How to Place a Futures Bet

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Futures Betting

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Futures bets are picks placed on long term events such as which team will win the championship or who will win the rookie of the year. These bets are decided by longer-term results and outcomes that are usually settled at the end of a season!

Sportsbooks call these odds a futures bet because you place a wager on an outcome that won’t be decided in the near future like a single game would be. Instead, you bet on future events. Often, that means betting on the overall winner of a league, but this isn’t always the case.

An example of this common type of futures betting strategy would be placing a wager at the start of the MLB season on who will win the World Series. However, you might also place a futures bet on an individual award, like betting that Aaron Rogers will win the NFL’s MVP award.

Futures betting allows players to win money from the outcome of entire leagues, tournaments, or major events ahead of time. The added advantage is that futures bet may offer more favorable odds than standard moneyline bets.



Futures betting differs from other sports betting in that odds can be offered months or even years in advance of the bet paying off. For instance, in soccer, bettors can wager on the winner of the World Cup up to four years before the actual tournament.

Sportsbooks take advantage of expert analysis and multiple gigabytes of data to attempt to see into the future and predict the winners of these events. They set their odds accordingly. For example, you won’t get a big payout for predicting that LeBron James will take home yet another MVP award. You’ll get a more substantial payout for a longshot outcome, like a rookie breaking through to win the award instead.

That said, future bets will typically offer better odds for specific picks than moneyline wagers placed later in the season. This is because you’re making your selection from a broader field. A pre-season NBA futures bet for the Championship means picking one team out of 30 to win. With a moneyline bet on the outcome of the Finals, you’re picking one of two teams.

How to Place a Futures Bet
(Getty Images)


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Now that you understand the fundamentals of what futures betting is, let’s take a look at how to place a futures bet and how to read futures odds.

As with any type of wager, the first thing you’ll want to check off your list is to weigh your options and the odds being offered. The same trade-off you’ll see when betting on an individual game comes into play here: a bet backing an underdog has less of a chance to win but pays off tremendously if it does.

So, here's a future bet example. Say you wanted to place a bet on the next Super Bowl winner. Here is an example of what you could see on BetMGM for NFL Futures Odds - Outright Winner:

Super Bowl WinnerBetMGM Futures Odds

Odds and teams are just an example.

These favorites will still pay out decently in futures betting. After all, they’re just one out of 32 potential winners. However, if you want truly huge winnings, you can score better odds on a team that hasn’t won lately. Scan for signs that a new team is set to have a promising season to make those more lucrative odds pay off.

Another vital step in any kind of betting is to shop around. Different sportsbooks may employ different calculations in determining their odds. Research various providers to ensure you’re getting the best odds available before placing your wager.


You can locate futures betting for several types of sports. Each has unique titles and awards to bet on, but the principles of how to place a futures bet remain nearly identical.


Futures betting for the MLB involves picking a winner for the World Series. Rather than risking your money on individual games, you can think in larger terms and bet on who will come out on top for the season as a whole.

Doing so lets you avoid the short odds you might face when betting on the favorite team to win an individual game. If you’re convinced a team is the strongest in the league, place a futures bet on them. You won’t have to worry about one-off, bad games costing you your bet.

Some popular MLB futures markets include:


The most popular futures betting strategy in the NFL involves picking the Super Bowl winner at the start of the season rather than how you would bet on NFL games. Pay attention to which teams have drafted and traded well to predict who might be advancing deep into the postseason.

You can also obtain odds for which teams will win each conference or division. This is a little easier to predict since betting on a division winner requires you to pick a winner from four teams instead of 32. This will lead to fewer options to consider when deciding how to place a futures bet.

Some popular NFL futures markets include:


For professional basketball, you can get futures odds for the eventual NBA Championship winner. Whether you want to back perennial favorites like the Lakers or go for more of a longshot, your bet may earn you considerable winnings at the end of the season.

You also have the ability to bet on individual awards like the League MVP award or the Rookie of the Year award. These can be challenging to predict, but if you think you know who will be hot this season, you can bring home massive winnings.

Some popular NBA futures markets include:


For professional hockey, you can get futures odds on who will lift the upcoming Stanley Cup that year. Like in the NFL, there are also futures betting odds offered for the winners of the league’s four conferences.

You can also place a futures bet on which player will pick up individual awards. The Hart Memorial Trophy goes to the MVP of the regular season, while the Conn Smythe Trophy goes to the best player of the playoffs.

Some popular NHL futures markets include:

How to Place a Futures Bet
(Getty Images)


The significant advantage of futures betting is that they’re the simplest way to bet on the high-profile events at any given time. You don’t need to wait for the season to be over, and can get interesting odds on your favorite teams.

What makes futures betting hazardous is that it can be quite tricky to predict the outcome of an event so far in the future. For example, no one knows what impact injuries will have on a season or if an unexpected player will have a breakthrough season.

These unknown factors can make it challenging to discern how to place a futures bet. But that’s the tradeoff in any form of gambling. The higher risk of a futures bet can lead to a superior reward if the wager pays off.


Here are the answers to a few questions you might have about futures betting.


A unique upside of futures betting is that they allow you to wager on the outcome of an event far off in the future. For instance, you can back your favorite team to win the Super Bowl before the season even begins.


There’s no way to be certain that any bet will pay off. That can prove to be even more true with futures betting. There can be dozens of potential winners of a league’s trophy or even hundreds of potential winners for an MVP award. You need to accept that luck will always be a factor.

However, by finding the best odds and understanding how to predict patterns in sports, you can maximize your chances of taking home a payout. Follow the tips in our guide when considering how to place a futures bet.


A futures bet works like any other bet except you're betting on future events such as Super Bowl Winner, an award winner, etc.


You can place futures bets on any of our preferred operators, such as BetMGM, Caesars, and FanDuel.


Futures betting lets you take the same principles that you use to predict individual games to try to wager correctly on longer-term events. This includes betting on the winner of the league, division titles, or individual player awards.

Recognizing patterns and predicting trends are key skills in deciding how to place a futures bet. If your research indicates a team will be hot in the coming season, put a futures bet on them and you might end up being a huge winner by the time the year is over.

It can be challenging to guess outcomes so far in the future and make the correct picks. However, the odds take that difficulty into consideration. That means you’ll be in for an enormous win if you can make the right pick.

Other great betting types you can learn how to place thanks to our betting experts:

Betting Odds Explained | Hedge Betting | Moneyline Betting | Prop Betting | Point Spread Betting | Teaser Betting