Skip to main content

How to Make a Futures Bet at a Sportsbook

by March 28, 2020

With straight wagers on spreads and totals, the potential returns are often less than your original wager once sportsbooks take out their “vig.” Wagering on moneylines can be even more egregious with minimal payouts compared to your original wager, especially when betting on big favorites. For bets that have bigger rewards and payouts, one should consider futures bets.

Get a sign-up bonus up to $1,000 at DraftKings Sportsbook >>

What is a Futures Bet?

A futures bet is a wager on something that will likely take days or weeks to come to fruition. As opposed to a bet on a single game that pays out once it goes final, a futures bet may depend on multiple games or an entire season.

There are many examples of futures bets. For the four major sports (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL), one can always find a futures bet on which team will win that sport’s respective championship. In addition, there are futures bets on what team will win each division or conference, among others.

Are Futures Bets Always Related to Teams?

While all the examples above are team-related, there are also many futures bets relating to players. For example, one can find futures bets on which player will win the MVP award, Rookie of the Year, etc.

Even in non-team sports like golf and tennis, futures bets are always plentiful. Golf tournaments will have futures bets on who will win the tournament. Others futures include whether a player will a player finish in the Top 20, or who will be the first-round leader. Tennis tournaments have bets for who will win the tournament or even each quarter.

What is the Benefit of a Futures Bet?

Futures bets are always difficult to predict, as there are many variables that can affect each one. However, the benefit of a futures bet is the massive odds that one simply cannot get from wagering on a single game.

For example, FOX Bet has futures odds on who will win Super Bowl LV. The Kansas City Chiefs have the shortest odds at +600. That means a winning bet on the Chiefs would pay 6:1, or six times the amount of your original bet. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers — with newly signed Tom Brady under center — are +1900, meaning it would pay 19:1. When taking the time to dig through a futures odds list like this, one is always bound to find good value.

Another benefit of a futures bet is it keeps a bettor locked in and interested for a long period of time. Many bettors also prefer futures bets to single-game wagers because it keeps their spending down, while still giving them a rooting interest.

General Strategies for Futures Bets

With so many variables at play in each sport, it is hard to generalize a list of strategies that are foolproof. However, there is always research one should do before placing a futures bet. In a team sport, be aware of offseason moves. Did they improve their roster via trades or free-agent signings? Are a team’s odds devalued because it was bitten by the “injury bug” last season, and do you expect them to bounce back? Were there any coaching changes that may affect the team in the upcoming season? Does the team have financial flexibility in order to potentially improve midseason?

In non-team sports, there are always questions one should ask as well. In a golf tournament, what is a particular golfer’s current form? Are they on a hot streak, or have they missed a bunch of cuts recently? Does the player have familiarity with the course? Does the course fit their particular style of play (ex. longer courses favor longer drivers)?

In a tennis tournament, always analyze a particular player’s draw and potential opponents. Will certain players benefit from an easier quarter? Does a player have a good head-to-head record against potential opponents? How does the player do historically on that particular surface?

Futures bets are always a risky proposition. However, there is nothing sweeter than cashing one for a big return. Sometimes there is a lot of luck involved and things have to go your way, but that is why there is a saying, “Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good.”

Get a sign-up bonus up to $1,000 at DraftKings Sportsbook >>

Mike Spector is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeSpector01.

Bet Types, Betting 101