When the season ends, one type of wager becomes incredibly sought after, the future bet. Although every bet needs to be placed before the event takes place, futures take this one step further. Rather than predicting basic aspects of a game, such as the next goal scorer or who will win the match, you are aiming for something far more long-term.
Futures apply to a variety of different sports. You can bet on next year’s NBA Finals winner, the winner of the 2024 Stanley Cup, and similar wagers for the NFL or MLB. Any of these types of wagers are open bets for the entire duration of the season. After all, there is no way of knowing who will win the next World Series until the trophy has been lifted. This may sound confusing, but we have explained everything you need to know in the guide below.
There is another aspect to consider when talking about future bets, the timing. Sportsbooks can fluctuate the odds on offer the closer the event is to taking place. Meaning a future placed before the season begins is usually far better paying than one placed halfway through the season. If you want some advice on how to time future wagers, we go into greater detail later on.
What is a Future Bet?
Futures are one of the most straightforward wagers you can make. It means you are betting on an outcome way before the event takes place. Take the NFL for example. When the season is over, there are no more individual games to bet on. This is where you can place a wager for a team to win the division, the conference, or win the Super Bowl. That is not the only NFL future bet you can place, but they are the most common. At the FanDuel Sportsbook, you can place futures on individuals, such as the MVP, coach of the year, and a team to win ten or more regular season games.
The popularity of futures comes from the odds. Say you had a hunch that Doug Pederson would be the NFL Coach of the Year 2022-23. Depending on the sportsbook you use, you could get +1400 if you were to place a bet now. That means a $100 wager could return $1,400 if your prediction is right. Compare this to your typical everyday NFL bet, and you will see having patience can pay off.
This is one of the best parts of future betting. You can place the bet and forget about it. As they won’t settle the outcome until the end of the season, you can stake as much or as little as you want. That is also the major downside, as that money will remain out of your reach for a long time.
How Do Future Bets Work?
Future betting works just like any other wager, it just takes place over a longer period. If you are new to online sports betting, whenever you place a bet, there is a period where you have to wait for the bet to be completed. With live betting, you can bet on a match after it started and on an event that occurs before the game officially finishes. In both these situations, you still have to wait until they settle it.
In future betting, they take this wait one step further. Instead of waiting for one game, or halftime, you are waiting for the conclusion of the season. In the NBA, you can bet right now on the 2024 NBA Championship Winner, the regular season MVP, and the conference winners. It does not matter who you bet on, you will need to wait until most of the season is over before they officially complete any wager. If you bet on anything like the Stanley Cup, The Super Bowl, or NBA Finals, you will need to wait until the end of the season as these are typically the last game.
Some sportsbooks, like Caesars, have an incredible future betting section. This is where you can bet on just about anything likely to occur at the end of the season. You can bet on a wide variety of NFL future bets. Such as the finalists from each division, which two teams will make the Super Bowl, and what the outcome will be when the division winners square off. These are all predictions you can’t be sure about, as they are months away. However, that is exactly what makes them so rewarding.
How to Place Future Bets
You can place future bets at any of the best sports betting sites. Some sportsbooks have dedicated areas to futures before the new season starts. PointsBet has these sections for various sports in their offseason. You can click on MLB Futures, NFL Futures, or NCAAF Futures from the main menu. These categories can appear and disappear throughout the year.
If the sports betting site, you visit does not have dedicated categories, you can find futures inside each tab. The sportsbook will typically have a selection of bets, including live bets, featured wagers, and various upcoming events. They will also have a future betting area for almost every sport. All you need to do is browse and select the wager you want to bet on. Sportsbooks adjust odds on the fly, but futures are a little more stable. Sure, if a team makes a huge signing, their odds might fluctuate, but not by much. There is no need to rush and place a future bet.
It is unlikely for a sportsbook to offer you a promo when making a future bet. However, what you may find is that the sports betting site highlights interesting or popular bets for you to consider. This can include the Tampa Bay Buccaneers winning the next Super Bowl at 15/2. The same bet might have been worth more just a few weeks ago, but its popularity may have caused it to change.
Future Betting Examples
We have spoken a lot about the benefits of future betting, but perhaps you need to see it for yourself. Below, we have collected a few examples of sports betting futures from a variety of sportsbooks. While each sportsbook might have a different range of futures to consider, there will be a lot of overlap.
