What Is a Futures Bet?

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What Is a Futures Bet?

In a Nutshell,

Wagers referring to events that will happen after a set period of time (this can be a season, series, or set of games, etc.)

For example, if you bet on a team to win the championship in advance of the championship being played, this is referred to as a “futures bet.”

A futures bet represents any bet whose outcome is not decided until the distant future. In short, after the action comes to an end, the bet takes an extended amount of time to be decided. For instance, you can bet on the winner of the MLB World Series before the season begins. In this instance, the bet is not usually on the individual game or series but on the entire season leading up to deciding the champion.

Explained: How Futures Bets Work

Futures betting odds usually open before the start of a season, and bettors can take bets throughout the year. Bookmakers adjust those odds depending on the season results, trades, and injuries. The adjustments are also made depending on the amount of money wagered on specific teams or outcomes. Once the bettor decides the odds at the futures bet is placed, they are locked in.

Types of Future Betting and Futures Odds: Explained With Examples

The common types of futures bets are normally placed on championship results, such as the team to win the Super Bowl, NBA Finals, or March Madness. Futures bets are also popular with casual bettors and sports fans. These types of futures bets draw more wagers at sportsbooks each year. Other sports with futures betting at online sportsbooks include golf and soccer.

How to Read Futures Betting Odds

Futures betting odds are usually read in a list form that shows each option and its odds. The list starts from best chances to win to worst. For instance, a team set with the favorites to win is listed at the top of the futures odds at +500, while a team with longer odds to win the Super Bowl is listed at the bottom of the futures odds at +2800.

What Is the Payout Like in Futures Bets?

Each futures bet has odds, and these odds have an indirect probability of success. When the implied probability is high, the risk is less, which translates to a small potential payout. Futures bets with a lower implied probability hold much more risk of losing, but because the risk is high, the potential payout is greater. Once the event has been completed and graded by the sportsbook, you will receive the payouts.

Best Popular Futures Bets in US Sports

Popular futures bets in US sports include the NFL Super Bowl, NBA Finals, MLB World Series, and the NHL Stanley Cup. You can pick the winner from one of these markets before the season starts, and that would translate to a futures sports betting market. The future in these sports is not a set period, but most of these bets are the ones that might take place in a few weeks, months, or years ahead.

Futures Bets for NFL Explained With examples

When it comes to future bets, betting odds are produced ahead of time. For instance, in NFL, a futures bet would allow you to bet on the winner of the Super Bowl up to a year in advance. Some sportsbooks will have their markets go live the following day for the season ahead. This is different from regular-season games, where sportsbooks put up betting lines just a few days ahead of when a game takes place.

NBA Futures Bets With Examples

NBA futures don’t pay out until the season ends. For instance, betting on the championship winner during the off-season is a complex prediction to get right, which makes the odds on NBA futures very tempting. The NBA Finals odds are released a month after the previous year’s championship. Some sportsbooks, such as Bovada and BetOnline, currently offer better NBA Finals futures odds.

MLB Baseball Futures Bets: How To Read, Explanation, and Example

An MLB future bet is a wager on an event where the outcome will be determined much later in a given MLB season. In MLB, future odds are associated with bigger payouts since it is harder to predict payouts. This is why a wide range of odds from anything like +250 to +1100 are common. Common MLB futures bets include correctly picking individual players to receive accolades. If the chosen team or player wins the event on which the bet is placed, the bettor wins their bet.

Futures Bets in NHL Hockey

An NHL future bet is a stake placed on an event that will be determined in the future. Futures odds in NHL are associated with big payouts, which is why odds like +6000 are common. With future odds, it is difficult to win the Stanley Cup and difficult to predict early in a season. Futures in NHL are available across the season for conference and division outcomes, individual player awards, and more.

Futures Bets for UFC MMA

When it comes to futures, you can bet on the champions in the different weight classes. The odds are the same as future odds for other sports, and the tactic used is also similar. If you place the bet early, the payout will be higher. As the tournament continues, the odds will be lower than before it started. When placing futures bets, you need to predict who will win, how long it will last, and how it will end.

Futures Bets for NCAA College Sports

Futures in NCAA college sports center on results like betting on a team to win their conference or NCAA tournament. If the selected team wins the event on which the wager was placed, the bettor will win their bet. In NCAA college sports, futures odds are harder to predict, which is why they are associated with higher payouts. As such, a bettor can expect plus-money on futures bet with odds ranging from +250 to +1100.

Best Betting Strategies for Betting on Futures for Beginners

  1. Establish a trading plan by making sure you have a profit objective and an exit plan in case the trade goes against you.

  2. Committing to an exit strategy in advance protects you from significant contrary moves. A great way to make your commitment more firm is to consider trading stop-loss orders.

  3. If you are new to trading futures, avoid trading five or 10 contracts at a time because just one or two bad trades can clean you out financially.

Futures Bets: 3 Do’s and Don’ts


  1. Include risk-management tools like stop-loss orders when creating a trading plan.

  2. Start with one or two contracts so you can develop a trading method without adding pressure associated with managing larger positions.

  3. With futures, you can sell or buy the market to avoid limiting your trading opportunities.


  1. Don’t use all your money to buy or sell any futures contracts.

  2. Don’t attempt too much at the same time by trying to follow and trade too many markets.

  3. Don’t let emotions like fear and greed dictate your moves because they can lure you into holding onto a losing position too long or exiting a profitable position too soon.

Futures Betting FAQs

Can You Cancel Futures Bets?

No. However, if you placed a futures bet by mistake, you can ask the sportsbook to void the bet and return your wager. However, this decision is restricted to the rules of the book.

Can You Bet on Futures in a Sportsbook?

Yes. You can bet on futures in all sportsbooks, even though the futures odds will vary from book to book.

How To Hedge Futures Bets?

You can hedge futures bets when the list of players starts to shrink throughout the regular season if you want to make a profit. For example, if you wager on a team with larger odds to win the championship and that team plays its way up to the futures boards into a favorite, you can win a profit by betting on the other team.

Combining Multiple Futures Bets

Parlays are bets that combine multiple sides into the same wager. This enhances odds and a larger potential payout. If you combine multiple futures bets, you increase the implied probability of winning even though you are guaranteeing a loss of some kind.

Where Can I Make Futures Bets?

You can make future bets at any online sportsbooks and casinos of your liking. Odds and options usually vary from sportsbook to sportsbook. Hence, you should shop around for the future bet you want to make. Since some sportsbooks offer better futures than others, a comparison is highly useful. Online sportsbooks are easily available online, and you can check their websites for any valuable information you need.

How To Place a Futures Bets?

Futures betting usually opens before the season starts. Bets are then taken throughout the year, with bookmakers adjusting those odds in reaction to season results and trades. Once you place odds for the futures bet, they are locked in regardless of what happens throughout the schedule. They also stay locked despite how sportsbooks adjust their futures odds thereafter.

Can I Parlay Futures Bets?

Yes. However, this depends on the rules of the sportsbook you are using. There are books that don’t allow parlays while other books allow parlays. Therefore, you should take time to understand the rules of the sportsbook you are using to determine if you can parlay future bets.