Complete Guide To Futures Betting

Sports fans and crystal balls go hand in hand. Debates rage all year long about which team will do what and how athletes are going to perform. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to make a profit off of predictions you’re making anyway?

Thanks to a green light being given to legal and regulated sports betting in Michigan, there is. Futures bets allow you to make your picks on things that may not happen until months down the road.

It’s an incredibly active market that continues to grow in popularity. There are numerous offerings to consider year-round, and you can dive in at any time to place your bets. That’s simple to do, and we’re going to show you how in a bit.

We’ll also be covering everything else you need to know about sports betting futures including how to bet the Super Bowl and NFL MVP. From the best markets to get involved with, to how to read the odds and all points in between, it’s all here. We’ll begin by taking a glimpse at the top spots for you to legally and safely place your bets.

Sports betting futures explained

A futures bet is a wager on an outcome of a sporting event that will occur at a later date. There are markets available for all of the major sports, and numerous sports betting opportunities to be found for each.

Among the opportunities, you’ll find are things such as the winner of the next Super Bowl or The Masters golf tournament. Futures are available to be wagered on all year, and odds are regularly released for upcoming events.

These odds typically come well in advance of the regular season for team sports, which leads to a spike in interest from futures bettors.

Some bettors like to place wagers early and take a long-term perspective. Other handicappers take a more active approach and stay engaged throughout the season. We’ll cover what to look out for in the markets in a bit.

Odds for sports betting futures

When a futures market goes live, you’ll find odds for teams or individuals that are in contention to win. For a future on a single event, odds are generally listed in descending order. There will be favorites at the top, a middle tier of selections, and long shots at the bottom.

There are also futures bets which have just two choices to make, such as for an Over or Under on a team’s regular-season win total. When you see this listing, it’ll look just like what you would find for a totals bet.

Let’s walk through a few examples. First up, here’s what the favorites may look like for a future on the winner of the next World Series.

  • Los Angeles Dodgers +380
  • New York Yankees +380
  • Houston Astros +750
  • Atlanta Braves +1400
  • Minnesota Twins +1600

The odds board will go through all MLB teams. Once teams are out of contention or in advance of the postseason, the odds will only be listed for those which remain in contention.

That’s a futures market with a lot of choices, but there are also ones with fewer teams to consider. Here’s what the odds might look for the next winner of the NFL’s AFC South.

  • Indianapolis Colts +135
  • Tennessee Titans +165
  • Houston Texans +300
  • Jacksonville Jaguars +2000

As mentioned, a bet on regular-season win totals will have just two choices and will look like a totals bet. Here’s what the odds might look like for the Colts’ regular-season wins.

  • Over 8.5 (-160)
  • Under 8.5 (+135)

There are also futures for things like player awards and the winners of major events for individual spots. In these cases, the odds will be listed for each of the athletes in contention. Here’s what the favorites might look like for the winner of golf’s next US Open.

  • Rory McIlroy +900
  • Brooks Koepka +1000
  • Dustin Johnson +1000

As you begin to dig into the futures market, you should know the odds won’t always be the same at every sportsbook. You can shop around to find the best prices and place your bets accordingly.

Additionally, there will be movement on the odds board that depends on betting action and performance of those in contention. As such, there are plenty of bettors who stay constantly engaged with futures in a quest to find the most appealing prices.

How to place a futures bet

Placing a bet on futures is simple. With most online and mobile sports betting apps, you can find futures by clicking on the sport you’re interested in. There should be several different futures options listed, but that will naturally depend on the sport you’re viewing.

As a general rule of thumb, the more popular the sport, the more futures you’ll find. We’re going to cover the biggest futures market to keep on your radar as we move along.

Once you find the future you want to wager on, it’s simply a matter of studying the odds board, doing your research, and making your selections. To place a bet, just click on the odds that correspond with your choice.

The wager will be added to the betting slip automatically. From there, all you need to do is add on your wager amount, review potential returns, and verify everything looks good before submitting your bet.

It’s a simple market to enter, but there is handicapping to be done for those looking to improve their chances at striking paydirt. We’ll walk through what you need to know on that front shortly.

Top sports betting futures markets

The most popular futures markets are for team-based sports as a wide range of choices is offered. However, there are also futures to be found for plenty of other sports, and they attract a good deal of betting action as well.

For example, the major tournaments and events for golf and tennis have very active futures markets. The Masters and PGA Championship for golf, and Wimbledon and the French Open for tennis are just some of the examples.

NASCAR bettors can also get in on the fun. The main drivers in this niche are the winner of the biggest race of the year, the Daytona 500, and the overall season-long champion.

For soccer, you’ll find futures on the winners of the most popular events and competitions on the circuit, such as the World Cup and Premier League.

Let’s take a look at what you’ll find when it comes to the sports that have a plethora of opportunities to choose from.

