What is Futures Betting?

What is Futures Betting?

The anticipation is tangible as a new sports season approaches. Part of the enjoyment comes from discussing potential game outcomes with other fans.

With the official legalization and regulation of sports betting in Illinois, you can now wager on your predictions. This is known as futures betting, which essentially allows you to gaze into a crystal ball and make predictions on the outcomes of games.

Here, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the futures market.

What are futures bets?

A futures bet involves staking on an outcome that will not be determined until a future date. These markets, popular for their high betting volume, remain active throughout the year.

Examples of this could be predicting the winner of the upcoming Super Bowl, determining which team will dominate in March Madness, or deciding who will triumph in the next Masters Tournament. Generally, sportsbooks will publish odds well ahead of the actual date of the competition.

The Illinois sportsbooks will then express their opinions. Looking at the futures market can provide insight into the betting market’s views on particular teams and players. While futures bets can’t be cashed until the event concludes, they can be very profitable.

Latest futures odds

The futures market operates throughout the year, drawing consistent betting activity in the most frequented markets. Consequently, the odds board can frequently fluctify.

Keeping up with the latest odds can be challenging, but with our live odds feed, it becomes effortless. You can tailor it by sport and event to see the most recent numbers from various operators.

Are futures bets available for all sports?

Primarily, futures are for the major sports and events. The most wagering action is drawn by the top team-based and individual sports at sportsbook apps and websites. This is also the case with futures.

If you follow mainstream sports like the NFL, NBA, golf, and tennis, there are plenty of futures bets available. However, if you’re interested in more niche sports like cycling, cricket, etc., the betting options are more limited.

How to bet on futures in Illinois

To place a futures bet, the initial step is identifying the market where you want to place your bet. Typically, you can find future betting lines by selecting the sport of your choice from the available options list. A tab for current futures offerings is usually provided.

For instance, if you wish to place a bet on the next Super Bowl’s winner, you would select the NFL link and search for the futures tab.

The odds for the next Super Bowl will be included in the listings. After detailing that bet, the top few favorites could appear as follows:

Kansas City Chiefs +450
Baltimore Ravens +550
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +850

To place your bet, first, click the box that displays the odds for your chosen selection. Your bet will then be transferred to your bet slip. After adding the amount you wish to bet and ensuring all details are correct, click ‘submit’ to finalize your wager.

Futures betting odds explained

Future odds for team-based events are released during the offseason. For major markets like the Super Bowl, the odds for the following year’s game are released shortly after the conclusion of the current game.

For individual player events like a golf major or tennis Grand Slam, futures will be released much ahead of the actual competition. Odds will be assigned to all players anticipated to participate.

Futures odds are typically displayed on sportsbooks’ boards in descending order. Favorites are listed at the top, long-shots at the bottom, and all other choices are in between. The numbers may change as the betting market reacts.

Also, bear in mind that futures odds can vary across different sportsbooks. For instance, the odds for the Buccaneers to win the Super Bowl might be one thing at DraftKings in Illinois, but FanDuel might present a different number.

You always have the option to search for the best odds. Our live odds feed can serve as a useful tool for line shopping.

How to calculate potential returns on futures bets

Calculating potential returns is fairly straightforward as most futures market odds are positive numbers. A positive number represents the potential profit from a successful bet of $100.

For instance, should you place a wager on the Chiefs to win the Super Bowl with odds at +450, a successful $100 bet would yield $450 in profit. Similarly, if you were to bet $100 on the Ravens winning at odds of +550, you would receive $550 in profit if successful, and so forth.

Here are the formulas for calculating potential return:

  • When the odds are positive, the profit equals the wager amount multiplied by the odds divided by 100.
  • When the odds are negative, divide the amount of wager by the odds divided by -100 to calculate the profit.

Numerous free handicapping calculators are available online. To view your potential return, all you need to do is input your bet amount on the bet slip. However, ensure you don’t accidentally submit before you’re fully prepared.

Illinois sportsbook rules for futures

There are numerous betting rules that are universally accepted throughout the industry. However, you may encounter certain variations in how sportsbook operators handle specific circumstances. Here are the fundamental aspects you need to understand about futures betting in Illinois:

  • The settlement of futures bets will not occur until the outcome is determined.
  • If a season or event is cancelled, any future bets on those markets will be deemed void and the bets will be refunded.
  • The outcome of bets on season-long props or team win totals is determined using official league data.

