A futures bet, also known as an ante-post or outright bet, adds an exciting dimension to wagering on your favorite sports. It is particularly suited for patient bettors who have a clear perspective of a team or player's performance over an entire season. Our comprehensive futures betting guide will equip you with all there is to know about this strategic bet type.

Keeping up with team/player performance game-by-game is not easy, which is why many punters prefer wagering on sports betting futures since they are in it for the long haul. Even better, this bet type offers a plethora of options, ranging from individual recipients of coveted trophies — like Rookie of the Year and MVP awards — to which team will emerge as league champions.

Often available way before or immediately after the regular season starts, betting on futures forces punters to think of distant outcomes. In the 2024 UEFA EURO Championship, for example, the DraftKings sportsbook lists England and Spain as the favorites to win the title at +400 odds each. France, once at the top of the list, has higher odds of +450, implying their slightly reduced chances of emerging victorious.

DraftKings desktop screenshot
(Source: DraftKings)

That said, if you wager on any team at the odds listed above, you won’t have to worry about changes in odds value. After all, the odds you lock in when betting on futures will be the payout odds at the end of the season/tournament if your bet is successful. However, unlike most bet types that pay out on the same day, you’ll have to wait until the final play of Euro 2024, scheduled for July 14, 2024, to find out if your futures bet is successful.

Worth mentioning is that futures sports betting markets often have plus odds. That’s because they change regularly since most bookies try to reflect the most current and accurate probabilities despite the many variables within a season. These include free agent acquisitions and trades at the start of the regular season, subsequent wins and losses, player injuries, as well as the popularity of specific bets as the season progresses.

Apart from knowing what betting on futures is, understanding how to read futures odds is also of essence.

Futures betting odds are usually in American format at the best US sportsbooks. As such, they comprise both positive odds — where your potential payout will be more than your initial wager, as well as negative odds, whose payout is less than your initial stake.

Consider the example provided above from DraftKings Euro 2024 odds. Say you wager on Spain, whose futures odds are +400 to win the UEFA Euro 2024 finals. That means a $100 wager will rake in a $400 profit and a total payout of $500, if correct. Likewise, a +4000 long-shot bet on Turkey will bring $4,000 in profits from a successful $100 wager.

On the rare occasion that you find and wager on negative futures odds, like -170, it simply implies a $170 wager will rake in a net profit of $58.82 if successful. Of course, your initial wager amount will be paid out alongside the win amount, giving you a total return of $228.82.

As mentioned earlier, futures bets only pay out once the outcome is decided and graded by the bookie, which could be days or weeks away. However, to be successful when betting futures, you must factor in implied probability.

An effective conversion system that reveals the estimated chance of success for a specific event, implied probability entails converting odds into a percentage through an online calculator or manually using the relevant formulas.

While DraftKings is not the only US sportsbook offering Euro 2024 odds, its highly competitive futures odds across a variety of team and player markets make it a revered option for many US punters.

The section below looks at the implied probability and potential payout from its top five EURO 2024 team futures odds for its winner market, available at the time of writing this futures betting guide:

Bet AmountOddsImplied ProbabilityPotential Payout (Profit)
$10+40020%$40
$10+45018.18%$45
$10+70012.50%$70
$10+85010.53%$60
$10+14006.67%$140

Placing a futures bet is similar to wagering on other bet types that pay out on the same or next day. Simply:

  1. Select and register/sign in to a legally available sportsbook in your state.

  2. Go to your sport of choice and scroll to find a suitable team/player futures market.

  3. Make your selections in the relevant futures markets.

  4. Enter the bet amount.

  5. View your bet slip and ensure your bets and odds are accurate.

  6. Submit your bet slip, then sit back and wait for the outcome.

  7. Once the event concludes and the bookmaker grades the bet, you’ll find out whether you’ve won or lost the wager.

While placing a futures bet is a breeze, the hard part lies in choosing one of the many fantastic US bookmakers to bet on. Luckily, all legal US sportsbooks provide a wealth of futures markets with varying odds and lines. That’s why we cannot emphasize enough the importance of shopping around to find the best futures sports betting odds.

