Futures Betting on Major Sports

Disclaimer: Online sports betting is coming to Arizona. This page will be updated with live odds and bonus offers as soon as AZ sportsbooks launch. 

On the day after the Super Bowl, you may see the odds for the next season’s champion already posted. Now that sports betting is legal in Arizona, you can get your futures bets in on the Arizona Cardinals winning the next Super Bowl. This is an example of a futures bet. A futures bet can be available for sports bettors year-round or several months in advance of the event, and a significant percentage of wagers go toward outcomes that won’t be final until much later in the season. Legal sportsbooks offer vast futures betting markets with options involving a variety of sports.

This page will explain the basics of betting on futures and whether they are worth your time. We will also walk you through betting advice and tips to help you get started with betting on futures.

Sports betting futures options

As mentioned earlier, there is not a shortage of futures betting options right now. Sportsbooks have recognized how profitable futures bets are, so expect that to continue. Below is a look at some of the most popular sports for betting and the futures that might be available for each.

NFL futures

The most popular futures bet is probably the item we mentioned earlier: wagering on the Super Bowl. With how football-crazy the United States is and how many fans there are of the NFL, discussing who will win the next Super Bowl is a hotly debated topic.

Another popular bet for NFL fans is wagering on season win totals. Oddsmakers set a projected number of wins for each team, and you can wager whether the actual win total will be higher or lower than the sportsbook’s number.

Other NFL futures bets include odds on division winners, conference champions, and whether each team will advance to the playoffs. You’ll also find individual futures bets like who will win the league’s MVP award.

NBA futures

The NBA is one of the most star-driven leagues in sports. It has done a great job of branding players as superstars to sell its game to fans. For this reason, the futures bets for individual awards in the NBA can be quite popular. The NBA betting market for the league MVP is an incredibly popular wager because many NBA fans have opinions on the game’s biggest stars.

Fans also look the next great player, so the Rookie of the Year odds see quite a bit of interest. Sportsbooks will also feature the traditional NBA team futures odds like division, conference, and NBA Finals champions.

MLB futures

Major League Baseball bettors have tons of futures options. The sport relies on statistics over an incredibly large sample size like no other sport, so there are ample MLB betting opportunities. Individual wagers could be on the player to hit the most home runs and MLB MVPs and Cy Young awards for the National League and American League. Team futures include the basic options like World Series winners, win totals, division, and league winners.

Golf futures

Interest in the PGA Tour can peak during the four majors every season: the Masters, PGA Championship, US Open, and British Open. Futures odds are typically going to be available for each of these tournaments all year round for the avid golf bettors. Odds will fluctuate throughout the year as oddsmakers adjust to the betting public.

College football futures

College football offers quite a few futures, including each conference winner as well as win totals for some of the major programs in the sport. One of the most prestigious individual awards in all of sports is the Heisman Trophy, which goes to college football’s most outstanding player each season. Heisman odds are a popular topic most of the year. Oddsmakers may also put out numbers on which teams have the best chance to reach the College Football Playoff or win the national championship.

College basketball futures

College basketball probably does not see the volume of futures bets that others might, but bettors can still find plenty of wagering options to get their futures betting fix. Futures betting odds may include regular-season conference champions or conference tournament champs. A few other examples are the Naismith Trophy, which goes to the country’s most outstanding player. Some of the most popular college basketball futures bets are for teams to make the Final Four and win a national championship.

Most popular futures bets

The Super Bowl is going to be the most popular futures bet to place among each of the potential options listed above. The NFL takes up so much of the sports discussion even during the offseason. It seems like fans simply cannot get enough of it, so Super Bowl futures are going to see heavy action.

NFL win totals generally do pretty well in terms of interest. Fans of every NFL team will try to predict the team’s record before the season starts, and oddsmakers provide a benchmark for where expectations should be for all 32 teams.

As one of the most well-known individual awards in sports, the Heisman Trophy odds are fun to track throughout the offseason and as the season plays out. The sportsbook betting odds can shift significantly from week to week based on what is happening on the gridiron.

The Masters can also see quite a bit of interest on the futures betting market. It draws a lot of betting focus every April when the weather starts to heat up and the golf’s best compete in the sport’s most popular tourney.

