Betting on Futures Explained – What Is It and How To Bet

Futures bets are some of the most lucrative bets that you can place in any sportsbook. However, they can also be among the toughest and riskiest bets that you can place. After all, it can take a huge amount of planning to get them right, and, even then, you may be at the whim of factors that never have been predicted.

Think of this page as a complete beginner's guide to betting on futures. We walk you through everything that you really need to know.

What Is a Future Bet?

betting on futures explained

A futures bet isn't really something all that complicated, and chances are that you will have encountered futures betting before, even if you didn't realize that you were betting on futures.

When you are betting on the long-term outcome of an event e.g. the winner of a league or a tournament, then this is a futures bet.

For example, if you placed a bet on who will win the Superbowl without actually knowing who will be playing in the Superbowl, this betting on futures. Of course, if you know who is going to play in the Superbowl, it becomes a simple moneyline bet, which is a whole lot simpler.

Basically, you can think of anything that will require multiple games to determine the outcome as a futures bet. Pretty simple stuff, right?

Why Is Betting in Futures So Lucrative?

Futures betting is lucrative because it is inherently unpredictable.

While there are some teams/players that have a higher chance of being the winning line for a futures bet, the chances are still quite slim, even for the best teams and players. For example, if you looked at the English Premier League right now, there are 4-6 teams that could potentially win it in any given year and even outside of that, other teams have won.

Futures betting is lucrative because you are attempting to predict what is going to happen over multiple games. This is tricky. Predicting the outcome of one game is simple. You can look at past form and get it right a good chunk of the time. However, when you are betting on futures, you don't know what is going to happen. You don't know if a team is going to have their season derailed by an injury. You don't know if a star player is going to come into a bad run of form, etc.

Because of the inherent unpredictability of futures betting, the odds are always going to be quite long for most outcomes, at least early on in a season. As something becomes more likely to happen, the odds will shorten. However, as long as there is a chance that something will happen, the odds will be much longer than betting on a single game's outcome.

Of course, long betting odds are just going to translate to more potential cash in your pocket, which everybody likes.

How Do You Plan Futures Betting?

And this is where things can become complicated. Planning futures betting is notoriously difficult. This is because it is unpredictable.

You can look to past performances of teams and players to get a rough idea of what may happen, but performances and form can drop off. This means that while a team or player may be playing well at the start of a tournament or season, there is always the chance that the form can dip.

In fact, we have seen countless situations where a team looked a dead-cert to win a tournament only to fall at the final hurdle.

In our opinion, if you are going to start to get involved in the futures betting market (which is always lucrative), then you should try and bet about 25%-50% into the season or tournament.

Sure, the odds are going to be a lot shorter than they would have been at the start of the season, which means that you will be making a lot less cash on a successful bet, but there will be more data to analyze, which means that your bets are likely going to carry a whole lot less risk. 

As with all bets that you can possibly make in the world of sports betting, you should never, ever bet from the heart when it comes to futures betting.

It is never going to pan out well. Any bet that you do place needs to be based upon careful analysis of the situation. This means that you need to be surrounding yourself with news, stats, etc.

We suggest that you try to avoid betting on any markets where your favorite team is involved. Things become a lot more emotional when you do that.

How Do You Place a Futures Bet?

This part is, thankfully, rather simple. Placing a futures bet involves nothing more than a few steps. Obviously, the process will vary from person to person, but it is likely to follow this outline:

Find a Quality Sportsbook

The first step is to always find a quality sportsbook to gamble at. You will find a fair number of suggestions on this site. You will want to ensure that the sportsbook meets the following criteria:

You may also want to consider the withdrawal/deposit options, as well as customer support. 

Consider The Sport To Bet On

Only bet on sports that you know or understand. Not only is it more exciting, but you will have a whole lot more knowledge about what the likely outcome is going to be.

Remember, you will need to do a ton of research here. Look at the stats. Form. Betting odds, etc.

Place Your Bet or Bets 

Once you have chosen a market that you want to get involved in, no doubt with a load of research backing you up, it is time to place your bet or bets.

Sadly, bet-hedging is going to be tricky with futures bets, mostly due to the number of betting lines available. However, there are some people who will place a riskier bet that could deliver a good chunk of cash back, but also something a touch safer just in case that doesn't pan out. Although, do bear in mind that you may lose in both cases!

Remember, you should compare the betting odds across multiple websites to ensure that you always have the best odds to play at.

Pros of Futures Betting

Cons of Futures Betting 


As you can see, there is a lot that you need to know about betting on futures, but nothing too complicated. It is just a standard bet, after all. If you find a quality sportsbook to bet on (don't forget to check out our list), then you will be well on your way to placing some bets that could deliver some huge returns. Just make sure that you do your research into any bet that you place. You want a good chance of winning, after all.

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