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Futures betting is one of the most valuable betting markets in sports, and a great starting point for beginners. The futures market specifics vary depending on the sport, but the entire market refers to any outcome that won’t be determined until some point in the future – hence the name.
Let’s go through what futures markets are out there, how to bet on them and other relevant information regarding this market. Playing in pools and contests is similar to futures markets, such as March Madness bracket pools or NBA Playoff Pools. Check out the various types of contests and pools RYP has and compete against friends for cash!
What Does It Mean To Bet on Futures?
When betting on the futures market, think of it as an investment. You’re putting money away in hopes it will grow over the course of time. This market is not recommended for bettors looking for a quick pay day. The idea when betting on a futures market is to have a ticket at great value for something that will occur down the road.
This can be applied to every single sport in various different ways. Bettors can wager on award winners, championship winners, division winners, conference winners, tournament winners, etc… Value is riddled throughout, typically at its peak when it first opens.
Example of a Future Bet: How Does It Work?
If a bettor thinks the Kansas City Chiefs will win the Super Bowl, they can take the Chiefs to win the Super Bowl as soon as possible and not wait an entire year. Following Super Bowl 57, a bettor might decide to take the Chiefs odds to win it again at +700 instead of waiting for next season.
On Selection Sunday, a bettor might elect to take a futures wager on one school to win March Madness instead of waiting for the tournament to actually begin. If a bettor takes Gonzaga at +2000 before the tournament starts, the Zags might drop to +500 should they reach the Elite Eight.
This is why early betting in the futures market is so important, because the value is at its highest. With the Academy Awards in 2022, Jessica Chastain was +500 to win Best Actress. She then won the SAG Award for Best Actress and her odds dropped to -150. The market odds are dictated by results, so if you wait too long on a result you might also lose the futures value.
How to Future Bet?
Placing a future bet is simple and no different than wagering any other market. Simply select the sport and type of future bet you want to place, and then make the wager. If a bettor decides to take Jessica Chastian for Best Actress at +500, it will cost that bettor $100 to win back $500. If the bettor waits until Chastain’s odds are -150 before betting, it will cost that bettor $150 to only win back $100. This is why timing in the futures market is so crucial.
Most Common Future Bets
Picking a Super Bowl winner is the most popular NFL futures market bettors wager on, but it’s not the only one. Bettors also love the MVP market along with other awards such as Comeback Player, Coach of the Year and Rookie of the Year.
NFL bettors can also wager on which teams will win the conference championship or their respective divisions. Value is high when the season begins, as it then changes as the season progresses. The Bills might open as +400 Super Bowl favorites but go 5-5 in their first 10 games to see odds drop to +900. Regardless of which sport you wager on, constantly check futures markets for odds movements.
The World Series winner and the Pennant winners are the two most popular MLB futures markets to wager on. Division winners are also popular markets here, but MLB also features the best League Leader markets to wager on.
League Leader markets are only available before the season starts, as bettors can wager on which player will lead the league in a certain statistical category. The MVP, Rookie of the Year and Cy Young awards are also popular futures markets bettors wager on.
The NBA Finals winner is by far the most popular NBA futures market to wager on, as the division winners are actually unpopular compared to other sports. This is because the division races aren’t viewed as important in the NBA, as seeing in the conference’s top 10 is deemed more important.
That means the conference winner and NBA Play-In Tournament markets are probably better to wager on when looking into NBA futures. The NBA also presents the most individual awards a bettor can wager on, such as MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, Most Improved Player, Sixth Man of the Year, etc…
Picking a winner for every single PGA tournament is considered a futures bet. Even if you wait until the beginning of Round 4 (Sunday) to make your bet, it’s still a futures bet. So on a weekly basis, picking a tournament winner, regardless of the round, is the most popular futures market in golf.
However, the most popular and invested futures market in golf are the major winners but particularly the Masters. The Masters is considered golf’s Super Bowl and is the most popular futures market in the sport by far. The Open, PGA Championship and U.S. Open gets a ton of attention too, but nothing compares to the Masters in terms of futures betting popularitiy.
Picking the team to win the College Football National Championship is the most popular futures market in college football. Equally as popular though is the Heisman Trophy winner market, one of the most thrilling markets to follow throughout the course of any season in sports.
The market is a roller coaster, as it’s rare the player who opens as the Heisman favorite actually wins it. It’s college football’s MVP award and highlights individual players on a weekly basis, a true joy to track for any sports bettor.
Although this could fall into the NFL market, the projected No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft is equally as thrilling to track and wager on as the Heisman trophy. With the playoffs now expanding as well, bettors in college football will be able to wager on more teams to reach the playoffs.
