Futures bets are one of the types of bets available to New Yorkers at one of the state’s retail sportsbooks or across the border in New Jersey. What exactly is a futures bet? The answer is in the name: a bet on an event in the distant future, usually high-profile games, championships or major awards.
For example, if you wanted to bet on who wins the NBA MVP award for the upcoming season, that would be a futures bet. For this reason, futures bets are often popular near the beginning of seasons, as bettors rush to predict how the year will unfold. Because of the difficulty of predicting something so far in the future, and the high number of possible outcomes, futures bets often have high payouts.
This can lead to some large paydays if you do manage to predict the outcome correctly, especially if it was an unlikely one. As time progresses and the landscape of the season changes, whether it be because of injuries or trades or something else, the odds for futures bets will change to match the new reality.
Each sport has multiple options for futures bets. Here are some of the most popular:
The NFL is one of the most popular gambling markets in the United States, with a variety of futures markets to bet on. The Super Bowl champion is the most common futures bet in the NFL market, but other significant ones include division winners, over/under win totals, individual player awards and over/under individual player statistics.
The NBA offers a range of future bets, from who will win every individual award to league, conference and division champions. Also, there are many over/under-style futures bets on team wins and player season stat averages.
Baseball offers many of the same futures bets mentioned above. Over/under on team wins is a common one, as well as the World Series winner and the different award races. Predicting the division champions is another common future bet.
Futures bets are common in golf, as every week there is a new PGA Tour event to bet on. Predicting the winner of these tournaments is the most common golf futures bet. For major tournaments, bets are often available months in advance in an attempt to secure the best odds. The Ryder Cup is another popular event for golf futures.
Think you can predict who will win the College Football Playoff? Or even who will make it? Then college football futures bets are a good fit for you. The Heisman Trophy is another popular futures market for those looking to predict who will bring it home.
March Madness is one of the trickiest tournaments to win and often offers high odds because of that fact. It’s also one of the most gambled-on events in the world, and futures bets play a large part. The many conferences in college basketball also can offer futures markets.
Just like how normal odds will fluctuate leading up to an event, futures odds do the same. Bookmakers set the original lines, and they attempt to reduce their liability. The sportsbooks want to make sure that no outcome would be devastating to their business.
This means the amount of money wagered on a specific outcome will likely determine how much that line fluctuates. Options that receive a large amount of money on them will see their odds worsen, scaring away more bets.
This isn’t the only factor when bookmakers make their odds as the probability of an outcome occurring is the main one. More likely outcomes will have lower possible returns, like other bets. As the season runs its course and injuries and trades happen, futures odds will move to reflect these changes.
Placing a futures bet works much the same as placing any other type of bet. Approach the window and make the selection with the teller at the sportsbook. Odds work the same as every other bet. As an example, let’s say you bet $100 on the Kansas City Chiefs to win the Super Bowl at the beginning of the season at +500 odds.
You’ll be handed a ticket that will show your bet. Your ticket will display a few pieces of information: the sportsbook where you placed the wager, the market (Super Bowl champion), the odds (+500) and your selection (Kansas City Chiefs).
The ticket should also show the cost ($100), the potential winnings and returns ($500 and $600) and the ticket ID number. These are all important pieces of information that your ticket displays in a convenient fashion.
As the season progresses, you follow the Chiefs with extra attention, cheering for their successes and groaning at their losses. The long-term time range of futures bets can mean extra rooting interest for the entire season.
If the Chiefs win the Super Bowl, your bet wins and you’re returned $500 on top of your original $100 bet. This means a total of $600 coming back to you.
Here are a few tips to help you when placing futures wagers.
Different oddsmakers have different lines, and those discrepancies are most pronounced with futures bets. You may be able to find differences of hundreds of points by shopping around, and this can alter your returns in major ways. The time it takes to compare different oddsmakers is worth it when it comes to changes in how much money you could make.
Finding the one winner out of an entire league of teams can be tough. If you pick a few teams, you help your chances immensely. The odds on futures bets are usually good enough that you can pick a few teams and still make a profit if one wins. Just make sure that you have done the math and that you’re not at risk of losing money with a victory.
Futures bets are a huge money-maker for many oddsmakers, and one way they do that is by offering weak odds on popular options. Certain teams are known as fan favorites. Think your New York Yankees or Dallas Cowboys, and these teams often have bad odds.
Sportsbooks know that even if they price those options with weaker odds, they will still get plenty of money bet on them. For this reason, you should be careful when betting a team or player that fits this description.
Low-probability futures can have huge odds and the potential returns can cause bettors to get sucked in. Make sure that you’re still choosing a selection that you believe in, not just a long shot that will return a ton of money. Remember that the odds are high for a reason.
Futures bets aren’t all sunshine and rainbows. Here are some potential downsides to keep in mind.
Futures bets often mean that your money is tied up for extended periods of time. Not having that money available for other bets or anything else is one of the large drawbacks of futures bets.
Sports are unpredictable; it’s what makes them exciting. Unfortunately, especially over a long period of time, this means that many different outcomes can occur. An injury to a star player can completely alter a team’s trajectory and torpedo your bet. A midseason trade can move a player around divisions, changing the landscape significantly.
The largest drawback of futures bets is the difficulty they present. Sports are not scripted and it’s a great thing, but tough for futures bettors.
Futures bets offer some of the most tantalizing returns out of all gambling options, but they also have some significant downsides. Test your luck and take a shot at predicting some of the major markets, but beware of the common pitfalls.
For those looking for more predictable, beatable gambling markets, you should look at other options. But for those who want to swing for the fences and maybe just hit it big, futures offer some of the best potential returns.
As sports gambling continues to spread across New York, futures bets will continue to grow in popularity. They spread the fun over a longer time frame and are easy for novice bettors to understand.