What Are Future Bets?

Future bets are exactly what they sound like: a bet placed on something that is going to be determined in the future. More specifically, future bets are usually on something that is going to be determined in the distant future.

So the winner of a gam happening tonight would not count as a futures bet. The winner of the next Super Bowl, however, is a perfect example.

Future bets are a variety of prop bet, short for proposition bet. Props are ways for the sportsbook to make special bets that deal withe more than just which team is going to win a game.

How Do Future Bets Work?

So, a futures bet is a wager which is decided in the not-so-immediate future. Betting on a game happening tonight, tomorrow night or even in a couple of weeks is not considered a futures bet. A future tends to take a much longer period of time to be decided.

Here are some examples of futures bets:

  • To win the World Series
  • To win the Super Bowl
  • To win the NBA Championship
  • To win the Stanley Cup

We are going to get more specific and talk about how futures bets odds work a little later. For now, think about the one thing all of these examples have in common. They will not be decided until the end of the season.

For this reason, most people place futures bets before the season begins. It is possible, however, to place futures bets like this during the season as well. There are some important differences between these two approaches.

Future Odds Change During Season

Since it is obviously more difficult to predict who is going to win the Super Bowl before a single ball has even been thrown, it makes sense that successful futures bets can be very profitable. As it becomes clear which teams have a better chance of winning big at the end of the season, the potential payouts on futures for those teams gets lower. This is one reason people like to place futures bets before the start of the season.

Take a look at our future bets on possible Super Bowl matchups and the state of the Super Bowl winner.

For example, imagine you are pretty sure the Golden State Warriors are going to scoop another NBA championship at the start of the season. Even though they are the favorite with the sportsbook, there is still a long way to go and anything could happen.

You decide not to place the bet just yet. Fast-forward a few months into the season, the Warriors are 29-1. They look like a lock for another championship. Well, with most sportsbooks it is still possible for you to place a futures bet on the Warriors winning the whole thing now, but because they look so likely to win you would stand to make a lot less money.

If you had trusted your instinct from the start and placed the bet at the beginning of the season, you’d stand to profit way more by winning your bet. This shows why it is a good idea to think long term in future bets.

Key Idea: Successful future bets require long term thinking

More Future Bets Examples

To understand futures bets, it helps to appreciate that regular betting often depends on one game, but futures bets are decided by many games. They take into account the overall outcome of a season, not the outcome of individual games.

The better you are at foreseeing outcomes over long periods of time, the more suited you are to future bets. As a general rule, the further away the outcome of your future bet is, the more money you are likely to make.

Let’s get back to some more examples:

Say you can’t decide who is going to win the NBA Championship. but you are pretty sure the Toronto Raptors are going to win the Eastern Conference. You can place a bet like:

  • Raptors to win the Eastern Conference
    Even though this is not the very final end result of the NBA season, it is still considered a futures bet. It may not be the last determining game of the season, but it is still determined by all the results of the Raptors throughout the season.

    Futures bets are not limited to the overall winner of a competition or conference either. Remember, any bet that is determined over the course of a season or series of games can be considered a futures bet. Take a bet like this:
  • To win the NFL Most Valuable Player
    Here we have a bet that does not involve a team winning a championship. However, the outcome of this bet will also be decided over the course of the season.

    Predicting who will be the MVP in any sport requires you to think about all the possibilities of the season, and take into account all the games that they may or may not play. The is the definition of a futures bet.

Here are some other examples of potential future bets:
– To win NBA Defensive Player Of the Year
– To finish As Top Goal Scorer in the Premier League
– To win MLB Manager of the Year

As of these bets are determined over the course of the season, so you’ll be able to find them in the futures bet sections of the sportsbook. Even though there are lots of options, the most common futures bet in any sport tends to be which team will win the championship.

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