General view after the Los Angeles Rams defeated the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports.
General view after the Los Angeles Rams defeated the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports.

How to Play a Futures Bet

Futures betting is a great way to be invested in a team or individual in a given sport for an extended period of time.

Every sport has a futures market, in which you can bet on a team winning a championship or a player winning a specific award. This can be a chance for bettors to earn a big payday, depending on the price at the time that the wager was placed.

Here is everything you need to know before placing a futures bet at an online sportsbook.

What is a Futures Bet?

This is a wager placed on specific events, which included a team winning the championship or a player securing an award. These are long-term bets that are usually decided at the end of the season. 

How it works:

Futures markets will typically open before the season, and will remain open throughout the year. Oddsmakers will adjust betting lines over the course of the year for a variety of reasons such as injuries, trades, or amount of action in that market.

This means when you place a futures bets, odds might change for the better or worse, which will be out of your control. Managing a portfolio can be key to maximizing your chances of cashing a futures ticket in a given market.

How to Read Futures Odds

Futures markets are usually in list format, starting with the option that has the best odds and working down to the option with the worst chance to win. The lower the number, the better chance a team or player has of winning that market. The higher numbers have longer odds in that field.

NFL Futures Odds 20222/23
NFL Futures Odds 20222/23

NFL Futures Bet Example: 

The 2023 Super Bowl odds are available at WynnBET’s online sportsbook, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers listed as the favorite with a price of +600. Further down the board, the New Orleans Saints are listed at +3000. The team with the longest odds is the Houston Texans, who are priced at +25000 to win it all.

In this particular case, a $100 bet on any of these teams would result in different payouts. A bettor would win $600 if Tampa Bay won the Super Bowl, while the Saints claiming the championship would net a $3,000 payout.

Types of Futures Bets

The above example tends to be the most-common form of futures betting. There are championship odds for every sport, such as the Super Bowl, Stanley Cup, NCAA Tournament, and NBA Finals.

NFL Futures Bet Slip
NFL Futures Bet Slip

In addition, there are other futures markets related to a player winning an award. This includes MVP, rookie of the year, comeback player of the year and much more. Win totals are also a form of futures betting.

Advantages of Futures Bets

As sports betting becomes more popular, so does futures betting given the variety of different markets. Here are some advantages for bettors choosing to place a futures wager:

  • Thanks to the longer odds, futures bets produce bigger payouts when a ticket is won

  • Since these markets are always open, you can place futures bets whenever you want during the season

  • Bettors can place multiple futures bets in the same market, improving their chances of winning a bet on that event

Disadvantages of Futures Bets

While futures betting can be a lot fun, there are some disadvantages to know about this specific aspect of wagering:

  • There can be only one winner in a futures market, which means the sportsbook will have the advantage in terms of implied probability

  • These are long-term bets, meaning that your money could be tied up for a lengthy period

  • Even after you place a futures bets, injuries or trades could negatively impact your wager’s chances of cashing

Tips for Futures Betting

All that said, there can be a strategy to help improve your chances of cashing a futures bet:

  • Know when to invest in a team. Some teams offer a buy-low points due to early struggles, while it might be more advantageous to wait for a better price on other squads. You can look at schedules and other relevant factors to help identify the right time to place a futures bet.

  • Stay up-to-date on recent news, which could be injury updates or potential trades. That is the type of information that increases a team’s chance of winning a championship, so being an informed bettor can help you know when is the correct time to place a wager.

  • Because these odds are constantly moving, a bettor could place multiple futures bets in a given market. This could increase the chances of cashing a ticket.

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