How to Bet Futures | Do They Pay?

The Las Vegas Golden Knights set the standard for a big score and a mighty big score it was. When it comes to futures bets this one was the golden ticket, the holy grail of futures; if it had happened! It didn’t, but oh so close. The expansion Golden Knights opened the 2017/2018 NHL Hockey season as 500/1 odds to win the Stanley Cup Finals. The good news for bettors that had a Western Conference Finals future bet, they won the West. That bet was a winner and a big payday it was indeed. Had the Golden Knights not lost to the Capitals in the finals there would have been a huge payday. At 500/1, a $20 ticket would have paid just over $10,000. Now that’s what you call a nice return on investment! Most bettors simply do not spend the money on a futures bet with such long odds because they rarely hit. 

Take a look at some of the recent long shots that either won it all or came very close:

1999 St. Louis Rams 200-1 Won Super Bowl
2010-11 VCU men’s basketball 2,000-1 Lost national
2013 Auburn football 1,000-1 Lost national
championship game
2015-16 Leicester City 2,500-1 Won Premier
League championship

The goal here is to be informative and not necessarily instructional. This is not a handicap but rather a guide to inform a potential bettor what could happen should any given team make it to the playoffs and win. Futures betting is just that, you are betting on the future success of a major league sports franchise. All of the sportsbooks in Las Vegas offer futures bets and most of them offer it across the board. There exists a wide variety of sports that offer a futures bet. Most of the reputable offshore bookmakers offer across the board futures as well.

Here are some of the major sports that sportsbooks offer futures bet on: The NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, WNBA, NCAA Basketball, NCAA Football, Golf, NASCAR, Formula 1, Horse Racing, and Soccer. To top this off, many sportsbooks offer futures odds on individual events, such as the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, the Belmont Stakes, the Indianapolis 500, the tennis majors and others. The beauty of betting on futures is for the simple reason that it’s an available bet all season long. 

Betting futures is an investment over time. If you are going to jump in and make the investment then you must realize that you will most likely be waiting for six months until the season is over. Now most sportsbooks offer ongoing futures, they offer the same futures that was offered at the start of the season, all season long, the odds, of course, will change. In the case of the Las Vegas Golden Knights starting out as 500/1 underdogs, this number quickly changed. It dropped to 250/1. 125/1 75/1 and eventually came all the way down to a 7/2 betting odd. Obviously, that’s how this works. A future bet is just that, usually a bet that you make at the beginning of the season. 

Do you need to handicap to bet futures?

Not really. How could anyone have predicted the Golden Knights future? All of the great handicappers, all of the great sports minds and all of the sports gambling gurus got this one wrong! Nobody predicted the Golden Knights to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals. 

Handicapping for futures bets can be obvious on its face. 


The New England Patriots. With Tom Brady at the helm and Bill Belichick on the sidelines, the Patriots will always be a heavy favorite to win the Super Bowl. Sure enough, the futures odds are out for the 2018/2019 season and New England leads the pack at 6/1. This is how much respect they get after all these years and even after a Super Bowl loss to the Eagles in February of 2018. This is a very obvious bet and probably a good investment. The Philadelphia Eagles follow the Patriots at 8/1. One would have to think that this is also a great bet.

Another obvious futures bet would be the Golden State Warriors. They easily won the 2018 NBA Championship and undressed Cleveland doing it. The Warriors look to bring close the entire existing roster back for the 18/19 season. Of course they are going to be the heavy favorite and they are, at 6/5 The Cavaliers on the other hand, look as if they will be losing their star in LeBron James, to free agency, if this happens it will cripple the team’s chances of having a good season, let alone winning anything. They are 25/1.

There are other sports that must be handicapped on some level if the bettor cares at all about having a real chance to win. Such as golf or NASCAR. You must know the drivers and you must know the golfers. From one tournament to the next and from one race to the next. What are the chances and why? Why would you bet them? These circumstances are when it really pays off to make more than just a wild guess 

Future can pay big money if you hit. The trick is to play several and certainly shop around. The offshore bookies specialize in futures bets so be sure to do your homework and have several bets going from several different sports and sportsbooks alike. 

At this moment the New York Yankees are 11/2 odds to win the 2018 World Series, the Red Sox are 6/1 and the Astros 5/1. The Seattle Mariners are 16/1 and opened the season at 50/1. This is an example of value still on the table but of course, if the Mariners keep winning, the number will change quickly. 

Not all futures bets are a great value but some certainly are. Betting futures in sports can be a lottery ticket or it can be a calculated, handicapped and well thought out plan. Do your homework, get some great advice and good luck. Hopefully, you make a fortune.