NFL futures markets

The most popular market for sports betting in general, the NFL also holds the mantle when it comes to futures. Here’s what you’ll find.

  • Super Bowl Winner
  • Teams to Make Playoffs
  • Conference and Division Winners
  • Regular-Season Team Win Totals
  • Individual Player Award Winners
  • NFL Draft Picks

NBA futures markets

The NBA attracts plenty of betting action as well, and that includes futures bets. Here are the most popular markets.

  • NBA Finals Winner
  • Teams to Make Playoffs
  • Conference and Division Winners
  • Regular-Season Team Win Totals
  • Individual Player Award Winners
  • NBA Draft Picks

MLB futures markets

Constant games mean there’s plenty of betting action to be found during the MLB season, while the futures market offers up additional opportunities to consider.

  • World Series Winner
  • Teams to Make Playoffs
  • League and Division Winners
  • Regular-Season Team Win Totals
  • Individual Player Award Winners

NHL futures markets

There’s plenty of games to be found during the NHL season and playoffs, while the futures market is on standby for those that want to take a look ahead.

  • Stanley Cup Winner
  • Teams to Make Playoffs
  • Conference and Division Winners
  • Regular-Season Team Win Totals
  • Individual Player Award Winners
  • NHL Draft Picks

College football futures markets

For many sports bettors, the college football season is the best time of the year. It goes by in a flash, but there are plenty of futures to consider along the way.

  • National Championship Winner
  • Teams to Make College Football Playoffs
  • Conference and Division Winners
  • Regular-Season Team Win Totals
  • Individual Player Award Winners

College basketball futures markets

March Madness is one of the biggest sports betting events of the year, but there’s plenty of other interest in college basketball, both during the season and via futures.

  • National Championship Winner
  • Final Four Participants
  • Conference and Division Winners
  • Regular-Season Team Win Totals
  • Individual Player Award Winners

How to handicap sports betting futures

Instincts are important when it comes to futures bets, but you still need to spend some time verifying the wagers you are interested in make sense. It’s not uncommon to come across opportunities that look like veritable steals at first glance.

However, closer inspection may reveal that’s not the case. Figuring that out before you pull the trigger and place the bet can save you a lot of heartaches, not to mention valuable funds for your bank roll.

Here’s a simple exercise that can be helpful for futures betting. When you have a market you’re interested in, scan through the odds board once as a first glance and make a quick mental note of the choices that jump out to you.

Go through the process again and spend a little more time. See if any others jump out to you, and also give a good think to the choices that initially caught your attention. Afterward, you should walk away with a short list of choices that deserve closer inspection.

Once you get to this point, you can begin handicapping your selections and determine which ones make the most sense. For the team-based sports, here are some of the key items you’ll want to take a look at.

  • How did the team perform last season?
  • What significant moves were made in the offseason?
  • Are they a legitimate contender in relation to their peers?
  • What does this year’s game schedule look like?
  • What’s the consensus — team on the rise, on the way down, or somewhere in the middle?

Naturally, you’ll also want to factor in what the odds board is telling you. In a perfect world, you’ll be examining a mix of favorites, mid-range selections, and long shots. Don’t be afraid about betting on sleepers if your research points you there, but also remember to not take gigantic leaps you can’t justify.

For the individual sports, the process is similar overall but customized to the contest at hand. Here’s a quick checklist to follow.

  •  Individual past performance at the event
  • Historical winners and high finishers at this event
  • Examine the venue and how the player performs in similar circumstances
  • Recent and season-long form for the player in question
  • Other news and notes surrounding the event, such as injuries or weather concerns

Just like with the team sports, take some time to go through the odds board in detail. Afterward, you can spend your time going through your selections in each odds tier in full detail.

Key takeaways on futures betting

The futures market is a popular segment of the sports betting marketplace which continues to gain a significant amount of traction. These are wagers you can place on an event that will happen in the future, such as the winner of a league championship or a tournament.

Sportsbooks will post odds for those in contention, which are typically listed in descending order. There will be favorites on top, a section with mid-range odds, and selections considered to be long shots at the bottom.

The futures market remains active year-round, but there’s typically a spike in interest when a new batch of markets is released, such as when odds come out for the upcoming NFL season.

Some bettors make their choices soon after odds are released and hold onto their tickets with a long-range perspective. There are also plenty of handicappers who remain engaged with the market all season long while hunting for appealing opportunities.

The odds in the futures market will shift based on market action and performance of those on the board. Bettors can also shop around to find the most appealing prices by checking out the odds at multiple sportsbook operators.

Instincts are important for futures betting, but there’s also some handicapping to be done for those who are looking to go the extra mile. The futures market is fun and engaging, not to mention potentially fruitful due to the wide range of odds offered.

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