin Herbert, but you can get them at around +1200 odds.
From there, you can also take that team to win their division. There’s a good chance that it’ll have a reasonable payout as well since they were already longshots to win the Super Bowl. These two plays have a strong correlation because Super Bowl-winning teams generally also take home their division title.
Make sure to compare the odds of your selections with other sportsbooks because you want to find the best value. There are major differences within the market that you need to try to exploit. Be sure to research your play to make an informed decision.
Additional Types of NFL Bets Available
There are several additional NFL bets available to wager on. You’ll find an explanation of each below.
Point Spread Betting
This is the projected winning margin of each game. The favorite needs to win by more than the point spread, while the underdog can win outright or lose by less.
Here is an example:
The Rams are -10.5 (-110) favorites against the Seahawks +10.5 (-110). If I put $100 on the Rams -10.5, I’d be risking $110 and would need Los Angeles to win by 11 or more. On the other hand, taking Seattle would require them to win the game or lose by 10 or fewer.
Remember that since NFL scoring mostly occurs in multiples of three (field goals) or seven (touchdowns), that means that some numbers are more important than others.
For example, there’s a huge difference between a 2.5 and 3.5-point spread, but there’s not much between 4.5 and 5.5. This is because several games are decided by three points (late field goal), while few end by a five-point margin.
Each game has a moneyline, which is determined by the implied probability of a given outcome. You just need your selection to win the game to hit your bet.
Let’s say that the Broncos are -120 favorites against the Chargers (+100). If I took the Broncos, I’d be risking $120 to win $100.
Most moneylines are inflated in the NFL, often at -200 or lower odds. This means that the prudent move would be to find underdogs. Upsets are common here, so you can be profitable targeting them. It’s not wise to lay so much juice with such an unpredictable sport.
Each game has a projected total, where you can choose Over or Under the number. There are game, team, quarter, and halves totals available. Each side generally has a -110 moneyline, but you could see -115 or lower odds. Below you’ll find an example of each.
I can take the Over 47.5 in the Patriots and Bills game. This means that they need to combine for 48 or more points.
The Under 16.5 points in the Jets would require them to score 16 or fewer points.
I can go with the Over 10.5 for both teams in the 1st quarter or stick to one team and go with the Broncos Under 3.5.
Take the Over or Under on a combined or team total within the 1st or 2nd half.
Props refer to selections related to players or teams. Like futures, they are displayed either as singular moneylines or with Over or Under choices.
Here’s an example of each.
I can take Cooper Kupp Over 85.5 receiving yards at -130 or go with Jonathan Taylor to have the most rushing yards in Week 11 at +400 odds.
You can go with the Detroit Lions Under 3.5 sacks at -120 odds.
Remember to consider the game environment, thinking about whether it projects to be high or low-scoring. This can help you decide where to go with props betting.
Parlays are bets that combine two or more selections for higher payouts. The catch here is that you need to hit every leg in order to win. The payouts vary depending on the number of legs along with the odds of each bet. There are also Same Game Parlays, which allow you to focus on one game. Check out the examples below.
Parlay: Example 1
Rams (-200) + Broncos (-300) + Bills (-200)
This is a three-team parlay with heavy favorites, so the payout isn’t much. It will pay +200 odds, providing $200 in profit on a $100 bet if it wins.
Parlay: Example 2
Jaguars (+200) + Falcons (+300) + Jets (+200)
This parlay pays more than the previous one because of the odds attached to each team. It has a +3500 moneyline, which means that a $100 bet would win $3,500.
Same Game Parlay:
Raiders +7.5 (-110) + Darren Waller Over 5.5 Receptions (-110) + Davante Adams Anytime Touchdown (+200)
This parlay has +993 odds, so I’d win $993 on a $100 wager.
How to Use the Odds Comparison
Here at The Game Day, we have an Odds Comparison Tool that does the heavy lifting for you in scouring the industry to find the best lines. Here’s how you use it:
- Go to our NFL Odds page
- Click Futures to find the best bet
- You’ll see which sportsbook offers the line
- Click the icon to access that site
- Place your bets