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The Bettor’s Guide to Future Bets

This comprehensive guide to futures betting will help you learn the ins and outs of placing futures bets right here at 888sport NJ.

What are Future Bets?

Futures bets are actually proposition bets, and they’re usually found under the ‘Prop Bets’ section at an online sportsbook.

As its name suggests, futures bets are placed on events that take place in the future. Since all sports bets have a future timeline, including live in-play betting, it's important to distinguish futures bets from standard sports bets

With futures betting, the bettor is projecting well into the season, with divisional championships, leagues, or specific milestones that may be achieved by players or teams later in the season.

For example, a futures bet may be placed on the player who scores the most homers in the MLB season, the most TDs or interceptions in the NFL season, or the most slam dunks in NBA season.

Futures betting is wildly popular across the United States. With so many sports leagues and tournaments taking place year-round, futures betting ranks highly.

With futures betting, you can place wagers on the Super Bowl, the NCAA Football Championships, NASCAR, F1, the Ryder Cup, the Stanley Cup, The Masters, or even the US Open. Futures betting covers all sports leagues and tournaments.

All that's required to get started is a tournament and the placement of a future bet. It is worth pointing out that futures bets are long-term propositions. You won't know the results of the bet for quite some time, given that a tournament needs to play out before the winning bets pay out.

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Future Odds Betting How Does It Work?

We know that futures odds are betting odds for a future event, over the long-term, several months ahead. These odds are different to the traditional sports betting odds you get on games taking place in the near future.

Future odds betting provides plenty of enticement to sports bettors, particularly with sports like NFL, NBA, NHL, MLS, and even the PGA Championships.

Future odds betting is available on practically any sport you can think of. Think of futures betting as the big picture, whereas standard bets focus on individual matches, or contests.

Let's consider MLB futures bets for the American League East:

  • Baltimore Orioles -200
  • Boston Red Sox +300
  • New York Yankees +375
  • Toronto Blue Jays +800
  • Tampa Bay Rays +1200

Futures bets on these MLB teams to win their division are easily placed. The odds are presented alongside each team. A $100 bet on the Tampa Bay Rays pays $1200 if they win their division, while a $200 bet on the Baltimore Orioles pays just $100 if they win the American League East division.

It is possible to place futures bets on multiple selections including league pennant, or even the World Series. There are plenty of baseball futures bets you can place, ranging from obscure to extremely detailed bets. You can place bets on individual performances, or team performances.

Now let's consider an NFL (AFC East) futures bet by division:

  • New England Patriots -290
  • Buffalo Bills +275
  • New York Jets +320
  • Miami Dolphins +800

A future bet on the Miami Dolphins to win their division would pay $800 for every $100 bet on the Miami Dolphins. By contrast, a bet on the New England Patriots to win the AFC East Division would cost $290 to win $100.

There are many other types of football futures bets you can place, including the Super Bowl Championship, the MVP, which quarterback will throw the most yards, which team will score the most interceptions, or who the rushing champion will be.

Futures Odds to Win the Super Bowl Championship

  • Kansas City Chiefs 8/1
  • Baltimore Ravens 9/1
  • San Francisco 49ers 9/1
  • Dallas Cowboys 12/1>

The Super Bowl Championship is a classic example of future odds betting. The question is: who is going to win the Super Bowl?

This is one of the most heavily bet sports tournaments in the US, and for good reason. Before you place a future bet on a potential Super Bowl winner, it's good to look at NFL futures for some guidance.

Believe it or not, you often get the best odds on futures bets, even on potential champions when you place the bets far in advance. These proposition bets can pay handsomely if they come in.

You can usually place futures bets on the next Super Bowl even before the current season has ended in late January. Oddsmakers use the current performance of NFL teams to prepare the futures odds for the upcoming season.

Futures boards at bookmakers post all the betting odds you need for the NBA, NFL NHL, MLB, MLS, and other championship sporting events. Once you understand NFL odds, NBA odds, NHL lines, and sports betting odds, you can confidently place a future bet on your favorite team or athlete.

As mentioned earlier, you can score big wins on futures bets if you call it right early on.

Consider the case of a complete underdog in the UK Premier League, Leicester City. They were outsiders at 5,000:1 odds. Sports bettors who placed an early $100 futures bet on Leicester City to win the championship were rewarded with $500,000 in takings, a phenomenal payday for calling it right.

Closer to home, a lucky bettor from Las Vegas scored a huge payday with a bet on Tiger Woods to win the Masters at odds of 14:1, in an impressive futures bet. The bettor scooped up $1.19 million off an $85,000 bet.

It's worth pointing out that futures bets have pros and cons. That's why you should always do your homework, understand the risks, as well as the potential payouts of these betting options.

With futures betting, the results will only be known several months into the future. If you looking for a quick payday, futures betting is not for you.

A bet on a sports match taking place several weeks into the future is not a future bet. That's simply a bet on an upcoming fixture. Most of the time, futures bets are placed before the new season has even begun.