Sports Betting NFL Futures Explained
If you are an NFL fan, one way to get ready for the next season is to look at some future bets. NFL futures are wagers you can place about which team will win big next season. If you were to visit FanDuel for NFL futures, they have the coach of the year, comeback player of the year, and regular season MVP. BetMGM has a similar selection but with even more options. You can pick the top two in each division plus some stat leaders, like the season leader for passing yards.
NBA Betting Futures
The NBA betting futures are like the NFL. You can pick the division winners and the team who will take home the NBA Finals. Plus, they have similar accolades at the end of the season. This included the regular season MVP, Rookie of the Year, and the most improved player. Sportsbooks like PointsBet have an even greater choice of NBA futures, including the sixth man of the year.
What Does MLB Betting Futures Mean?
Just because the season has started does not mean you can’t place any futures on the MLB. Some sportsbooks like PointsBet might not take future bets, so make sure you check before you sign up. The MLB has similar futures to the previous sports mentioned. You can pick winners for World Series, American League, and National League. Plus, they have end-of-season rewards for both leagues, such as the Cy Young and MVP.
NHL Future Betting
The NHL’s future betting options varied in each sportsbook. PointsBet allowed you to place wagers on the outcome of the NHL Draft plus the Stanley Cup winner. BetMGM only had the most common types of futures, such as the winners of the Eastern Conference and Western Conference. Make sure you check your sportsbook to see what NHL future betting they offer.
How to win Sports Betting Futures
While we wish we had a guaranteed way to win a future bet, that is unfortunately not the case. There is no secret way to win a future bet. Instead, we have some advice to help you choose wisely.
- A long wait: Whatever you decide to bet on, you can't rely on your traditional sources of information, such as form or performance. Even after you place a future bet, a lot can change between preseason and the official start of a season. So, just remember that you will have no way of knowing. Don’t beat yourself up if your prediction is wrong.
- Stake what you can afford: Whatever you decide to bet, you will essentially say goodbye to this money. Even if you are right, it will be the best part of a year before the bet will end. That means you will be without your stake for months at the minimum. Only bet what you can afford to lose. If you look at almost every future, they have fantastic odds. So, it’s easy to win a lot even when you stake a little.
- Forget about it: One of the healthiest ways to enjoy this wager is to bet and forget. Don’t check in on this wager every week. Just let it ride and see where it goes. As we said above, you are essentially saying goodbye to this cash as soon as you place the bet, so leave it that way. It will either make victory taste sweeter or will help you deal with the pain!
Futures Betting Odds
If you are looking to bet on the outright winner of a game, you will be lucky to double your money if there is a clear favorite. That’s why futures are so popular. Even a clear favorite, let’s say the outright winner of the MLS, still has fantastic returns. Los Angeles FC had the lowest odds at +340. Meaning a $100 bet will net you $340 in profit at FanDuel.
Looking at other futures with a less clear favorite, you will see where the appeal comes from. In the 2022 World Cup, you could have bet on the golden boot winner; the player to score the most goals in the tournament. The favorite was Harry Kane with +650 and Ronaldo was there for +1100. Another bet worth a hundred bucks would see $1,100 in profit if you bet on Ronaldo. The issue with these bets is there is no way of knowing if you will be right or not, but that’s why they pay so well. Your intuition could net you some serious winnings compared to a standard spread bet.
Depending on the sportsbook you bet on, you could cash out. This is where they allow you to withdraw the bet, or part of it, as it currently stands. If you bet on Kane to score the most goals at the World Cup, and he starts with a hat trick. Then you could cash out after one game for a tasty profit. It won’t be the full $650, but it will be more than your stake, that’s for sure!
When do you Place Betting Futures?
One of the most troublesome parts of sports betting is deciding when to do it. For future betting, you want to time the bet as best you can. Below are a couple of tips to help you win your future bets!
- Timing is important: If you place a bet on the Rams to win the Super Bowl almost immediately after their triumph in Super Bowl LVI, you would have seen mediocre odds. That’s because they would be the favorite to defend the title. If you wait and see how the offseason goes, you might see other teams strengthen or weaken, affecting the odds. Usually, the early bird gets the worm, but that’s not always the case.
