How NFL Futures Betting Works

How NFL Futures Betting Works

So you decided you want to take a brief peek at what betting looks like in the National Football League. Well, keep reading for our little guide on how NFL futures betting works! Ready your pen and paper, although we promise not to be too technical, there may be some terms you need to take down.

What is futures betting in NFL?

Sports betting isn’t all that difficult, and a futures bet is no exception. When many new bettors are initially introduced to sports betting, this is one of the first wagers they place. Before anything else though, you need to understand what exactly futures wagers are and the different types included in them, particularly in the NFL.

As the name implies, it’s a future bet. A futures bet is a wager on an upcoming event, series, or award. This is not the same as betting on a single game’s outcome, but it’s nearly as popular. Meaning to say, a futures bet will be completed in the far future and not on the day the bet is placed. This is what attracts most bettors to the whole thing. The futures bet has a longer life than single-game wagers where the outcome is decided as immediately as possible. For instance, if you’re placing a bet on which team will win the Super Bowl, then that’s a futures bet.

Sportsbooks establish futures odds and estimate the probability of each possible outcome. A much more likely conclusion will have reduced odds and, as a result, will pay out less to bettors. A conclusion that is thought to be improbable or a long shot will have much greater or best odds. Because there is a little chance that this future event will occur, a small investment in a long shot outcome could pay off big if the bet is successful.

Simply put—high probability equals less reward, and low probability equals high reward!

Remember: Whatever odds the bettor chooses for a futures bet are locked in for the duration of the game, regardless of what happens during the game or how sportsbooks modify their futures odds thereafter.

Let’s talk about future odds in more detail next.

How do futures odds work?

You see, future odds are unpredictable. They can change a lot during the course of an event. These changes are caused by a lot of factors like wins, losses, injuries, trades, and so on, or sometimes even free-agent acquisitions as well. These changes also make a domino effect among teams as when odds change for a team, the odds also change for other teams.

As mentioned, futures odds depend on the probability that something will occur. So don’t mistake it as a prediction of what will happen! The odds may be based on the possibility of a team winning when they are released, although this is not always the case.

A futures bet’s predictive aspect is part of the methodology that goes into calculating the chances, but there’s a little more information involved. Futures odds might also change depending on how much money is bet on a particular team at a given sportsbook. In addition, a sportsbook may use predicted wagers to hedge odds. This enables the sportsbook to restrict its liabilities in the event of a specific team’s victory.

How do you read futures odds?

Futures odds are read as a list, with each option and its odds displayed. Most of the time, these are listed from best to worst. To give you a better idea, consider the following totally made-up scenario:

Let’s say the Kansas City Chiefs are the favourites to win the 2022 Super Bowl according to the futures odds, and thus are placed at the top with +500 (win $500 on a $100 wager).

The Indianapolis Colts, on the other hand, have longer odds for a Super Bowl win, with +2,800 (win $2,800 on a $100 wager) listed at the bottom of the futures odds.

When do you get paid for futures bets?

Futures bets are paid once the event or occurrence has transpired and the sportsbook has assessed it.

Futures bets on championship outcomes are frequently paid out immediately after the winner is determined. Some futures, like Over/Under season win totals, will not be paid out until the end of the regular season, even if the wager was made before the final game on the schedule.

The table below shows the potential payout of a stake based on implied probability and odds. Futures bets with a lower indicated probability have a higher chance of losing, but the possible reward is higher as a result.


Stake Odds (American) Implied Probability Potential Payout (Profit)
$10 +120 45.45% $12
$10 +500 16.67% $50
$10 +1,000 9.09% $100
$10 +5,000 1.96% $500
$10 +10,000 0.99% $1,000
$10 +50,000 0.20% $5,000

What are the types of NFL futures betting?

In NFL, futures betting looks quite similar to MLB. There are a lot of futures bets being offered by sportsbooks but the most popular are the following:

Super Bowl Winner/Champion Futures

Betting on who ultimately wins the championship is the most popular sports betting market out there and when it comes to the NFL, that means the champion or the Super Bowl winner.