In order to win the championship, or reach a certain milestone, teams and players must compete in dozens of matches. These are a long-term proposition bets, and that's why they are rightly known by their eponymous title, futures bets.


How does NFL Futures Betting Work?

NFL futures bets are available to sports bettors year-round. These bets can be placed at any time, including during the off-season. If you are looking to bet on the next Super Bowl winner, NFL futures betting may be for you.

Put simply, an NFL futures bet is a single bet on an NFL event. For example, you can bet on each of the 6 NFL divisions, or the winner of each of the 2 NFL conferences.

The NFL odds board is a great place to start since it provides details of NFL lines for you to use in your futures betting. Each NFL team is given odds to win the Super Bowl. These are expressed in American odds a.k.a. moneyline odds.

Using our examples from earlier, we can infer the following:

  • New England Patriots -290
  • Buffalo Bills +275
  • New York Jets +320
  • Miami Dolphins +800

The New England Patriots are listed at -290. This means that they are heavy favorites to win the Super Bowl. You would have to bet $290 to win $100 with these NFL odds, or any multiple thereof. But if the New England Patriots were listed at +250, a $100 bet would pay $250, or any multiple thereof.

Oddsmakers routinely change the odds on futures bets to reflect changes in the betting landscape, and team performance.

For example, if too many people are betting on the Patriots at +250, the bookmaker may drop the odds to +220, or lower.

The better the team performs, the shorter the odds (worse the payout), and the worse the team performs, the longer the odds (better the payout). That's precisely how NFL futures betting works.

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The Road to The Super Bowl: Tips for NFL Futures Bettors

In the NFL arena, sports fans have lots of actions to follow. These include various conferences and championships. You can bet on the NFC North, the NFC South, the NFC East, and the NFC West.

There are also AFC conferences to bet on. These include the AFC North, the AFC South, the AFC East, and the AFC West. Once the conferences are done, there are championships for both the NFC and the AFC in the NFL.

Getting to the Super Bowl is no mean feat. Teams must survive 16 grueling games during the regular season, and it usually takes 10+ wins to make it to the play-offs. Those 10 wins may be insufficient to carry a team through the play-offs. Divisional winners are automatically entered into the play-offs, and the best non-division winners also get to enter as wildcard teams.

The NFL play-offs include 4 rounds:

  • The Wildcard Round
  • The Divisional Play-Off Round
  • The Conference Championship Round
  • The Super Bowl

With that information in mind, we can create some NFL futures odds to illustrate what you can expect:

  • New England Patriots to Win AFC East – 4:1
  • New England Patriots to Win AFC Championship – 8:1
  • New England Patriots to Win the Super Bowl - 22:1

These futures bets indicate that the potential payoffs are much better the further out you go. For the Patriots to win the AFC, you get odds of 4:1 on your bet. For them to win the AFC championship, the current odds are 8:1 on your bet. If the Patriots go on to win the Super Bowl, and you place a futures bet early on, you can win 22:1 your bet.

Now, let's consider a table of futures bets with the New England Patriots:

Futures Bet Odds of Bet Size Profit
Patriots to Win AFC East 4:1 $100 $400
Patriots to Win AFC Championship 8:1 $100 $800
Patriots to Win Super Bowl 22:1 $100 $2,200

It's pretty easy to see why so many people love NFL futures bets. As you project further out, the odds get so much better.

Helpful Tip: If you consider other sporting leagues and championships such as the MLS, NHL, or NBA, you may see fractional odds. The implied probability can be determined as follows: denominator/(numerator + denominator).

If in our example, the odds of the Patriots winning the AFC East are 16/9, the implied odds of them winning are 9/(16+9) = 36%.

How does NBA Futures Betting Work?

Much like NFL futures betting, NBA futures betting involves predictions on an outcome that will be determined at a future date. You can place an NBA futures bet any time of the year, and the odds will be adjusted from time to time to reflect the state of the market, and the performance of the teams in question.

To get started with NBA futures betting, you will be required to pick a team which you think will win a division, or a conference, and then the NBA finals.

Let's take a quick recap of the NBA betting scene:

  • Eastern Conference – Atlantic, Central, and South-East East – 4:1
  • Western Conference – Northwest, Pacific, Southwest
  • The Eastern Conference (Bucks, Heat, Raptors, Celtics, Pacers, 76ers, Magic, Nets, Pistons, Bulls, Wizards, Hornets, Knicks, Cavaliers, Hawks)
  • The Western Conference (Lakers, Jazz, Clippers, Nuggets, Mavericks, Rockets, Thunder, Spurs, Grizzlies, Trail Blazers, Suns, Pelicans, Timberwolves, Kings, Warriors)

As a rule, you can always expect to get much better pricing on NBA futures bets when you place them early on. As the season progresses, the timeline diminishes and so too do the odds

There are 30 NBA teams, and US bookmakers will provide pricing on NBA lines provided those teams are still in contention to win.

