Futures Bets - Betting on the Long Game

Written by George Webb on 10.07




Overview of futures bets


Futures bets are a unique form of sports betting that allow you to place wagers on long-term outcomes in various sports. Unlike traditional bets that focus on individual games or events, futures bets involve predicting the winners or outcomes of entire seasons or tournaments. This guide will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of futures betting and strategies to make informed decisions.


Importance of understanding long-term betting strategies


Futures bets require a different mindset and approach compared to regular sports betting. By embracing a long-term perspective, you can navigate the fluctuations of a season and potentially find value in bets with higher odds. Understanding the intricacies of futures betting can lead to profitable outcomes and an enhanced sports betting experience.

Definition and Explanation of Futures Bets

What are futures bets?

Futures bets, also known as outright bets or long-term bets, are a type of wager where you predict the outcome of an event that will be determined in the future. Unlike traditional bets that focus on single games or events, futures bets require you to make predictions about the winners or outcomes of entire seasons, tournaments, or competitions. These bets can be placed well in advance of the event, often before the season or tournament even begins.


Key features and characteristics

Extended timelines: One distinguishing feature of futures bets is their extended timeline. Unlike traditional bets that are settled quickly, futures bets require a longer-term commitment. You must wait until the conclusion of the entire season or tournament to know the outcome of your bet. This longer duration adds anticipation and excitement to the betting experience.


Higher odds: Futures bets often come with higher odds compared to single-game wagers. This is because the uncertainty of long-term outcomes makes it more challenging to accurately predict the eventual winners. Sportsbooks adjust the odds accordingly to reflect this increased risk. The higher odds associated with futures bets can provide an opportunity for potentially significant returns on your wager.


Tie-up of funds: When you place a futures bet, your funds remain tied up until the event is resolved. Unlike traditional bets that settle quickly, futures bets require patience and can restrict your betting bankroll until the outcome is determined. It is important to consider this tie-up of funds when managing your overall betting strategy.


Differences between futures bets and other types of wagers

Futures bets differ from other types of wagers in several key ways:


Timeframe: Futures bets focus on long-term outcomes, covering the duration of an entire season, tournament, or competition. In contrast, traditional bets are resolved within a single game or event. Futures bets require a longer-term commitment and patience as you follow the progress of the event over an extended period.


Payout timing: The payout for futures bets is received only after the event is concluded. This is in contrast to immediate payouts in traditional betting, where you can collect your winnings shortly after the game or event is finished. Futures bets require you to wait until the final outcome is determined before receiving any potential winnings.


Research and analysis: Futures bets often require more in-depth research and analysis compared to traditional bets. Since futures bets involve predicting the winners or outcomes of an entire season, tournament, or competition, you need to consider a broader range of factors that can influence the final results. This can include assessing team or player performance, injuries, historical data, market sentiment, and other relevant information.


Understanding the key features and characteristics of futures bets, as well as their differences from other types of wagers, is essential for effectively engaging in long-term betting strategies. By recognizing the extended timelines, higher odds, and tie-up of funds associated with futures bets, you can approach this form of wagering with the necessary patience, research, and strategic thinking.

Examples of Popular Futures Bets in Different Sports


Betting on league champions: One of the most common futures bets in football is predicting the team that will be crowned the champion of a particular league. Whether it’s the English Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, or any other domestic league, you can place a futures bet on the team you believe will emerge victorious at the end of the season. This bet requires considering factors such as team strength, past performance, squad depth, and managerial tactics.

Example: Prior to the start of the English Premier League season, you can place a futures bet on Manchester City to win the league title based on their strong squad, recent success, and skilled manager.


Top goal scorer predictions: Another exciting futures bet in football involves predicting the player who will score the most goals throughout a season. This bet requires analyzing players’ scoring records, their position on the field, playing time, and the attacking style of their respective teams.

Example: Before the start of the UEFA Champions League, you can place a futures bet on Erling Haaland of Manchester City to be the top goal scorer due to his exceptional scoring ability and impressive performances in previous seasons.


Football (NFL)

Super Bowl winners: In American football, one of the most popular futures bets is predicting the team that will win the Super Bowl. This bet can be placed well before the NFL season begins and involves analyzing teams’ rosters, coaching staff, previous season performance, and potential improvements or setbacks.

Example: Prior to the start of the NFL season, you can place a futures bet on the Kansas City Chiefs to win the Super Bowl based on their talented roster, strong offensive capabilities, and recent success.


Conference champions: Another futures bet option in American football is wagering on the teams that will emerge as champions in their respective conferences. This bet requires evaluating teams’ overall performance, divisional competition, roster depth, and coaching strategies.

Example: Before the start of the college football season, you can place a futures bet on the Ohio State Buckeyes to win the Big Ten Conference based on their historically strong program, talented roster, and experienced coaching staff.



NBA championship winners: Futures bets on the NBA championship winners are highly popular among basketball enthusiasts. You can place a wager on the team you believe will win the NBA Finals before the season begins. Analyzing teams’ rosters, superstar players, coaching strategies, and recent performances can help inform your decision.

Example: Prior to the start of the NBA season, you can place a futures bet on the Brooklyn Nets to win the NBA championship based on their star-studded roster, offensive firepower, and strong performances in the previous season.


MVP predictions: Another intriguing futures bet in basketball involves predicting the player who will be awarded the Most Valuable Player (MVP) title for the season. This bet requires assessing players’ statistics, team success, impact on the game, and media narratives surrounding their performances.

