Futures betting involves any bet made on a sporting event yet to be played.
Though a futures bet is often made before the start of the season, it is still possible to bet once the season has started. However, the benefit of betting before the season is a higher potential payout if you’re correct.
Even if a sportsbook, like Unibet Sportsbook or PointsBet, offers futures bets once the season has started, the payout decreases steadily with each game. The more you see about the potential outcome, the less you stand to win.
What is a futures bet?
A lot of futures betting involves the winner of the whole shebang. However, futures betting can also include an over/under on season win totals or whether a team will even make the playoffs/final game.
There are some downsides to futures bets and some potential things to be aware of. Futures betting often has a larger house advantage. Meaning potentially, the odds are not in your favor. It’s best to do some research and some math to decide first if a bet is worth the risk.
Another potential drawback is the lack of entertainment value. Lots of sports bettors like to make bets throughout the season. Having your money tied up in a single bet for the entire season may not be the best source of entertainment, even if your bet is favored to win. It’s a good idea to budget your gambling money so it’s not all tied up in a single bet.
Here are some examples of popular futures bets. But they can apply to most sports’ culminating event.
- Super Bowl Winner
- AFC Championship Winner
- NFC Championship Winner
- World Series Winner
- Stanley Cup Winner
- NBA Finals Winner
Let’s say you make a bet at the start of the NFL season. You place $100 on your favored team The Philadelphia Eagles. There are a few potential ways this scenario can play out.
- The Eagles don’t make the playoffs, in which case, you make nothing.
- The Eagles do make the playoffs but don’t make the Super Bowl. You still win nothing.
- The Eagles make the Super Bowl and lose. You win nothing.
- The Eagles win the Super Bowl. You win $800.
As you can see, the payout potential is high, but so are the stakes.
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How to spot a good future bet
Futures betting is a lot like investing in the stock market or buying car insurance. When you’re looking for investment opportunities or looking to switch insurance providers, you’re going to want to shop around first.
Comparing moneylines can help bettors choose the right sportsbook to place their futures’ bets with. While a lot of lines can have similar benefits, some sportsbooks list the same team under very different odds. Specifically, in regards to futures betting, lines typically vary pretty widely from sportsbook to sportsbook.
Sportsbooks set odds independently, which means Website A might list the odds on your favorite team at +250. Website B might list their odds at +150. Website C might have +350. These differences can have huge impacts on your bank account so it’s important to find the site that lists odds in your betting favor.
Let’s break that down further. For instance, let’s say you bet $1000 on your team on Website A, you stand to win $2500 if they win. Website B would net you only $1500 and Website C would bring in $3500 for a win. That’s a $2000 difference between sites!
The higher the odds are listed at, the more you can win per bet. So make sure to do your research before taking part in any futures betting.
Why should you bet on futures?
There are some great reasons to participate in futures betting. Like the stock market, you want to place a futures bet on a team when they are low on the totem pole and least likely to win. Winning a futures bet on an unlikely team will yield a higher payout. So if you’re looking to potentially win big, futures betting offers a good opportunity to try your luck.
Another important point to mention is since the potential yield is high in futures betting, you can spread your bet out. This means you can bet on multiple teams and still profit if one of your teams wins. It’s a way of hedging your bets and protecting your investments.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re reasonably sure the Baltimore Ravens (+225), New Orleans Saints (+550) or New England Patriots (+600) will win the Super Bowl. However, you’re not sure exactly which team will win so you decide to bet $100 on each team. Therefore giving you a little bit more freedom and security.
If the Ravens win, you stand to make $225 as well as getting your $100 bet back. If the Saints win, you’d win $550 and get your $100 back. If the Patriots win, well, you get the deal. So even if you lose 2 of the three bets, you still stand to win some money.
Be aware though, that these odds change with every game. The Ravens might start the season at +1500 and gradually move up or vice versa and your money and betting potential rely on those odds.
Futures betting is fun as long as you’re informed and aware of the risks. It can also stand to win you quite a bit of money if you’re right. The earlier you bet in the season, the more money you stand to make. So do your research early and take advantage of those pre-season odds.