Futures betting is very appealing to some, while others have their reservations and prefer to wait until closer to the time of the event.
But first, one must understand how futures bets work before they place any wagers. How do the odds work? How are they paid out? What are the pros and cons of making them? We’ll delve deep into this, answering these questions and more for our readers.
Sports betting futures require patience and bettors must be willing to make bets that may not come in for a month, a year, and sometimes even more! For those bettors that are working with limited funds, they may want to look elsewhere for their bets.
Throughout this futures betting guide users will learn all they need to know about future bets, including examples explaining the details of futures bets and how they work.
A futures bet is exactly as it sounds, which is a bet which predicts the outcome of a game or event in the distant future. It’s a given that all bets are predictions made about events in the future, but futures bets are normally saved for events that are way down the line. Once the betting action closes, there will be a significant time frame between the closure of the bet and the outcome of the wager.
For example, at the start of the NFL season, there will be futures markets available for things such as NFL MVP, Superbowl winner, NFL player with the most touchdowns, and more are offered at top-rated sportsbook providers.
You’ll notice with those examples that there are no individual games or series, rather bets based on the long-term events like tournaments or positions that will be announced towards the end of the postseason. These bets will expand over the course of a season, year, or sometimes numerous years (Olympic Games, World Cups, etc…).
An example would be if a bettor placed a futures bet on the Dallas Mavericks to win the NBA Championship at the start of the season. This bet would only come in if the Mavs were successful in all their postseason games and won the finals series – which is a very hard thing to predict correctly.
The payout of futures bets is very straightforward and bets are paid out much like any other form of bet we’ve covered in our betting guides. Whatever the odds were when the bet was placed, is what the bettor will receive if the bet comes in.
If the odds are 7.0 when the bet is placed, then the bettor will receive the stake against those odds. Similarly, if the odds are +1100, then the bettor will be paid out at +1100.
However, while they will payout at the odds originally posted, the bet will never be paid out until the winner is confirmed and not a moment before. Bettors must wait long periods of time for the money to be paid out.
There are often cases where certain futures bets are concluded before the season is out, they won’t be paid out. For example, if a punter wagers on a team to clinch the conference, most sportsbooks won’t pay out until the season is over.
The first and most obvious positive to future bets is the big payouts available to users, making predictions about things that are a long way down the line always comes with favorable odds. Bets like PSG to win the Ligue 1 aren’t going to come with great odds, as although anything could happen, they will likely take the title.
This gives bettors the opportunity to bet small and win big, which is a rarity in sports betting. Betting small on odds like +1200 can be a great wager if the bettor feels confident about the outcome.
Another great thing about betting on futures bets is the punter will be able to track the bet throughout the year. This is great, as the bet often remains alive until the latter stages of the season, giving bettors something to stay excited about right up until the final games of the season.
Moreover, at the end of a very enjoyable season, bettors could be in with the possibility of a big payout depending on the futures odds they took and how much their stake was. Often thought of as one of the most cost-effective forms of entertainment in sports.
One of the main reasons the vast majority of bettors play the markets day-by-day is financial liquidity, bettors don’t often place futures and work with their daily bankroll. Not being able to touch the funds for an entire season, isn’t very exciting for bettors that are looking for instant gratification.
Another problem with futures bets is that anything can happen over the course of the season and that’s entirely out of the bettor’s control. For example, betting on Golden State to win the 2019/20 season would have been a painful futures bet, as everyone expected them to at least make the postseason.
There are hundreds of factors that affect teams’ success, from injuries to managerial changes, suspensions, outside influences on players, the list goes on and on. These bets must be viewed as a long-term winning strategy, not a guaranteed win.
Another important factor when playing futures betting markets is to consider hedging your funds. This can be very costly with futures odds, so it’s often something bettors cannot afford. It’s worth being aware of this before placing the bet, or assessing the hedging options.
Martin Green is the most experienced Sportsbook reviewer at VegasBetting.com. He has been working with sports betting for over a decade and has seen which brands take care of their players. He likes fast payouts, high odds and clean website design. He always reviews sportsbooks on desktop and on mobile. He also writes about NFL, MLB and sometimes horse racing.