Future Bet

A future bet is one the most straightforward wagers you can place within sports betting, whereby you bet on an event or occurrence happening in the future. This guide will teach you the basics of future betting, understand the types of bets you can place and the pros and cons of it.

What is a future bet?

A future bet is a wager type whereby you bet on an event or series that is taking place in the future and not on that day. Typical future bets may take several months to settle, when a season has completed. Examples of these include:

  • Betting on a golfer to win a future major
  • Betting on a team to win the NBA championship 
  • Betting on a team to win the Super Bowl
  • Betting on a player to win an accolade 

Future bets will settle as winners if the team or player bet on wins the event/award.

Unlike individual match bets, future bets will usually return a greater prize to the bettor as a lot has to happen in order for a team/player to win a futures bet. So even if you fancy backing the preseason favorite for the Super Bowl or NBA Championship, you are likely to be offered generous odds on them.

How to place a futures bet

To place a futures bet you would first find the best sportsbook suited to you. Once you are happy with your selected sportsbook you would then go to the section of the sport you wish to place a futures bet on. 

Let’s say we want to place a bet on a team to win the Super Bowl for the upcoming season. Below you can see a snippet of the odds on all the teams in the NFL to win the Super Bowl:

For example’s sake, I fancy the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to reclaim the Super Bowl, as they are the defending champions and have the unmistakable Tom Brady within their roster. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ odds to win the Super Bowl looks like this:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers +650 

As you can see despite the Bucs being the second favorite to win the Super Bowl (behind only the Chiefs) the sportsbooks are still offering plus odds, which you will rarely see on a match bet on a team as strong as the Bucs within the regular season. 

Here’s how this futures bet on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would payout on a $10 bet if they won the Super Bowl. 

A $10 winning bet on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at odds of +650 would return $75. 

That is because you would make $65 profit and your $10 stake would return. Remember the (+) sign on the odds indicates how much you stand to win in terms of pure profit for every $100 staked. So for example a $100 futures bet on the Bucs winning the Super Bowl would return $750 in total. $650 profit with your $100 stake returned to you.

You can find more about how odds work and are calculated here.

Now let’s take a look at a futures bet that involves players. In this example we will look at the NBA MVP Winner market. Below is the market on all of the players you can bet on to win the MVP award come the end of the regular season at FanDuel.

Hypothetically let’s say we want to place a $10 bet on James Harden being crowned the MVP at the end of the regular season in the NBA. 

James Harden goes on to win the MVP award and we had a $10 futures bet on at odds of +2300. Here’s how much it would return:

A $10 winning bet on James Harden winning the MVP award at odds of +2300 would return a very attractive $240. 

$230 in profit with your $10 stake being returned. 

It’s these more generous odds on top teams/players with the potential for greater returns which makes future bets so attractive to bettors.

Future bet pros and cons

Future bets may not be for everyone and some may not like the idea of having to wait for long periods of time before you know whether your bet is a winner or not. However there are clear benefits and advantages to future bets:

Generous odds offered on future bets: One major attraction to future bets is that you will generally see much more generous odds offered by sportsbooks, even on the best teams and players. You will most likely see plus odds offered on future bets on the popular futures like a team to win a championship or a player to win an award like MVP. 

Longer runs for your money: The beauty about future bets is that you generally won’t know if your bet is a winner or loser until much further down the line, which means you get more entertainment and better value for your stake. Which can be an attractive prospect for bettors as traditional match bets are over fast. 

Future bets can be included within parlays: Another attraction to future bets is that you can combine them with other future bets in parlays. For example you might fancy Kansas City Chiefs to win the Super Bowl, Miami Heat to win the NBA Championship and Justin Thomas to win the Masters in the golf. As we already know, future bets will offer attractive odds and by combining a few in a parlay you will stand to win a much larger amount.   

Potential cons of a future bet:

Future bets take longer to settle: In what can be viewed as a positive (see above), future bets taking a while to settle could also be viewed as a negative. Some bettors may prefer to bet on a match by match basis, where you have the potential of winning on a more regular basis.

A lot can happen over the course of a season / longer period of time to disrupt your futures bet: It may be a case that you place your future bet before a season or series has begun when a team has their roster intact and a top quality coach in place. Fast forward a few weeks and let’s say the same team has suffered long term injuries to key players and the coach has moved on. All of a sudden your confident preseason future bet is up in the air, whereas betting match by match you can make decisions based on recent occurrences such as injuries or changes to a team.

Future Bet FAQs

A future bet is a wager type whereby you bet on an event or series that is taking place in the future and not on that day. Typical future bets include bets on the winner of a series or championship.
Future bets are one of the most popular bet types in the United States and around the world. Bettors love to wager on futures on teams to win competitions such as the NBA championship, Super Bowl and the MLB world series. You can bet on futures at all the top sportsbooks in legal betting states. Click through to our sportsbook review page for more detailed information on which ones offer future bets. 
Bettors enjoy betting on futures due to their generous odds, even on the best teams and players and also the fact you hold an interest in a competition across a longer period of time compared to match by match betting.
No, the odds you received on bet placement will stand. The odds will change outside of bet placement however, but as long as your bet was placed before hand, your odds are locked in.
It is possible to cash out future bets, but only a selection of sportsbooks may offer this. Cash out can be a handy tool for bettors when their future bet is perhaps leading a competition and you can cashout for profit. 
You can include futures bets within a parlay. Bettors love to do this, as it gives them a cross-sport interest over a long period of time or a season, with a chance to win big bucks.

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