- Has there been any news? Bettors flock to the sportsbooks when big signings or changes come. This surge of betting has a direct effect on the odds, as the sportsbooks will reduce the returns of the most popular bets. This could either be a sign of something to avoid or a chance to follow the herd.
- Bet small to reduce risk: If you have a look at most futures, they have fantastic odds and a healthy return no matter what you stake. If you have a spare $20, then placing a long-term wager where you could five times your stake is not a poor investment. Sure, if it comes true you will wish you spent more. But if it doesn’t, then you saved a lot of cash.
Why try Sports Futures Betting
If you are unsure if futures betting is for you, how can you find out? Well, the main reason anyone would place a future bet is because the season is over. Once the NFL, NBA, or NHL season ends, there is nothing to bet on besides a few pre-season games. Futures give you the chance to bet on something meaningful, just a long way down the line.
Some of the best sportsbooks have an incredible selection of futures to enjoy. The BetMGM Sportsbook has a wide collection of bets, allowing you to be more specific with your predictions. PointsBet is another excellent sportsbook for future bets. They allow you to form a parlay of total bets for the number of wins each NFL team has across the season and whether a team will miss the playoffs.
You can see each sports betting site's future bets before you even sign up. This means if you are yet to join a sportsbook, you can browse before you join. If you want a complete breakdown of the best sportsbooks, then you should check out our reviews. The FanDuel review has everything you need to know about one of the best online sports betting sites out there. Plus we gave DraftKings the same treatment.
What are the Best Online Sportsbooks for Future Betting?
If you’ve heard enough about future betting, then you might be ready to join an online sportsbook. Below are some of the best online betting sites for placing futures. Remember, some sports betting platforms are not available in every state. Ensure you check which services can operate in your state before trying to sign up.
Futures at PointsBet
The PointsBet Sportsbook is one of the best for future betting because of how easy it is to use. They regularly update their navigational bar to give you access to important events at the right time. That means you will find dedicated tabs to MLB, NFL, and various other futures. These categories allow you to jump straight into future betting, a feature you will struggle to find anywhere else.
Caesars Sportsbook Future Betting
Caesars has an outstanding reputation for several reasons. Caesars Sportsbook has a brilliant range of futures to choose from across almost every major sport. Looking at basketball, you can bet on the NBA conference winners, championship winners, and various award winners. There are around 40 different future bets to consider at Caesars for the NFL alone. Compare that to the five or ten you would get at your average sportsbook, and it’s clear why Caesars stands out.
Futures at the BetMGM Sportsbook
Unlike PointsBet, the BetMGM Sportsbook has a different way for you to find futures. No matter which sport you wanted to bet on, visit the betting page and look for the relevant tab. Almost every sport has a section dedicated to future bets, giving you an enormous selection to choose from. You can even browse futures after the season has started. BetMGM is fantastic for future bets, as they have such a wide selection.
DraftKings Sportsbook Futures
The selection at DraftKings is not to be overlooked. They have multiple sections just for NFL futures. They have team futures, individual award futures, and future parlays. This is where you can make a parlay with even greater returns. The future parlays at DraftKings are simple predictions for whether each team will finish with a positive win-to-loss ratio. You can pick as many of the 32 teams as you like. The more you choose, the better the returns. Plus, in various other sports, such as the NBA, DraftKings has unique and exciting Futures you won’t see at any other sportsbook.
Future Betting at the FanDuel Sportsbook
FanDuel has both an excellent daily fantasy sports service and an online sportsbook. The futures at FanDuel are great for sports like the NFL and the NBA. For other sports, like hockey, they have little choice when compared to the sportsbooks outlined above. As of right now, you can only bet on the NHL draft picks and the next Stanley Cup winners.
Sports Betting Futures Summary
There you have it, everything you need to know about betting on futures at an online sportsbook. Just to recap, futures are an excellent way to turn a small stake into a large jackpot if your bet comes true. You will need a lot of patience, as the outcome of a future bet is not usually settled until near the end of the season. Almost every major sport has a future bet to consider.
If futures are important to you, then you should make sure the sportsbook you join has an excellent selection. The sports betting sites that stood out to us include DraftKings, Caesars, and BetMGM, but there are several others to consider. Whichever sports betting site you decide to join, please remember to gamble responsibly. Any of the sportsbooks recommended above have exceptional tools to help you stay in control of your spending.