Recall that there are positive and negative numbers listed alongside NBA teams.

Positive numbers indicate that the team is not a favorite to win since you are getting more than your betting stake back if the team wins. These are the underdogs.

Negative numbers indicate that you have to bet more than you will receive on that team. These are the favorites.

Helpful Tip: Take some time to refresh your knowledge of betting odds, +/- numbers, and how these work for you. Remember that the negative numbers represent favorites.

It's highly unlikely that any team (besides reigning champions) will have a negative number posted for winning the NBA finals with futures betting. There is simply too much that can happen during the season.

While you're considering NBA futures betting, check the odds for NBA futures prices at 888sport New Jersey. It's always a good idea to shop around to ensure that you get the best bang for your buck when you are ready to place a futures bet.

How do I Calculate the Juice (vigorish)?

Every bookmaker takes a little off the top when you place a bet. They would go out of business if they simply bankrolled every winning bet without taking a slice of each bet.

This is known as the juice, or the vigorish, which is abbreviated as vig. It's hard to understand the odds with the vigorish in place, so it must be removed to get a clear picture.

Remember, the point of the vigorish is to allow the bookmaker to remain profitable regardless of which team wins. The vigorish is added into the NBA odds, NFL odds, NHL lines, et cetera. Let's take a look at some examples of sports teams and their associated odds:

  • New England Patriots -3.5 -110
  • Buffalo Bills +3.5-110

A bettor is required to place a $110 bet to win $100 on the New England Patriots and the Buffalo Bills alike. In each case, the bookmaker gets to keep $10 as profit. Another name for this profit is the vigorish, or the vig.

As a sports bettor, you must remove the vigorish to determine the actual probabilities for your bets. The implied probabilities include the vigorish.

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How to Remove the Juice from the Sports Betting Odds?

  • First determine the implied probability of all possible outcomes
  • The overround value can be used to calculate the vigorish as a percentage
  • Remove the overround to make the total implied probability equal to 100%
  • Compare the actual probability to determine if a betting line is a value proposition

This is a little complicated, but an example can help to clarify things for you:

  • New England Patriots -200
  • Buffalo Bills +150

-> For the New England Patriots, the implied probability is calculated by determining the risk/return ratio. This is $200 to win $100 a.k.a. 200÷ 300 = 67%

That is to say you need to bet $200 to win $100.

-> For the Buffalo Bills, the implied probability is calculated by determining the risk/return ratio. This is $100 to win $250 a.k.a. 100÷250 = 40%

The total implied probability is calculated by adding the implied probability of each team. In this case it is 0.40 + 0.67 = 1.07 (7%). This is how bookmakers guarantee that they are taking more money than they're paying out. In other words, the bookmaker would expect to pay out $100 after taking in $107 in bets!

With implied probabilities, you always take the bet if you believe the team stands a better chance of winning than the odds provided by the bookmaker. If you think the Patriots have an 80% chance of winning, and the odds are 67%, take the bet. If their chance of winning is less than 67%, then don’t take the bet.

Calculating the Vigorish

The vigorish is calculated by using the following formula 1 – (1/Overround) x 100.

In this case, the overround is 107.

Therefore, the vigorish is 1 – (1/107) x 100

Vigorish = 6.54%

What are the Pros and Cons of Futures Bets?


  • Sports bettors get to enjoy betting over the long term, with lots of action taking place during the tournament
  • There is huge profit potential with futures bets, with small bets often translating into big winnings
  • These proposition bets are available on a wide range of options such as individual player performances, team performances, or notable sports benchmarks


  • It's difficult to pick winners so far out
  • Given the timeline, many sports bettors forget that they even placed a futures bet
  • Many futures bets are simply wild stabs in the dark, with nothing to back up the betting predictions
  • Futures bets lock up your money for the whole season, or at least a big chunk of it

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What is a Good Strategy to Win Big in Futures Bets?

Always pick a reputable online sportsbook when placing futures bets. It makes no sense choosing a fly by night operation or bookmaker which may close up shop before the season is out.

Check the odds board at the bookmaker for the latest NBA odds, NFL odds, NHL lines, and sports betting odds. While these do not indicate who will win at the end of the season, or in the championship, the odds provide valuable information for you. The better teams have the least favorable odds, and the best performing teams have the best odds.

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Follow the performance of teams that you're interested in, or talented players that will be signed to teams that you're interested in. This makes betting sports like football much more exciting. It can also swing the pendulum in your favor when you're ready to place futures bets on sports matches. Check for reliable betting tips online, for basketball, football, soccer, golf, and other selections.

You will always want to set a budget for your futures betting sessions. If you bet too much on futures bets, you won't have enough for live in-play betting, or regular sports betting.

Remember, your money will be locked up for the season, or a big chunk of it. Claim your welcome bonus package at 888sport NJ to boost your bankroll so that you can place futures bets on the NFL, NBA, NHL, and other championship events.

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