There are tons of soccer leagues in the world. EPL, Bundesliga, MLS, UEFA, FIFA, so many! How can one possibly wager on a soccer future? It’s easy, just simplify it. Each country has its own soccer league, so begin there.
England has the EPL, Germany has Bundesliga, Netherlands has Eredivisie and so on and so forth. Start with leagues you might actually follow, so if living in America try MLS and wager on who will win the MLS Cup.
Depending on which country league you follow, picking the league winner is the most popular futures bet to make. Top goal scorer in the league is equally as popular, although both markets might be top-heavy prices such as the EPL and Manchester City.
Looking at bigger events (outside of individual leagues) both the UEFA Champions League and the FIFA World Cup are easily the most popular soccer tournaments to place future wagers on. The UEFA EURO is also a fun soccer tournament to wager on, and for Americans the Gold Cup is a great event to place a futures wager on.
So with soccer, figuring out which league or tournament to place a futures wager on is just as important as the team you select. Feel free to explore other sport future markets if beginning before diving into the vast array of soccer league future markets.
The Stanley Cup winner is the most popular futures market to wager on in the NHL, and to many the most fun tournament to watch in professional sports. The action is fast and the hitting is hard in hockey, especially when Lorde Stanley is on the line.
Bettors in hockey future markets also wager on individual awards such as the Hart winner, Calder winner and Vezina winner (amongst others). Like many other sports, NHL futures bettors can also wager on both conference and division winners but have the President’s Cup that other sports don’t have.
What is the President’s Cup? The cup is awarded to the team that accumulates the most points throughout the course of a season. Teams earn points based on wins in regulation, wins in overtime/shootout or losses. Bettors can wager on which team will win the President’s Cup, basically picking the regular-season champion.
Picking individual race winners is easily the most popular futures market in autosports, but there are specific events that are more popular than others. For F1, the Monaco GP is the most prestigious event, but the new Miami GP might be the new most popular race in the sport.
NASCAR’s Daytona 500 is the most popular futures market in stock car racing, while the Indy 500 might be the single most popular autosport to place a futures wager on. With F1 and NASCAR too, bettors can wager on who will win each sport’s championship.
The value is better in NASCAR, as F1 Is typically top heavy with only a handful of racers who can seriously win it. NASCAR has a much more even playing field and an absurd amount of more races than F1.
Whether picking the sports’ champion or single race winners, autosports future markets present some of the best options in sports.
March Madness, March Madness and March Madness. It’s the second most popular sporting event in America and one of the most popular futures markets in all of sports. Bettors pick a March Madness winner every year by simply filling out a bracket.
Sure, bettors can also wager on the Wooden Award winner and the conference tournament winners – but March Madness is considered the ‘roulette’ of sporting events due to its thrill of underdog excitement and upsets on high alert.
Besides picking the March Madness winner, some bettors might elect to take teams to reach the semifinals instead – also known as the Final Four. The value is still pretty good and a bettor can win this market without a top team winning the entire event, but rather just going far in it.
Pros and Cons of Future Betting
The value is hard to beat in the futures market. Depending on your timing, you can get great value in the futures market such as the Jessica Chastain example above. The con, though, is also timing in which you can lose value on odds.
Another pro for futures betting is that it presents a hedge betting opportunity for many. Tennis is a great example of this, as a bettor might elect to take Roger Federer to win a tournament at +250. Then, the bettor might bet on the underdog who faces Fereder in each match he plays.
The biggest con for this market, though, is the time it takes for a winner. Some futures markets only last 24 hours or a little more, while others take months to wait on. If you’re an impatient bettor then stay away from the futures market. This market is a marathon, not a sprint.
FAQ About Future Betting
Does future betting allow parlays?
Yes. You can parlay various championship winners in different sports, which is very popular to do. Someone in Denver might decide to parlay the Nuggets winning the NBA Championship with the Avalanche winning the Stanley Cup. It’s very difficult to hit, but a fun way to find value and shoot for the stars.
Is hedging a futures bet strategy?
Yes, as discussed above. The best sports to consider this for include tennis and NASCAR. There are other tournament based sports such as Darts but this strategy can be used for any tournament in sports.
Right before the NFL Playoffs start, perhaps select a Super Bowl winner then bet against that team in single games when the NFL Playoffs start. It’s always good to take a futures wager on a team/player you know will be a favorite more times than not, and has juicy odds to win the entire event.
Do You Get Your Money Back if You Cancel a Futures Bet?
You typically can’t cancel a futures bet, or any bet really. If you place a futures bet then it is typically locked, unless your sportsbook is feeling nice but don’t count on that. If you take Kevin Durant on a futures wager to win the NBA MVP Award then he gets hurt, you won’t get money back.