These rules should encompass most potential situations. However, it’s crucial to note that different books may handle specific circumstances, such as player injuries, in unique ways. You can find more specific details by reviewing the house rules for futures at the book where you are playing.

Examples of futures bets in sports

The futures market teems with wagering possibilities, however, understanding its operations before selecting your bets is advisable. Let’s explore further examples for the main sports.

NFL futures betting

The futures betting market for the NFL enjoys immense popularity. It presents various opportunities that you might want to consider, such as:

  • Teams that have won the Super Bowl, conference, or division.
  • Win totals for each team in the regular season.
  • Awards and statistical achievements of individual players.

If you’re considering placing a bet on who might clinch the league MVP by the season’s end, the odds might appear as follows:

Patrick Mahomes +200
Russell Wilson +400
Aaron Rodgers +600

Bettors placing a $100 bet on Wilson at +400 would see a total return of $500 if they win. This amount is the original wager plus a $400 profit.

NBA futures betting

Ahead of the season, there are numerous NBA futures to ponder, and the odds board offers a glimpse into the betting public’s perspective on the forthcoming year. Here are some potential bets you might encounter:

  • Teams that have won the NBA Finals, conference or division.
  • Win totals for all teams in the regular season.
  • Award-winning players and leaders in statistics.

If you wish to place a bet on an NBA team to win the Western Conference this season, the odds for the favorites might appear as follows:

Los Angeles Lakers +150
Los Angeles Clippers +350
Denver Nuggets +500

If you believe that this is the year the Clippers will reach the NBA Finals, a successful bet of $100 at the current odds could yield a $350 profit. Keep in mind, the odds may change as the season progresses, so it’s advised to frequently check for the most current prices.

MLB futures betting

Conversations about the MLB offseason are often referred to as “hot stove” chatter. Those betting on MLB games have the opportunity to place their bets on a variety of potential outcomes through the futures market, for example:

  • Teams that have won the World Series, league, or division.
  • Predictions on team regular-season win totals.
  • Award winners and category leaders among individual players.

For the upcoming campaign, Chicago Cubs fans may want to increase their excitement and investment. One way to do so could be by placing a bet on the team’s regular-season win total.

Over 5 (-120)
Under 5 (+110)

This bet functions similarly to a totals bet. The oddsmakers establish the standard, and you then decide whether to go over or under. Monitoring the odds for these bets could guide you to the side receiving more betting action.

NHL futures betting

You can place bets on the NHL at almost any time through the futures market. Here are some of the most commonly used markets that you can explore:

  • Teams that have won the Stanley Cup, conference, or division.
  • Totals of regular season wins and points.
  • Award recipients and standout performers in the game.

The primary factor influencing NHL futures is the prediction of the next Cup winner. The betting odds for a few potential winning teams could appear as follows:

Vegas Golden Knights +700
Colorado Avalanche +800
Tampa Bay Lightning +900

Betting at the right time and choosing the winning team could potentially yield a substantial return. For instance, if you were to bet $100 on the Avalanche to secure the Cup and they indeed win, you stand to make a profit of $800.

College football futures betting

The college football season may pass quickly, but you can remain engaged all year round from a betting standpoint with futures opportunities.

  • Team to secure the national title, qualify for the College Football Playoff, or claim its conference victory.
  • Win totals for all teams during the regular season.
  • Winners of the Heisman Trophy and other awards.

The national title picture and which teams will make the playoffs always garner a lot of interest. During the offseason, odds are usually released showing the favorites to win, which typically look like this:

Clemson +200
Alabama +300
Ohio State +400

Just like any futures markets, you have the choice to back a favorite or select an underdog. For instance, if Notre Dame has a winning odd of +4,000, a successful $100 wager at these odds would yield a return of $4,000.

College basketball futures betting

March Madness is indeed a major betting event each year, however, college basketball encompasses much more. The futures market remains active throughout the year. The following options happen on a yearly basis:

  • Team to secure the national title, reach the Final Four, or claim its conference victory.
  • Win totals for all teams during the regular season.
  • Winners of Player of the Year and other awards.

Predictably, the teams that will make the Final Four are among the top picks. The odds for a few favorites might appear as follows:

Gonzaga +150
Villanova +200
Baylor +250

Securing a victory in $100 bets can yield a handsome return if you select the winning side. However, keep in mind that futures betting necessitates a long-term viewpoint. The final results, determining wins and losses, will not be established until the outcome is finalized.

