Sports Betting Strategy: Understanding Future Bets



A future bet is any bet that is placed for an event that will occur in the future. Most future bets are related to winning some sort of a championship but in general, future bets can be placed on almost anything that will be decided on a future date. Oddsmakers set the odds for future bets depending on the likelihood of potential outcomes, with the odds prone to fluctuation based on whether scenarios leading up to the events make things more or less favorable. Future bets are available for almost all professional sports leagues around the world and are usually an attractive betting option on a sportsbook.

Examples of Future Bets

Future bets could be extremely lucrative if stumbled upon on the right bet. A man from his hometown, St. Louis, placed a bet on the St. Louis Cardinals to win the World Series during the 2011 MLB season – a $250 bet for a 501.00 payout and another $250 bet for a 1,000.00 payout. During the time that the man placed the bet, the Cardinals were in the middle of a slump – their postseason prospects looked extremely bleak, being five games out of a playoff spot with only 15 games remaining in the regular season. From then on, the rest was history. The Cardinals went on a miraculous run to take the final Wild Card spot, then defeating the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League Division Series, the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Championship Series, and the Texas Rangers in a thrilling seven-game series to win the World Series. The man ended up profiting $375,250 on an initial bet of $500. This shows you the power of future bets.

How To Calculate Juice In Future Bets

Let’s take a look at how to calculate juice in future bets, with the NFL’s AFC division as our example. Here are the future odds to win the division for each team respectively.

Oakland Raiders: 1.45
Denver Broncos: 2.90
San Diego Chargers: 13.00
Kansas City Chiefs: 51.00

Calculating the juice involves determining how often a team must win on average to break even at the current odds offered by the sportsbook. For the San Diego Chargers at 13.00 on a $100 wager, the breakeven percentage is 7.69% (100/1,300). When this is calculated for all four teams, the percentage are as follows:

Oakland Raiders: 68.75%
Denver Broncos: 34.48%
San Diego Chargers: 7.69%
Kansas City Chiefs: 1.96%

However, when you add up these percentages, they total 112.88%. These numbers should not add up to more than 100%, and the extra percentages represent the juice inherent in the sportsbook’s lines. To figure out the win probability assigned to each team without juice, divide the team’s winning percentage by the total winning percentage of all teams – here are the percentages as follows:

Oakland Raiders: 60.91%
Denver Broncos: 30.55%
San Diego Chargers: 6.81%
Kansas City Chiefs: 1.74%

Tips For Betting Futures

Betting on futures typically takes place before the start of a season. However, throughout the course of the season, major events, such as player injuries or trades, may significantly change the odds of the futures bets. Since futures bets will be updated frequently throughout the season, opportunities may arise to take advantage of shifting odds. A heavy favorite to win the division or title but starts off the season slowly may see their odds of winning decrease, while the corresponding payout will become more favourable. Teams will go to ups and downs throughout the grind of the regular season and it’s important to separate the contenders from the pretenders and take advantage of payouts as tilt in your advantage.