Futures Betting

A futures bet is a wager on the outcome of an event that will not be decided until a future date, rather than the result of a single game or match. Futures bets typically involve picking outcomes such as which team will win a championship, or which player will win MVP come the end of the season.

Futures Betting
Published by NYSB Staff
Last Updated: 13. Dec 2023.

Do you like to take the longer view? At the beginning of each season, sports fans have their opinions on which teams and players are going to fare well. 

Are the champions going to tighten their grip on the title, or is another team on their way to top spot? Is there a player who you feel is on the cusp of a breakthrough year? All of these eventualities are accounted for by futures betting!

When it comes to betting on sports, a lot of the action is focused on a specific game. Placing a moneyline bet on which team will win when the Knicks host the Detroit Pistons at the Garden, for example, or wagering on whether the final result of an NFL game will be over a certain number of points with a totals bet are always popular.

Betting on individual clashes is great fun, however for those who want to look at the bigger picture, a futures bet lets you pick which team or player you think will come out on top once the final whistle of the season or competition blows. 

What is Futures Betting?

Futures betting refers to bets placed on events other than single games, such as which team will win a championship, which quarter-back will record the most touchdown passes over a season, or who will win the MVP.

This kind of bet is placed on long-term outcomes that are decided at the end of a championship, series, tournament, or season, and is available at all of the top NY sports betting apps and sites.

How Do Futures & Outright Bets Work?

Before the start of the season, futures and outright betting odds are available. You’ll be able to pick the outright winner for a range of competitions, as well as other futures options that are based on performances over a season. 

But you can also place futures bets throughout the season, with odds being adjusted by sportsbooks according to a team’s performances, as well as factors such as trades and injuries. 

How much money sports betting fans are placing on each team or player can also affect the odds. For this reason, timing can be crucial in futures betting. 

It is important to lock in excellent odds when you can – maybe at the start of the season before a team hits form, or during a dip in form midway through the campaign.

How to Read Futures Betting Odds

Futures betting odds are read in the same way as any other odds. The odds are given for each team or player to win a championship or award. 

As they typically involve multiple teams or players, futures betting odds are usually presented in a list, with the favorite at the top, descending to the least likely to win at the bottom. 

Let’s look at a quick example. Before the 2023 NBA Championships started, there were already futures odds available. 

On this list of all 30 NBA teams, the Golden State Warriors were favorite and so placed at the top. They had +600 next to their name, and the second favorites, the Boston Celtics, had +700. These odds descended all the way to the bottom of the list, where Portland Trail Blazers, the rank outsiders, were given odds of +10000.

How Do Futures Bets Pay Out?

Continuing with the example above - if you placed $100 on favorites the Warriors to win the NBA Championship at odds of +600, you’d win $600 profit on a $100 bet. If you wagered $100 on the Celtics at odds of +700, you’d be taking home $700 profit. 

Taking a huge punt on the Trail Blazers at odds of +100000 would give you a massive $10,000 profit – although it’s worth considering why their odds were so high!

Which Sports Are Best for Futures Betting?

Now let’s drill down into the best sports for futures betting, and discuss the markets available:

Football Outright & Futures Betting

As is nearly always the case when it comes to the nation’s favorite sport, the Super Bowl gets the most attention from sports betting fans. No sooner has one Super Bowl champion been crowned than the odds are available on who will win the next. 

Which team will be the outright Super Bowl winner is perhaps the most popular futures bet in football, but you can also place futures wagers on outcomes including wins totals for the season and divisional champions, as well as individual awards such as MVP and Rookie of the Year at top NFL betting sites.

Hockey Outright & Futures Betting

The Stanley Cup is the biggest prize in hockey, so perhaps it is no surprise that NHL futures betting usually centers around the identity of the next outright Stanley Cup champions. But there’s so much more to futures betting in hockey at New York's best NHL sportsbooks.

You could wager on individual awards such as the best player in the league (Hart Trophy) and league rookie of the year. In addition there are also opportunities to bet on the most successful player in a certain position over a season, based on metrics such as goals, assists, or saves.

Basketball Outright & Futures Betting

Which team will be the outright NBA Championship winner gets pride of place in futures betting, but you can also find bets on which teams will make the Playoffs, win totals for the year, MVP, Sixth Man award (given to the best substitute), Coach of the Year, and Rookie of the Year on top NBA betting apps.

There are usually plenty of options in the NBA futures market. And with games between the best teams usually tight, you might not know if your bet is a winner until the final basket of the last game of the season, which can make following the sport all that more entertaining as a spectator.

Baseball Outright & Futures Betting

World Series winner will grab the attention as far as baseball outright betting goes. Individual award futures markets include the MVP and the Cy Young award, given to the best pitcher in the sport. 

But that’s not all – you might also like to pick the winner of the National League or American League, and the winner of the conferences within those leagues. For fans of baseball, the top MLB betting sites in NY have a range of futures options before and during the season.

Soccer Outright & Futures Betting

Soccer league and tournament futures that you might like to hang your hat on include the outright winner of the MLS Cup, the English Premier League, Europe’s Champions League, and Spain’s La Liga. 

