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Futures Bets: Sports Betting’s Lucrative Long-Term Investments

Futures bets are a type of bet that is placed on a future event, such as an award or a championship. These bets are typically made before the start of the season or tournament, and the odds change as the season progresses. These bets are long-term and last for an entire tournament or season, which could be across several weeks or months of competition.

Odds for Futures Bets

Odds for futures bets open before the start of the season and they take wagers throughout the year.

Bookmakers adjust the odds in reaction to injuries, trades and other results throughout the season. The amount of money wagered on a certain team or outcome also plays a part in the odds.

The odds the futures bet is placed at are locked in for the bettor, regardless of what happens. It doesn’t change when a sportsbook adjusts their future odds throughout the season. Sportsbooks may also hedge odds based on expected wagers, limiting their liability on a specific team winning.

Futures odds are read with each option and its odds in list form. These lists are most often ranked from who has the best chances of winning to the worst.

For example, the 2024 Super Bowl futures odds have the Kansas City Chiefs as the futures to win with odds at +600 (win $600 on a $100 bet).

On the other hand, the Ravens have the long shot odds to win the Super Bowl with +2500 (win $2,500 on a $100 bet).

Use our ‘Maximize Your Bets’ calculator to calculate the implied probability and potential payout of your futures bets.

Placing a futures bet is fairly simple. With an online sportsbook, the futures bets can be found within a specific sports section. The payout is based on the odds at the time of wagering. If the wager wins, the bettor will be paid the amount based on the odds posted at the time of the bet plus the original bet. Even if the odds on futures change, the wager is only good for the odds listed when the bet was made.

Types of Futures Bets


The most common futures bets for the NFL are:

  • Super Bowl Winner
  • Division Champion
  • Win Totals
  • MVP
  • Rookie of the Year
  • Odds to make the playoffs
  • There are also popular futures bets revolving around the NFL draft, with the first overall pick being the most common.


NBA futures bets center around:

  • Win totals
  • MVP
  • Rookie of the Year
  • NBA Finals Champion

There are also individual futures bets in the NBA such as Coach of the Year and Sixth Man award. NBA playoff futures also include how many games a series is since they are a best-of-7 series. For example, Heat vs Nuggets- Heat in 4, 5, 6, or 7 games at various odds and Nuggets in 4, 5, 6, or 7 with various odds.


Much like the NBA, the NHL playoffs are decided in a best-of-7 series. The series odds are dependent on how many games are played in a series. For example, Panthers vs. Golden Knights- Panthers in 4, 5, 6, or 7 games at various odds and Golden Knights in 4, 5, 6, or 7 with various odds.

Some common futures bets in the NHL are:

  • Stanley Cup Champion
  • Hart Trophy Winner (best player in the league)
  • Rookie of the Year
  • Coach of the Year

Players in the NHL are more specialized than most leagues, leading to individual futures bets being more common. Bets on most saves, assists, goals, points and even penalty minutes for a player are most common.

PGA Tour

With golf being an individual sport, futures are much more restricted and are only based on individual player performance.

Futures bets most commonly include specific major tour winners such as:

  • The Masters
  • US Open
  • British Open
  • PGA Championship

College Football

There are a wide range of individual awards in college football with the most notable being the Heisman Trophy.

The most common futures bets are:

  • National Champion
  • Win Totals
  • Conference Champion

College Basketball

College Basketball is one of the most difficult sports out of the major US leagues to vote on. This is due to the fact that there are so many teams and so many players. Most of the futures bets in college basketball center around the NCAA Tournament, or March Madness. Bets about who is expected to make certain rounds such as the Sweet 16 or the Final Four become the most common.

Other futures bets include:

over/under win total

Naismith Award (nation’s best player)

Odds to make March Madness

Hedging Futures Bets

One of the more popular strategies is hedging futures bets as the list of contenders starts to shrink throughout the regular and postseason. Hedging a futures bet is when you place a new bet that conflicts with a still in play future ticket. The result of the hedged bet is such that you are guaranteed to make a profit regardless of the outcome.

For example, in 2020 the Kansas City Chiefs had +1200 odds to win the Super Bowl. If a $100 bet was placed on the Chiefs at those odds, they would win $1,200 if the Chiefs won the Super Bowl.
When the Chiefs made it to the Super Bowl, a wager could have been placed on the San Francisco 49ers to hedge the bet. If they placed $100 at +110 to win $110, they would guarantee their original $100 bet back with a profit of $10.

Another strategy would be to bet half of the potential payout on the 49ers, in this example $600, which would have a payout of $600 at +110. If the 49ers won, the bettor would win $560, where they would win $600 if the Chiefs won.

When hedging a bet, you need to decide on the amount of your hedge bet that guarantees you a profit regardless of which team wins the series.

Potential Futures Bets Downsides

There are potential downsides of futures bets and they aren’t for everyone. Futures bets are a long-term wager that lasts for an entire event or season. A plus is that it helps a bankroll last longer than a wager on a single game does. However, futures bets sometimes have a larger house edge making it not the best bet for everyone.

Not all futures bets have the same house edge, and some could have a house edge as high as 20% or 25% for a championship or tournament. Like any time you place a wager, it is important to do a little research and math to weigh if it is worth the risk.

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