An excellent example of a popular US bookmaker for futures betting is FanDuel.

Fanduel desktop screenshot
(Source: FanDuel)

More popular for its Super Bowl outright betting market, FanDuel also boasts extensive coverage of NFL outright markets, complete with competitive odds. That includes markets like NFL week one games, season leaders, conference and division winners, as well as the NFL Draft 2025.

Even better, the sportsbook offers a chance to bet on the outright winner of any league provided on the book — a range that boils down all the way to niche leagues like Premier League Lacrosse and the PDC World Darts Championship. Plus, it offers an alluring set of futures odds on several parlays and prop markets on a truly global selection of sports.

While practically all American sports have futures betting markets of some sort, a few stand out as the most popular. Let's take a look at some below:

MLB

You can place futures bets on practically any sport, and America’s favorite pastime is no exception. With the 2024 World Series just a few months away, you can find lucrative baseball betting futures odds on which team will win on several reputable US sportsbooks. Other types of MLB futures betting markets include:

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    First team to 90 losses

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    Team with the best regular season

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    Most player home runs

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    Winner of the AL & NL MVP

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    Rookie of the year

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    Winner of the AL & NL Cy Young Award

NFL

NFL futures betting is rife, particularly during the Super Bowl. Think the Kansas City Chiefs will win the third straight Super Bowl title in 2025? Head to a legal US sportsbook and place a futures bet on the Chiefs lifting the Vince Lombardi trophy a fifth time.

Other types of NFL futures bets include:

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    Conference/ division winners

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    Team win totals

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    NFL Playoff favorites

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    Team to win AFC Championship

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    Winner of the NFC Championship

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    Player futures like league MVP and defensive/offensive rookie of the year

NBA

Usually, NBA betting futures odds are aplenty around the NBA Championship winner market. Even before the regular season starts, you’ll find NBA betting futures odds on:

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    Eastern/western conference winners

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    Sixth man

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    MVP

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    Rookie of the year

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    Team win totals

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    Winner of the NBA Playoffs

NHL

Want to explore the NHL futures betting markets and predict the Stanley Cup or the Hart Memorial Trophy winners? Tons of licensed US bookmakers offer a wealth of NHL betting futures markets, such as:

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    Winner of the NHL Eastern Conference

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    Winner of the NHL Western Conference

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    Coach of the year

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    League rookie of the year

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    Player futures like most saves, most goals, and most assists

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    Favorite to win NHL Playoffs

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    Winner of the Calder Memorial Trophy

College Football

With the Football Bowl Subdivision set to start on August 24, 2024, US sportsbooks have already listed plenty of college football futures betting opportunities. So, whether you’re rooting for the Georgia Bulldogs or cheering on alma maters, head to your favorite legal US bookie and wager on either of the following college football futures sports betting markets:

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    Favorite to win the 2024 – 2025 College Football Playoff Championship

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    Favorite to win the National Championship

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    Winner of the Heisman Memorial Trophy

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    Coach of the year

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    Offensive/defensive player of the year

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    Freshman of the year

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    Team win totals

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    Winners of conference championships

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    Winners of conference division championships

College Basketball

The 2024 college basketball season starts in early November, and programs are expected to release their schedules in the next few weeks. But that doesn’t mean you cannot place a college basketball futures bet. In fact, several reputable sportsbooks have already released betting futures on favorites to win the men’s and women’s basketball championships 2025.

More college basketball futures betting markets include:

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    Favorite to win the NCAA Tournament Title

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    Favorite to win the NCAA Final Four

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    Winner of various Naismith Awards

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    Over/under win totals

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    Winner of the John R. Wooden Award (best player)

Pros:
  • Long-term bet that prolongs your bankroll
  • Usually comes in plus-money odds
  • Often has a cash-out option
  • Ideal for hedging
  • Available before and throughout the season
  • Different bookies offer varying futures odds
Cons:
  • Often has a larger house edge compared to other bet types
  • Settles at the end of the season/ tournament
  • Limited market variety compared to live and pre-match betting markets
  • Immense fluctuations in futures odds values

Before placing that season-long futures bet, there are plenty of things you should take into account. Let's look at some tried-and-tested strategies to help you make the most out of your futures betting experience:

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    Buying low: This means placing a futures wager when a powerhouse team or player is off to an ugly start. However, remember that given that worst-to-first scenarios are rare in sports betting, it's crucial to consider the latest news, current team form, possible variables, as well as upcoming game fixtures, among other factors.  