Conference Championship Futures

The NFL playoff bracket involves two conferences of 16 teams each: the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC). Bettors can wager on which team(s) will win each conference.

Division Winner

For bettors, there’s also the chance to wager on the division level. Like how a conference championship’s futures odds are always shorter than a Super Bowl’s odds, the division has shorter odds than the first two. 

Playoffs Winner

Even if they don’t win their division, NFL teams may still compete in the playoffs. The AFC and NFC each have three wild card winners that make the playoffs. The playoff futures have considerably lower chances because teams will not have to win their respective division to reach the playoffs.

Season Win Totals

This is another popular wager for bettors. This category is based on a team’s record during the course of a regular season. Bettors can try to predict whether a team will win fewer or more than the reported line.

Player Futures

This type of futures is more about an individual player. Player futures options are futures bets on future events such as winning an award or an entire season worth of stats. Under the player futures are different options but the most popular is the MVP and Rookie of the Year segments.

How do you place a futures bet?

If you understood the above information, then it’s time to actually try your hand at sports betting. You can make futures bets at all online sportsbooks and casinos. Odds and options vary book to book, so shop around for the futures bet you want to make.

The trick lies in finding one that is reliable and has excellent customer service. There are some betting sites that offer bonuses for first time bettors as well, so check them out as well!

What are some strategies for NFL futures betting?

Bettors have different strategies they employ when trying to win an NFL futures bet, or any futures bet for that matter. Since the futures odds involve a lot of mathematics, the market can be complex for some bettors. When done correctly, futures betting can, however, provide a substantial return on investment. When handicapping the NFL futures market, there are various things to consider.

The following are some of the finest futures betting strategies:

  • When talented teams or players aren’t performing to their full potential, especially early in the season, “buying low” is a good strategy.
  • Overreaction to those difficulties is common, causing futures odds to shift and present a bigger reward. Those difficulties are frequently short-lived, as the team’s talent takes over, allowing them to overcome their problems and perform at their projected high level.
  • Although different sportsbooks will offer identical futures markets, the odds will typically differ. If you have the option of sports betting at various bookmakers, browse around to see which one offers the greatest odds on the futures you wish to wager.

Implied Probabilities Diagnosis

We’re gonna make this whole thing a lot easier than it really is. To fully have an idea about the significance of the published futures odds for the NFL, bettors must perform calculations. This helps in determining the projected likelihood of the future event.

First, you must convert your future odds to fractions and run them through the following formula:

{Denominator / (Denominator + Numerator)} * 100

There are also calculator tools online available for those who prefer that. To better understand these numbers, check the example below:

Let’s say the Jacksonville Jaguars’ odds are at 15/2. The calculations will be:

{2/(2+15)} * 100 = 11.76

The Jaguars’ 15/2 odds imply an 11.76% probability… which takes us to the casino juice. What the heck is that? Well…

We all know probabilities can only come up to 100%, right? Now hold onto that thought.

Let’s say that for the rest of the AFC South, the numbers after the above calculation are 50%, 38.46%, and 10% respectively. The total of all of these four numbers is 110.22%. Now that extra 10.22% amounts to the casino juice. This ensures that the sportsbooks will make a profit.

So what is the final percentage then? Well, take your initial percentage (11.76%), divide it by the total percentage (110.22) and then finally, multiply by 100.

The final calculation to find the actual implied probability is the following:

11.76% / 110.22% = 0.1066957

0.1066957 * 100%


After factoring in the casino’s cut, the implied probability of the Jaguars winning the AFC South at 15/2 odds is 10.67 per cent.

Finding Value

You may compare your likelihood, research, and estimates for the future event outcome by conducting the aforementioned calculations to evaluate your sportsbook’s provided probability of a given future offering.

