Futures Bets Explained

A futures bet is a bet on an outcome that could happen in the future.  Futures bets typically have many possible outcomes and for the future bet to payout a number of things have to happen.

For example if you place a future bet on Novak Djokovic to win the US Open he has to win each his matches at the tournament.  Similarly, if you bet on the Chicago Blackhawks to win the Stanley Cup, they must first make the playoffs, and then win each of their playoff series.  In both of these examples there are many possible outcomes (any player at the US Open could possibly win the tournament, while any team in the NHL has a chance to win the Stanley Cup).

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Why Place Futures Bets?

Many bettors enjoy placing futures bets because most tend to carry a large payout if the correct outcome occurs.  Another reason futures bets are popular is it gives the bettor a chance to follow a team for an entire season or playoffs, or follow a specific player through a tournament.  Futures bets add excitement to the season/tournament while allowing the bettor to basically have action on every game the team/player takes part in without having to place an extra bet each time.

Time Value Of Money

One thing to keep in mind when placing futures bets is that your wager will be locked up until the futures bet is resolved.  For example, if you bet on the Super Bowl Champion in August, then your money will be locked up until the start of February.  You have to take into account the time value of money when placing a wager like this and the affect having that money locked away will have on your betting bankroll.

For example, if you are a sharp bettor with say a 5% average return on your wagers, but you have only a $1000 bankroll it probably wouldn’t be smart to bet $500 on a futures wager.  Betting half of your bankroll would effectively cut your average bet size in half moving forward, which could hurt your overall profit, even if the futures bet turns out to be a winner.

For this reason I personally will need to find very advantageous odds if I am going to place a long futures wager.

Popular Futures Bets

The most common futures bets involve which team will win the league’s championship at the end of the season.  When it comes to tournaments, the most common futures bet is which team/player will win the tourney.  You can also find smaller futures wagers, such as which team will finish with the most points in a certain division, or which player will finish with the most points in a tournament.