With the popularity of the NCAA tournament every season, there is a sizable market on the national championship winner for March Madness. The title winner odds are available prior to the season, during the season, and adjusted once the NCAA bracket comes out on Selection Sunday.

Why do the odds change on a futures bet?

The futures betting market can change by the day for a variety of reasons. The opening odds for the Super Bowl that came out the day after the previous Super Bowl may be drastically different at the start of the season. Despite no games taking place in that span, oftentimes there are a ton of moves that impact the futures market.

Some reasons for line movement include offseason roster movement through trades, cuts and draft picks. Additionally, injuries do happen before and during the season, so if the Arizona Cardinals lost a key player to an injury in the preseason, oddsmakers would adjust and give them worse odds to win a Super Bowl. As for in-season odds, they may shift by the week depending on wins and losses, in-season acquisitions or additional injuries.

Lines can move for several other reasons as well, including a lopsided number of bets coming in on one team. When wagers come in on a particular team at a high rate, oddsmakers will need to adjust the numbers. Minimizing risk is a crucial part of their role in making sure the sportsbook is profiting.

How to place your first futures bet

If you think you’re ready to start betting, let’s walk through it. If you are using a sportsbook app like DraftKings AZ, it should be fairly easy. You can quickly navigate to the futures section of the sport you are looking for. Peruse the possibilities to find something you want to bet on. Say you decide to bet that the Arizona Cardinals are going to win next year’s Super Bowl. They’re a bit of a long shot, but if they go on a run and win it all, the payout would be significant.

The Kansas City Chiefs are the Super Bowl favorites at +500, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers right behind them at +650. The Buffalo Bills and Los Angeles Rams round out the top few spots as they are both tied with +1,300 odds. As you go down the list, the Cardinals are tied for the 17th-best odds to win the Super Bowl with +4,000. The bigger the number, the bigger the long shot they are and the bigger the payout would be if they can find a way to do it.

With +4,000 odds, that means a $10 wager would net a $400 profit if the Cardinals found a way to win the Super Bowl. High potential payouts like this are what intrigues futures bettors, though they are incredibly difficult to win on a consistent basis.

Tips and strategies for betting futures

  • Choose wagers with fewer outcomes: It can be fun betting on the popular futures options like the Super Bowl or the winner of the Masters, but there are so many potential outcomes that may occur. This makes it more difficult to win. Instead of those items, it might make more sense betting on some of the simple “yes” or “no” wagers, like whether a particular team will advance to the postseason. There are just two options, so you have a better shot at a winning wager. Another place where you can find value is through total wins. Betting over or under a projected win total can be a good option.
  • Shop for the best lines: Regardless of the bet, it can be a good idea to open accounts at multiple sportsbooks to ensure you are giving yourself the best possible numbers. Especially with futures odds, oddsmakers factor in so much information when setting lines that the numbers could differ from sportsbook to sportsbook. Once you’ve identified the bet you’d like to place, compare the odds with the other sportsbooks you have registered on and pick the best numbers. We’ve got odds feeds all over PlayAZ for you to easily peruse all the lines in one place.
  • Hedge your bets: One of the most important aspects of futures betting is the strategy of hedging your bets. For example, if we used the above example with the Arizona Cardinals getting +4,000 odds to win the Super Bowl, there would be a great opportunity to hedge if they made a run and actually qualified for the big game. Let’s say you wagered $100 on the Cardinals. That would be a $4,000 payout if they win the Super Bowl. Without hedging, however, you’d gain nothing if they lose. To hedge, you would actually bet on the opponent to win the Super Bowl. You could decide to cut it down the middle and wager $2,000 on the opponent, and no matter what happens in the game, you would guarantee yourself roughly $2,000 in profit by hedging your bet.

Drawbacks to futures betting

As we’ve mentioned a few times, futures bets that involve many outcomes can be challenging, which is a downside. Another con is if you throw a decent percentage of your bankroll at futures bets, your money can be tied up for a whole season until that outcome is finalized, leaving you with less money to play with for other wagers throughout the season. Regardless, Arizona sports betting is meant to be fun, so if you think betting on your favorite team to reach the highest level of its sport is fun, futures may be for you.