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Futures Betting: What is a Futures Bet?

29.04.2024, 08:32

Most bettors are intimately familiar with short-term pre-match bets. Avid sports betting fans are aware of real-time betting. But what about futures betting - the bets that are resolved not within a few minutes or an hour but way longer than that? In this article, we're going to discuss betting futures, why it's popular, and why it's (usually) worth the wait.

TIPS.GG Futures Betting

What is a Futures Bet?

Unlike other types of bets, a future bet is a wager placed on an outcome that will be resolved far, far into the future. A basic example of such a bet is placing money on a team that will win the entire season before it even starts. Whether you're betting on a roster to win the Super Bowl, a FIFA World Series, or a League of Legends World Championship - these are all examples of futures betting. Other popular futures bets include betting on a particular player to win the MVP award, or other prop bets.

Additionally, bookmakers sometimes feature a pretty rare option for betting on futures negatives—as in, on a team NOT to win a series. These bets are very rare—usually, they occur when there's a very clear favorite in the event.

Future Bets Examplep

As futures bets are common in football, let's examine how they appear on most sports betting sites. Let's take, for instance, an outright future bet example of the UEFA Europa Conference League 2023/2024. These odds are taken from bet365. Futures bets on this event are accepted until 7 March, 19:45 UTC.

Team Odds
Aston Villa 3.5
Fiorentina 5.5
Fenerbahce 10.0
Club Brugge 13.0
Lylle 7.0
AaB 17.0
St Johnstone 19.0
Viktoria Plzen 19.0
PAOK Thessaloniki 21.0
Olympiacos 21.0
Maccabi Tel Aviv 26.0
Maccabi Haifa 34.0
Dinamo Zagreb 34.0
SC Heerenveen 34.0
Servette 41.0
Molde 41.0

The first thing that immediately catches our eye are the futures betting odds - they're much higher than any short-term bet, with the favorite hovering well above the regular 1.01-2.00 odds we see. Not to mention the underdog betting odds - they're simply massive.

Another obvious thing is the time we'd have to wait until the series resolves—it ends on 29th May, 2024. This means at least three months of wait before our (hopefully) winnings go to our wallets!

How To Bet Futures

It's rare to encounter sports betting sites that feature an actual futures section you can navigate to from the landing page. In most cases, the future bets will be baked into the specific game or even an event. Here's a quick guide on how to locate futures bets in this case.

  1. Navigate to the sport of your choice.
  2. Find the event of interest. Futures bets can be put down before the event begins, or before a certain part of the event commences (for example, before qualifiers or before the main event). So plan accordingly!
  3. Find the "Outrights" or "Futures" tab. Outrights is a subset of futures betting, but it's colloquially used as a synonym or, what happens more often, Outrights is the only futures betting market available, hence the name on most bookies.
  4. Place your bet and wait. Waiting is, surprisingly, the hardest part, since many futures bets will take weeks, if not months, to resolve.

Futures Betting Strategy

The large number of variables and the long time it takes to resolve a futures bet make it harder than a usual pre-match bet. If you do not enjoy wasting time and money, it's better to gear up with some futures betting strategies. Let's look at some of the basic popular futures bet strategies.

Hedging Futures Bets

Hedging is a great strategy that limits risks. It's possible in sports with leagues that eliminate contenders the further you go into the regular season and afterward. Hedge futures bets are especially popular in NFL seasons. Let's demonstrate it with an example of how bonus bets can bulletproof your bankroll.

Hedge Futures Bet Example

Green Bay Packers had massive odds of +2000 in Super Bowl 56 (2021) following the rumors about potential roster changes. Putting down $100 on them during that time would net the bettor $1200 in case of Green Bay Packers finishing in 1st.

At the same time, a bettor could've put money down on Kansas City Chiefs with +500, so a $100 is a $500 payout in case of victory.

The math here is simple - the shrewd bettor stands to win either $1100 in case of Green Bay Packers victory (original Packers bet of $100 + payout of $1100 - original Chiefs bet of $100 = $1100) or $400 in case of Kansas City Chiefs (original Chiefs bet of $100 + payout of $400 - original Packers bet of $100 = 400$).

You see why hedging futures bets is such a great betting strategy - accurate use of it can pretty much negate any risks.

Remember that in American odds, the odds number includes the initial stake in its total! Learn more about betting odds with our guide.

Timing Futures Bets

"Timing" is also a financial market term - it doesn't mean looking at the clock! Just like in the stock market, timing in sports betting futures means putting the money down when you think the odds are about to turn in your favor. This is an intricate concept bettors only hope to master, but it's key to scoring big with futures betting. Let's demonstrate with an example.

Let's take one of the most popular esports as an example.

League of Legends is a massively popular video games in Europe, North America, China, Oceania - you name it! The game features a pretty unique approach to its esports scene, organized directly by the game's developer and publisher, Riot Games.

Betting on S-tier regional leagues is a popular option among League of Legends bettors. These Leagues consist of two splits - Spring and Summer. Such a format is perfect for demonstrating the efficiency of timing your futures bets since other strategies like hedging futures bets, are not supported by the format. Let's pick a historical example of how the League of Legends LCK regular season played out in 2022.

LCK Venue TIPS.GG

LCK is one of the most prestigious regional competitions on the League of Legends esports scene.

Timing Futures Betting Example

Let's assume we'd like to bet on LCK Championship Winner. The roster we keep our eye on (let's say GEN.G Esports) changed 4 out of 5 players, while other lineups did not. A typical start of a professional year!

Most are certain that GEN.G is the strongest team in the region talent-wise. This makes them the LCK favorites, which is reflected in the futures bet odds on most bookmakers. However, remember that external factors are important. We're talking about things such as team cohesion, jetlag, practice, and so on. In this case, betting on GEN.G to win the event outright before the first split is risky and offers a low potential payout. We are patient and pass the opportunity to bet on GEN.G with 3.5 odds. LCK Spring 2022 result - T1 finish first instead.

Now is where timing futures bets really shine. Bettor and bookmaker confidence in GEN.G is lessened since punters often fall into the hype traps, paying too much attention to immediate results. The betting odds on GEN.G outright increase since they're no longer considered the favorites by the fans). At the same time, the GEN.G line-up has practiced enough and has now reached its potential. We put our money on them to win LCK Summer 2022 with 5.7 odds. GEN.G won it!

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