Then there are the two international showpiece events that take place every four years – namely, the World Cup and European Championships. Player of the year awards, including the Ballon d’Or, are another options futures wagers that you might find at leading soccer betting sportsbooks in NY. And each league will have top goal scorer futures options, as well as markets on which teams will get relegated, or fill the top spots.

Benefits of Futures Bets & When to Place Them

There are many reasons why players can be tempted to place a futures bet. For one, futures bets are slow burners! 

Put some money on one of the title favorites at the start of the season, and give yourself a season’s worth of entertainment, presuming they stay in the title race. There are likely to be twists and turns along the way, keeping you locked in to the battle for glory.

Then there are the higher upsides that you can enjoy from futures payouts. Wagering on single games typically offers smaller profit margins than picking a team or player to win a league or award from a large field. 

It all adds up to bigger wins for those who succeed in futures, particularly if you back a team at great odds who go on to have an outstanding season.

Future Betting Strategy & Tips

While futures are often some of the simplest types of wagers to place, there are a few tactics you can use to help get the most out of your futures betting picks.

Shopping Around For The Best Odds

First thing’s first – in futures betting, it is always worth having a shop around. Checking the prices on multiple New York sportsbook apps won’t take long, and you can ensure you are taking the best available price. 

You might see that one sportsbook has the Patriots at +900 to win the Super Bowl at the start of the season, but that you can nail down a price of +1000 on another sportsbook. This is called line shopping, and will be made easier if you open up multiple sportsbooks accounts.

Betting On Multiple Teams For More Chances To Win

The next consideration is related to betting on multiple teams in the same futures market. Let’s say you bet $100 on both the Kansas City Chiefs (+650) and the Buffalo Bills (+700) to win the next Superbowl. Sure, you are guaranteed at least one loss, but you are also increasing your chances of winning. 

You should note that this tactic is only effective when the odds are long enough to cover at least one loss.

Buying Low For Better Value

Our next piece of advice is to ‘buy low’. Choose your time to jump on a futures betting option wisely. Remember, futures markets are typically open all through the season. That means that if a team you like the look of falls off the title pace, but you expect them to bounce back and claim the crown, placing a bet when they have had a dip in form could be smart. 

Many teams can suffer from a slow start to the season, and this can also be an opportune time to make your move. 

The same principle can apply to players. If a player has missed the first few games of the season due to injury, you might find that their odds to be the top performer in a certain category, or to win a certain accolade, could become more attractive. And based on what you know about that player, you might find futures bets available on them that look like great value.

Where to Place Outright Bets In New York

You can expect all New York sportsbooks to offer futures, with the majority having a specific futures section. Futures odds on sportsbooks will vary according to each competition. 

That’s why we always recommend line shopping in order to identify and lock in the best odds at any given time. During the off season for a particular competition, futures betting will often take center stage, and should be the first odds you see in the section for inactive sports or competitions.

Best for variety of futures betting - DraftKings & Fanduel

As two of the biggest NY sportsbooks, DraftKings and FanDuel offer a broad variety of futures bets on the biggest sports. 

Here you’ll be able to find everything from outright winners and MVP to options like most wins in a season by any MLB team, or player with the most passing yards in the NFL.

Best for ease of use on futures bets - Caesars

Most of the top NY sportsbook apps are reasonably straightforward to use when it comes to placing futures bets. 

However, for ease of use it’s hard to beat Caesars. If you’re a new or casual bettor then you’ll likely find the clean interface of their app easy to navigate, while dedicated futures tabs in each sport makes it simple to make your picks.

Best for futures betting value - BetMGM and PointsBet

While the odds of futures betting are often in a constant state of flux, BetMGM and PointsBet usually tend to have some of the best in the market. 

It’s always worth checking out multiple books before placing your bet though, just in case you can find better value elsewhere. PointsBet also sometimes reduces the juice (the bookie’s commission) on bets, and runs special promos with better odds at certain points in the season.

Futures Betting FAQ

Some sportsbooks do allow futures bets to be parlayed, but you should check with each sportsbook’s rules, as this can vary.

In order to guarantee a profit, a player can hedge a futures bet taken earlier in the season with a title decider bet. For example, if you backed the Warriors at +600 at the start of the season, and they make it to the NBA Finals to play the Cleveland Cavaliers, you could then back the Cavs at +130. This would guarantee you a win, regardless of which team was victorious.

An outright winner is the overall winner of a competition, league or tournament – i.e. the eventual champion. Futures bets are usually on the outright winner of a competition, as well as on other results like MVP or Coach of the Year, that won’t be decided until the end of the season or tournament.

An outright bet is another name for a futures bet. They are the same.

Whether you can cash out a futures bet will depend on the policy of the sportsbook that you placed the bet with. If you’ve backed a team to win a league and they’re on top heading into the final few games, you might be able to get a reasonable return on cashing out for guaranteed profit.

Betting on a team not winning a competition, or tournament – also known as lay betting – may be available on some sportsbooks. You won’t typically find great odds unless betting against hot favorites as these types of wagers aren’t attractive to sportsbooks due to the high chance of them winning.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Let’s stay connected. Never miss a good news and betting offers in New York.

return to top