If your prediction shows a higher chance than the casino’s line, then a higher expected value (+EV) will appear on the line, just like any other sports bet. Note that the expected value is based on the reported odds, not on which team or player you may or may not like in general. Returning to the previous example, this would be a solid bet to make if you believe the Jaguars’ probability of winning the South division is closer to 15 per cent or 20 per cent than the odds implied likelihood equal to 10.67 per cent.

What is the hedging tactic in the NFL?

Hedging futures bets become increasingly popular as the field of contenders narrows during the regular season and postseason.

You might be able to lock in a profit by betting on the other side if you were able to bet on a team with longer odds to win the championship and that team rose up the futures board to become one of the favourites.

For example, after losing four of six games between Week 5 and Week 10 of the NFL season, the Kansas City Chiefs were given +1,200 odds to win the 2020 Super Bowl. If a $100 bet on Kansas City at those odds paid out, the bettor would win $1,200 if the Chiefs won the Super Bowl.

When the Kansas City Chiefs advanced to the Super Bowl, that same bettor could have spent $100 on the San Francisco 49ers at +110 to win $110, ensuring a $10 profit on their original $100 stake.

What are some places that offer futures bets for the NFL?

We list down a few and the most common futures bets sites you can check out if you want to start today! Keep in mind that this isn’t a paid promotion and the sites listed down are fan favourites and ones that conversations online have named at least twice.


BetUS is the platform we use to make our NFL bets, so we trust them after having a good experience using their service. If you sign up with our code JOIN125 you get a 125% bonus sign up bonus.


Some of the most common futures bets Bovada offers are NBA odds, NFL odds, NCAA tournament odds, FIFA odds, and ESports. A few minutes of going around online will tell you that bettors prefer Bovada because it has the best bonuses. How true that is you have to check out yourself! Check it out here.


Bet365 is another site that offers future bets for the most popular sports right now. It has decent promotions and offers so even if you’re among the new sports bettors, you can be sure you’re not losing more than you should. You can wage on future bets through Bet365 by checking this link.


While MyBookie is like most betting markets that offer sports betting futures, they also provide odds for horse racing, politics and even entertainment. Check it out here.


A lot of bettors who do futures wager love EnergyBet. It’s a great place to place bets and win the Super Bowl, or just play some casual games if you’re also into that.

How NFL Futures Betting Works – The Conclusion

The NFL is leagues away from what college football is, it’s a major level up! And with this level up comes more ways to enjoy an NFL season, including partaking in futures bets.

Futures bets are wagers placed on an event a long time in advance. In the NFL, these typically include the Super Bowl winner and division winners. Oftentimes, though, you can place futures bets on other events such as MVP and individual player milestones like passing yards or receiving yards for the season.

There are a couple of important things to keep in mind when placing a futures bet. First, it will be graded at the end of the season. The current futures odds you take today might not be available by then, so if you’re confident in your wager, take it now before preseason begins.

Second, these bets are graded at the end of each season so there is no point spread involved. It’s simply a matter of picking who you believe will win that award or milestone. If you think the New England Patriots will win the AFC East again this year and they do, your bet wins regardless of how many games they won or lost during the regular season.

If you’re a newcomer to the world of futures betting, don’t be intimidated to try it out. It may seem like something reserved for the most professional bettors out there, but anyone with a basic understanding of odds can place NFL futures bets. It allows anyone to think like a professional and enjoy sports wagering with fewer worries about how to make money. Who knows, you might be able to win the Super Bowl futures bets next year!

Do you have tips and tricks you want to share? Drop them in the comments!


Leave a Comment

More in News

Why Do Quarterbacks Have A Pouch

Why Do Quarterbacks Have A Pouch?

When tuning into a football game, especially in colder climates, ...

49ers lose Samuel, McCaffrey in loss to Browns

49ers stars Deebo Samuel and Christian McCaffrey went down with ...

Browns show blueprint to defeat talented 49ers, handing them first loss

The underdog Cleveland Browns used a relentless defense to limit ...

Trending on Gridiron Chronicle