What is a Futures Bet?

What is a Futures Bet
Info Details
Definition Sportsbooks assign odds to the likelihood something will happen with a specific expiry date. Bettors can expect a final resolution on or before the bet’s natural conclusion.
Bet Type Exotic
Odds See each prediction’s money line listed within the future bet.
Sportsbooks Most USA Sportsbooks
Example Before NBA season begins, choose the eventual NBA Finals Champion. Pick one team from the entire NBA league.

Futures bets reference a specific event on a specific date. Bettors must correctly choose an eventual winner, participant or other outcome long before the event begins. For example, consider picking a Super Bowl winner. It is harder to predict a winner in August compared to January after conference champions have been crowned. Bettors will be rewarded with a higher payout for making this bet in August compared to January.

See Also
What are Prop Bets?
What is a Parlay?

Futures Bets may seem very similar to Prop bets. While it’s true they both focus on distant events, Futures bets reference a specific event on a specific date. Prop Bets are open ended in terms of their timing. In other words, you don’t know if your prop bet will transact, but you do know when the Super Bowl is. Accordingly, the odds for Futures bets are adjusted and figured differently than Prop bets.

Example: Choose this season’s Super Bowl Champion
Odds:
New England Patriots 2:1
New York Jets: 20:1
Chicago Bears: 60:1
Green Bay Packers: 15:1
Oakland Raiders: 12:1
… etc for all NFL teams

You could choose to take the Green Bay Packers at 15:1 odds. That means for every $1 wagered, you’ll get $15 in winnings. Remember, the bet terminates when the Super Bowl is over. Or when the Packers are no longer viable Super Bowl participants. The further in advance you bet, the better the payoff. With futures bets, your clairvoyance can be valuable.

Remember, Futures bets have long odds. We suggest placing small wagers, no more than $100 per bet. Otherwise you’re literally throwing your money away. That is, unless your Magic Eight Ball can pick winners every time!

Futures can be thrilling, because your payout will be substantially more compared to a spread bet. The 2015-16 English Premier league result is a prime example. Leicester City faced 5000:1 odds to with the Premier League. Only a few punters took this risk, realizing it was extremely risky. In the end they were rewarded handsomely. $10 wagers paid a whopping $50,000 when Leicester City were named Champions against all odds.

Don’t forget, futures bet odds will change as the even draws closer. Odds offered before NFL season will be different compared to those offered halfway through. You’ll win more money if you bet in advance, however your risk will be substantially higher.

What are Prop Bets?

What are Prop Bets
Info Details
Definition Sportsbooks assign odds to the likelihood something will happen during a sporting, gambling or public event. The outcome may not directly affect the game result.
Bet Type Exotic
Odds See each Prop bet’s money line
Sportsbooks Most USA Sportsbooks
Example Will a safety be scored during the Super Bowl?

Prop bets are meant to attract novice gamblers, lured to a sportsbook with an enticing wager. Most sports bettors will avoid props because the chances of winning are remote. Morover, payouts on easy winners are too small to justify the risk.

See Also
What is a Futures Bet?
What is the Sportsbooks Juice?

In most cases, props are offered for a certain sporting event. Common examples include the Super Bowl, NBA finals, March Madness or Stanley Cup. Occasionally odds are offered for non-sporting events: beauty pageants, Hollywood award shows, elections and jury verdicts. Prop bets are great sportsbook marketing tools. The right prop on a popular story will draw attention from the news media.

Example 1: Will the Super Bowl favorite team score a touch down in the first 5 minutes?

If you think this will happen, you will take the sportsbook’s "Yes" odds. Payouts are expressed as money lines, where a number indicates how many dollars a bettor will receive for every $100 or $1,000 wagered.

Example 2: Will a college basketball coach get a technical during the Final Four?

If you do NOT think this will happen, you will take the sportsbook’s "No" odds. Payouts are expressed as money lines, where a number indicates how many dollars a bettor will receive for every $100 or $1,000 wagered.

Prop bets are like side bets. Suppose you’re attending an NFL matchup between the Jets and Dolphins. Your friend bets you $10 the Dolphin’s will run a Quarterback draw during the first quarter. If you take this bet at even money, you’ll pay your friend $10 if he’s right. He’ll pay you $10 if he’s wrong.

The number and variety of props are virtually limitless: anything and everything can be a prop bet! Interest in prop bets is higher with major sporting events like the Super Bowl, March Madness, or Kentucky Derby. Prop bets are meant to be fun, made with smaller amounts of money.

The only time Prop Bets can be lucrative is if you have insider knowledge. For example, suppose a sportsbook offers a prop bet on whether Tom Brady will leave a game injured. If you know in advance Tom Brady is nursing a bad knee, with this information being unknown to the public, taking "Yes" on this prop would be wise.

That aside, save Prop bets for your spare change. If you want to make long term profits as a sports bettor, stick to standard wagers and learn to spot bad lines.