Betting on Illinois, Northwestern, DePaul, or Loyola Chicago is now possible within the state, but only in-person at retail sportsbooks. Online betting remains banned.

Golf futures betting

Betting circles are increasingly showing interest in golf. The largest markets in futures betting are those focused on the winners of one of the four major tournaments:

  • British Open
  • Masters Tournament
  • PGA Championship
  • US Open

Looking ahead to the next edition of the Masters, the odds on the favorites might appear as follows:

Bryson DeChambeau +800
Jon Rahm +950
Rory McIlroy +1,100

Remember, the odds board is dynamic and will change from the time the odds are initially released until the event commences. If you identify a promising underdog before the majority of the market does, you could stand to gain significantly if that golfer secures a victory at the Masters.

Tennis futures betting

Both tennis and golf are comparable due to the increasing interest in them, particularly regarding the factors influencing their future popularity. Speculation surrounds the winners of the Grand Slam events throughout the year.

  • Wimbledon
  • US Open
  • French Open
  • Australian Open

Tennis odds for both male and female potentially competing players can be found. As an example, favorites in the women’s category at Wimbledon might appear as follows:

Ashleigh Barty +700
Serena Williams +900
Bianca Andreescu +800

Not only can the futures market be profitable for successful bettors, it also serves as a great research tool. When you’re getting ready to handicap a typical tennis tournament, you can gain insight into who the favored players are by examining the futures odds board.

What other futures markets are available?

The markets we have identified are the primary influencers in the futures market, although other opportunities also draw significant attention. For example, in NASCAR, placing bets on the winner of the Daytona 500 or the overall season champion is quite common.

In soccer, you can find betting markets for the winners of various competitions such as the MLS Cup, Premier League, World Cup, and other international tournaments. To put it simply, sports betting futures offer something for every punter.

How to handicap a futures bet

The approach to handicapping futures bets differs slightly from analyzing single games and events. It requires a more long-term perspective, taking into account how an entire season might unfold. You also need to predict the outcome of a competition that won’t take place for several months. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Be on the Lookout for Potential Dark Horses: The futures market odds board often highlights clear favorites, with midrange contenders trailing behind, and the rest following suit. However, there’s remarkable value to be discovered, so make sure to research on dark horses that could potentially surprise. A victorious ticket at four- or five-digit odds could prove to be very profitable.
  • Don’t hesitate to diversify your risk: In the context of futures betting odds, it can be beneficial to categorize the board into tiers: top picks, potential wins, and dark horses. As you conduct your research, aim to identify a few options from each tier. When the moment for betting arrives, select your preferred choices from each category. This strategy not only intensifies your excitement but also enhances your chances of reaping profits in the future.
  • Ensure You Compare Prices: The initial futures odds at major operators may be similar, but they do not always remain the same. By spending time comparing prices at different outlets, you can discover additional value. Remember, our futures odds feed consolidates the most recent figures from various books into one convenient location.

When you start wagering on futures, there are several actions you should steer clear of. Here are a few you should avoid.

  • Don’t Concentrate Your Bets Too Much: Having firm beliefs in your selections is good, but keep in mind that nothing is certain in sports betting. When placing futures bets on a particular market, it’s advisable to diversify your risk slightly.
  • Don’t Allocate Essential Funds: Engaging in futures betting calls for a long-term outlook. The money you utilize for betting in these markets should be separate from your regular betting bankroll. Only wager amounts you’re always comfortable with. Make sure to bet sensibly, never exceeding your limits.
  • Avoid Falling for the Preseason Favorites Hype: Every offseason, certain teams and players enthrall the sports media and, consequently, the general public. The hype may sometimes be justified, but it can also be greatly misguided. Do not feel compelled to place a futures bet on the “popular” team or player unless your own research supports it.

What to remember about futures betting

The futures market offers enthusiasts an opportunity to remain involved with their favorite sports throughout the year. These involve bets on outcomes that won’t be determined until a later date, like who will be the next NBA Finals champion or the tennis player who will claim victory at Wimbledon next year.

During the offseason, odds are released and the market remains quite dynamic from then on. Consequently, there will be significant fluctuation in the numbers. It’s always beneficial to shop around for the best prices. An appropriately placed futures bet can yield outstanding returns.