Betting Sports Futures – Pros & Cons

There are pros and cons to betting sports futures.

Key Points

– Like any bet, betting sports futures has its advantages and disadvantages.

– Betting sports futures can lead to some big payouts.

Betting Sports Futures – Pros & Cons

Sportsbooks seem to provide bettors with an increasing number of options each year to wager on championships and year-end awards in the various sports before seasons begin. 

In the past, you could only wager on league championships and the most prestigious awards. These include the NFL MVP, MLB’s Cy Young, and the Heisman Trophy in college football. 

Now, betting sports futures includes division winners, conference winners, and almost all awards. For example, bettors can wager on the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year and the NBA’s Most Improved Player. Coach of the Year awards in all the major sports are now a big part of betting sports futures.

If you’re betting basketball this season, these are the NBA trends to watch in 2022-23.

Betting on these different championships and season-ending awards is like betting in any futures market. They each have their own benefits and drawbacks. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of betting sports futures.

Advantages of Betting Sports Futures

The great thing about betting sports futures is the odds and subsequent payoffs can be quite substantial. If you get into a futures market early, you can find favorites at outstanding odds. 

For example, the Super Bowl futures market for the next season will open within a day or two of the previous season’s champion being crowned. At that point, it’s not uncommon for a bettor to find the overall favorite at odds of between +500 and +1000.

A $100 bettor could put down a wager on a +750 Super Bowl favorite and walk away with $750. That can do wonders for a bettor’s bankroll.

Bettors will get the most favorable odds at the market’s opening. The futures markets will stay open all season long, but odds will adjust for a variety of factors. Prices on favorites will really come down. Getting that +750 favorite just before the playoffs isn’t going to happen. 


Take Advantage of the Public

The betting public is predictable. They like to bet on favorites, popular teams, and teams with stars. In betting league champions, the public likes the Yankees in MLB, for example. The Dodgers are another popular pick.The Lakers are a popular pick in the NBA since LeBron James is their star player.

What the public does not do when betting sports futures is homework. Casual bettors aren’t very sophisticated in their analysis of a futures market. Even if a bet doesn’t make sense to the experienced bettor, the public will make it anyway. 

This is where the smarter bettor can take advantage when betting sports futures. Bettors will find value in less common options on a futures board. When it’s all said and done, bettors will then get to take advantage of the big plus-money odds and the large payout.

Market Prices Vary

The smarter bettor knows that prices in futures markets differ from sportsbook to sportsbook. When betting sports futures, bettors can often find big discrepancies among less popular athletes in the awards categories. 

In taking advantage of the public, smart bettors know popular athletes tend to get the most action in the various futures awards categories. This is where they can really take advantage of different prices.

One basketball sportsbook may have  the NBA Most Valuable Player listed at +350. Another may have the same player and +700. Imagine doubling your money just because you shopped around for the best line on your bet.

Keep in mind that sportsbooks make the most money from point spread, moneyline, and totals bets on individual games. That is where they focus most of their time and effort in making sure lines are sharp. They don’t spend as much time on the NHL’s Metropolitan Division winner, for example.

Disadvantages of Betting Sports Futures

The biggest and most significant drawback of betting sports futures is that the money is locked up for the entire season. If you place a wager before the season begins, it won’t pay off until it’s over. 

It may take up to six months, depending on the sport. Your money is tied up for the entire period. That means you can’t use it to bet on games throughout the season. Now, this doesn’t necessarily have to be a deal breaker, but it does mean you need to think before placing a futures bet. You have to be sure of the value offered. 

Lack of Value

There is often a lack of value when betting sports futures. This can be an issue with any type of bet, but it’s often a big problem when betting favorites in futures categories. 

Remember, for the odds to have value, they must accurately reflect a team’s or player’s chances of winning. It is rare for futures odds to precisely reflect the probability of winning. There are a number of variables – team performance, player performance, injuries, etc. – that must be taken into account.

It is difficult to accurately handicap a futures bet because of the number of variables. When betting sports futures, the bet becomes more complex the longer the time frame it is placed over.

Not Available

You may have a player you like in a certain category. You check a couple of your favorite sportsbooks, but the player is nowhere to be found. This happens quite often.

Former San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum came out of nowhere to win the NL Cy Young Award in 2008. He was not well-known at the beginning of the 2008 MLB season. There have been cases like this where an award winner was not even available to wager on at the beginning of a season. 

In today’s information age, this will become a rarity. However, it is still possible that a player you like for a certain futures bet will not be available.