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    Odds shopping: Rarely are betting futures odds identical across all legal US sportsbooks. So, especially when placing a single futures wager on the NFL, NBA, or the F1 betting futures markets, always shop around for the best odds to ascertain you’re wagering on the best line possible at that time.

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    Check payout: Before locking in your futures wager, it’s important to determine your potential payout. Available at the bottom of your bet slip after making your futures bet selections, knowing your payout comes in handy when considering whether to cash out or if you opt to hedge your bet.

Arguably the perfect vehicle for hedging bets, futures betting provides punters adequate time to wager on different outcomes other than the original futures bet. But how does it work?

Well, if you have an active futures wager but soon after find that the odds movement for that bet is drastic, you can consider betting against yourself. That way, you'll be guaranteed a profit or, at the very least, minimal losses regardless of the outcome of your original futures bet.

Say you bet on France to win the UEFA EURO 2024 Championship title. If you locked in your bet at the beginning of the season, you would have enjoyed odds as high as +700, as opposed to the +450 odds (DraftKings) they have at the time of writing this guide. That means a $100 wager at the time would give you $700 in profits at the end of the season should France win the title.

But now, most US sportsbooks including DraftKings, have listed England and Spain as the favorites to win the Euro 2024 Championship at +400 odds. If you still believe that France will champion the EURO 2024 title, you could sureproof your futures bet against loss by placing a $100 bet on England. That way, even if England wins, you'll get $300 in profit ($400 profit -$100 wager on France).

Alternatively, you can bet half the payout amount from the original futures wager on France ($350) on England, which could pay out $1,400. That way, if France wins, you'll get a profit of $350 ($700 in profits -$350 wager on England). But if England wins, you'll receive a net return of $1,300 ($1,400 in profits – $100 wager on France), creating a win-win scenario.

Futures betting is all about your risk appetite, patience, understanding, and making smart choices. After all, the farther an event is, the more uncertain its outcome. However, if you can handle risk and believe you have found a value futures bet, this is an ideal market for you. Apart from potentially high payouts, futures wagers also provide the perfect opportunities to hedge bets. That way, you can minimize loss and secure a profit whichever way the original bet goes.

As always, we advise you to bet responsibly. We recommend leveraging all our guides to make the most out of your US sports betting adventure.

Betting futures refers to placing a wager whose outcome and payout will be determined at the end of the season/tournament, unlike traditional bet types where outcomes are determined on the same day you place the wager.

Spread betting, on the other hand, involves evening out the playing field using a handicap. Here, the bookie sets a spread, a margin of victory, where you wager on whether the favorite will go above the spread or the underdog will score fewer points than the spread.

Absolutely. Whether you prefer NFL, NBA, NHL, college football, college basketball, or even NASCAR betting futures, you’ll find competitive futures odds on FanDuel and other licensed US sportsbooks.

For sports betting futures payouts, you must wait until the event concludes and the bookmaker grades the bet. Usually, within 24 hours after the event concludes, the bookmaker will pay out the bet if it is successful.

All legal US sportsbooks offer NBA futures betting markets. So, whether you want to wager on team futures — like win totals, favorite to win the NBA championship, or conference and division winners — or player futures, such as MVP, Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year, or defensive/offensive player of the year, you'll find all these options at the best US sportsbooks.

Placing a futures bet in person is as easy as doing so online. Simply mark the rotation number quoted against the team/player you want to place a futures bet on. Once you visit the betting shop, inform the teller of the rotation number and the amount you wish to wager. That's it!

WRITTEN BY David Camilleri View all posts by David Camilleri

David is a sports fanatic with a particular interest in stats and figures. When not writing about sports, you would probably find him playing or watching football, researching stats or sharing the latest news with anyone willing to listen.

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