Example: Before the start of the NBA season, you can place a futures bet on Luka Dončić of the Dallas Mavericks to win the MVP based on his exceptional skills, previous achievements, and anticipated improvement in the upcoming season.



World Series winners: In Major League Baseball, futures bets on the World Series winners generate significant excitement. Placing a wager on the team you believe will win the World Series requires evaluating teams’ rosters, pitching rotations, batting lineups, and their performance in previous seasons.

Example: Prior to the start of the MLB season, you can place a futures bet on the Los Angeles Dodgers to win the World Series based on their talented roster, strong pitching staff, and recent championship success.


Division winners: Another futures betting option in baseball involves predicting the teams that will emerge as champions in their respective divisions. This bet requires analyzing teams’ head-to-head matchups, previous divisional standings, roster changes, and overall team performance.

Example: Before the start of the MLB season, you can place a futures bet on the Atlanta Braves to win the National League East division based on their strong roster, pitching depth, and successful performance in the previous season.

How to Find Value in Futures Bets

Understanding odds and probabilities


  • Assessing implied probabilities: Calculating the implied probability of the odds offered by sportsbooks to identify potential value bets.
  • Comparing odds across multiple sportsbooks: Shopping for the best odds can maximize potential profits.


Evaluating team/player performance and potential


  • Analyzing historical data: Reviewing past performances and statistical trends to gauge a team’s or player’s potential for success.
  • Considering team dynamics: Assessing factors such as roster changes, coaching strategies, and injury reports to make informed predictions.


Assessing market sentiment and trends


  • Monitoring media coverage and expert opinions: Staying up to date with news, rumors, and expert analysis can provide insights into market sentiment.
  • Tracking betting patterns: Observing the movement of betting lines and the volume of bets can indicate shifts in market sentiment.


Analyzing historical data and patterns


  • Reviewing previous season outcomes: Identifying trends and patterns from past seasons that can help inform your futures bets.
  • Understanding head-to-head matchups: Analyzing historical performance between teams or players to gauge potential outcomes.

Strategies for Successful Futures Betting

Diversify your bets

  • Spread your wagers across multiple futures bets to reduce risk and increase potential for positive returns.
  • Allocate your bankroll wisely and avoid placing all your eggs in one basket.


Set realistic expectations and manage bankroll

  • Understand that futures bets are long-term investments and may take months to settle.
  • Set a budget for your futures bets and avoid chasing losses.


Stay updated with relevant news and developments

  • Follow team/player news: Keep track of injuries, trades, and other developments that can impact future outcomes.
  • Stay informed on league and tournament dynamics, rule changes, and other factors that can influence outcomes.


Consider hedging and trading positions

  • As the season progresses, assess the potential to hedge your bets by placing additional wagers on opposing outcomes.
  • Trading positions by backing or laying bets can help secure profits or minimize potential losses.


Identify long shots with potential for high returns

  • Look for undervalued teams or players that have the potential to exceed expectations.
  • Balance risk and reward by considering long shots alongside safer bets.


Futures bets offer unique opportunities to predict long-term outcomes in various sports, with higher odds and extended timelines compared to traditional wagers. Because of this, successful futures betting requires patience, disciplined bankroll management, and continuous research to make informed decisions.

By implementing the strategies discussed in this guide and staying updated with sports news and trends, you can enhance your chances of making profitable futures bets. Remember to embrace the long game and enjoy the journey of futures betting.

Futures bets differ from traditional bets in terms of their extended timelines and focus on long-term outcomes. Traditional bets are resolved within a single game or event, while futures bets cover the duration of an entire season or tournament.

Futures bets are available for a wide range of sports, including football (soccer), American football, basketball, baseball, hockey, tennis, golf, and more. They cover various leagues, championships, and tournaments.

Yes, the odds for futures bets are typically higher compared to traditional bets. This is because futures bets involve predicting long-term outcomes, which carry more uncertainty and risk. The higher odds reflect the increased difficulty of accurately predicting the final outcome.

When placing a futures bet, consider factors such as team or player performance, historical data, injuries, coaching staff, squad depth, schedule, and market sentiment. Thorough research and analysis are crucial for making informed predictions.

Written By

George Webb


OUR Guides

view all
view all

2023 © PicksHawk. The handicapping and odds information (both sports and entertainment) found on pickshawk.com is strictly for entertainment purposes. Furthermore, the unique odds we produce in select news articles are also for amusement, and are not available to be wagered on. We are not a sportsbook and do not take any wagers. We do not endorse illegal online gambling. Please check the online gambling regulations in your jurisdiction before placing any wagers with the betting sites advertised on pickshawk.com, as they do vary. Pickshawk.com does not target any individuals under the age of 21. Pickshawk.com is not supported by or linked to any professional, college or university league, association, or team. For further guidelines please visit our responsible online gambling page. Terms & Conditions apply to all bonus offers advertised. Please visit sportsbook operators for details. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL). Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (MI/NJ/PA/WV/WY), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-522-4700 (CO), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), 1-888-532-3500 (VA), 1-800-NEXT STEP (AZ), or call/text TN REDLINE 1-800-889-9789 (TN). 21+ (18+ WY). AZ/CO/IL/IN/IA/MI/NJ/PA/TN/VA/WV/WY only. Eligibility restrictions apply. T&C's Apply. Void where prohibited.