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Futures Bets: Make the Best Calls

Aaron Gray

by Aaron Gray

Updated Sep 7, 2022 · 11:33 AM PDT

As the name suggests, futures bets allow you to wager on who wins an upcoming championship or title, long before teams have been determined. You can also make futures bets regarding individual player awards, like Major League Baseball’s MVP awards. Futures bets force bettors to think long-term when they’re laying down sports bets.

How to Bet on Future League Champions

Futures bets can be highly lucrative. Underdogs are typically given a minimal chance of winning, with a massive payout attached to them. 

Betting on playoffs or championships is undoubtedly the most popular form of futures betting. Championship futures open before the regular season even starts, and the odds are continually updated throughout the season and into the playoffs. Once playoff seeding has officially been determined, teams that missed the playoffs are removed from the picture, so the lines for remaining teams will start to get shorter.

These types of championship bets are available for every major sport, including the NFL, NBA, MLB, and the NHL.

Here’s what a sample futures line might look like:

Futures Bets: Player Awards and Outcomes

Even if the NFL season has yet to kickoff, you can already bet on who will win the Super Bowl, as well as who will win NFL MVP, Offensive Rookie of the Year, Defensive Rookie of the Year, and much more.

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In the NHL, options can include the winner of the Hart Trophy, Art Ross, Norris Trophy and Vezina Trophy, the following year, as well as the destinations of marquee free agents.

The bigger and more popular the sport, the more player awards and outcomes futures bets are made available to bettors.

What’s great about futures is that some sportsbooks allow you to also accept a “FIELD” option.

What’s great about futures is that some sportsbooks allow you to also accept a “FIELD” option. This refers to selecting a candidate for an award that is not among the listed options. This way, if you believe a player will win an award who isn’t listed, you can select the “FIELD” option.

One type of futures bet you might also see is a futures bet on who, between two big-name players who were traded for each other, will have a greater point total at the conclusion of the season. For example, when P.K. Subban was traded to the Nashville Predators in exchange for Shea Weber, there was a futures bet as to which player would have a greater point total at the conclusion of the 2016-2017 season.  

Futures Bets: Team Win Totals

Many sportsbooks allow you to bet on the over/under of a team’s prospective win totals for the following season. These will often come with a “hook” to avoid the possibility of a push, technically referred to as season props. The odds sportsbooks offer will vary as information about specific teams comes to light.

For example, in the summer of 2019, oddsmakers set the New York Jets’ 2019 win total at 7.5 games, with -110 odds for both the over and the under. As the preseason came and went, second-year QB Sam Darnold looked improved and bettors started backing the over more heavily. Some sportsbooks increased New York’s win total to 8.0, while others shifted the odds on over 7.5 to -120 or shorter.

It’s always smart to exercise caution when placing your futures bets. Futures are very entertaining and the payouts can be massive if you manage to pick a winner well in advance, but the juice can also be high. Your money is tied up until the conclusion of the season, and your bet is locked in at the odds you placed it at. A lot can change over the course of a season!

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