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Sports Betting Futures in Tennessee

Sports betting futures are notorious for offering potentially massive payouts in exchange for small risk amounts. In one famous example from 2011, a man bet $250 on the St. Louis Cardinals to win the World Series at 999/1 odds when the Cardinals were five games out of a playoff spot with only 15 games remaining in the regular season. The lucky bettor earned a $249,750 score on this bet when St. Louis went on to defeat the Texas Rangers in the 2011 World Series.

But while the occasional huge underdog does go on a magical run to provide its backers with a big payday, in most cases it’s the top-seeded teams that win it all. And only one team ends up on top at the end of the season, while championship futures bets on all of the other teams end up in the loss column.

So are futures worth betting on? What is a future bet? Let’s dive in and take a look at this interesting sports betting option.

How do futures bets work?

Standard sports bets take place on events that are set to occur in the immediate future. Tennessee bettors who open up their online sportsbook to a sport that’s in season will find lines on today’s baseball, basketball or hockey games and the upcoming weekend’s football games. On the other hand, bets on events that take place in the more distant future are referred to as futures bets.

How futures bets are formatted

Futures bets are generally found in the form of a list, with all of the options available listed with their betting odds. For example, a futures bet on what team will win the Super Bowl in 2020 will provide a list of all 32 teams and the price at which each team is available.

Here is an example of such a list from the summer before the start of the 2020 NFL season:

Kansas City Chiefs+600+600+600
Baltimore Ravens+650+650+600
San Francisco 49ers+1000+900+1000
New Orleans Saints+1100+1200+1200
Tampa Bay Buccaneers+1400+1500+1400
Dallas Cowboys+1600+1500+1600
Seattle Seahawks+2200+2000+1400
Philadelphia Eagles+2200+2000+2500
New England Patriots+2200+2300+2500
Indianapolis Colts+2200+2300+2000
Buffalo Bills+2500+2800+2500
Pittsburgh Steelers+2500+2500+3000
Minnesota Vikings+2800+2500+2500
Tennessee Titans+2800+3000+3500
Green Bay Packers+3000+3100+3500
Cleveland Browns+4000+3400+3500
Los Angeles Rams+4000+4000+5000
Los Angeles Chargers+4500+4000+3500
Chicago Bears+5000+4400+5000
Arizona Cardinals+5000+5000+3500
Atlanta Falcons+5000+5000+5000
Denver Broncos+5000+6000+4000
Houston Texans+5000+6000+6500
Detroit Lions+6000+6600+8000
Las Vegas Raiders+6600+6000+8000
Miami Dolphins+8000+8000+10000
New York Giants+8000+8500+10000
New York Jets+8000+8500+8000
Carolina Panthers+12500+12000+10000
Cincinnati Bengals+15000+17000+10000
Washington Football Team+15000+17000+15000
Jacksonville Jaguars+17500+20000+15000

Let’s focus on the DraftKings futures odds. Notice the Kansas City Chiefs were the betting favorites to defend their title going off at 6/1 (or +600) to win the Super Bowl. A $100 bet on the Chiefs to win the Super Bowl placed at 6/1 would pay out $600 if Kansas City were to go on to win the championship. Other preseason favorites included the Baltimore Ravens (+650), San Francisco 49ers (+1000) and New Orleans Saints (+1100).

But not only the favorites are listed. Every team in the league has futures betting odds, even those unlikely to make the playoffs, let alone win the championship. See how the Carolina Panthers were a 125/1 (+12500) longshot to win it all, and the Cincinnati Bengals and Washington Football Team were each going off at 150/1 (+15000). Meanwhile the Jacksonville Jaguars were the longest shot on the board to win the Super Bowl at 175/1 (+17500).

Futures betting on professional sporting events is fully legal at Tennessee online sportsbooks.

Popular sports futures bets

Championships — The most well-known and commonly bet on futures bets are those on league championships. These include:

  • Super Bowl winner
  • NBA championship winner
  • World Series winner
  • Stanley Cup winner
  • NCAA national championship winners (in NCAAF and NCAAB)
  • Winner of the Daytona 500 (and other major NASCAR races)
  • Winner of Wimbledon (and other major tennis tournaments)
  • Winner of the Masters (and other major golf tournaments)

Player awards — Futures betting can also take place on the players who will win awards in their respective leagues. Examples of player award futures include:

  • NFL Most Valuable Player
  • NFL Coach of the Year
  • NFL Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year
  • NFL Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year
  • NBA Most Valuable Player
  • NBA Rookie of the Year
  • NBA Defensive Player of the Year
  • NBA Sixth Man of the Year
  • MLB Most Valuable Player (AL and NL)
  • MLB Cy Young (AL and NL)
  • MLB Rookie of the Year (AL and NL)
  • NHL Hart Trophy (to league MVP)
  • NHL Calder Trophy (to best rookie)
  • NHL Vezina Trophy (to best goaltender)
  • NCAA Heisman Trophy winner*

*While betting on which player will win the Heisman Trophy is available in some states, Tennessee prohibits betting on individual player propositions in college sports.

Conferences and divisions — In addition to just betting on what team will win the championship in any given league, many sportsbooks also offer futures odds on other in-season milestones. These include what team will finish the regular season with the best record in a division or what team will win the conference championship. Each futures wager has its own set of odds.

Futures odds change throughout the season

One of the most interesting aspects about futures bets is that the lines are always changing. A big winning streak or free agent acquisition or deadline trade can make a team that was once +2000 to win the championship jump up to +1200 or +800, while a losing streak or an injury to a star player can cause a team’s odds to plummet. This is especially true in football, where the short length of the season doesn’t leave as much room for error as sports with longer regular seasons do.

While the futures betting market is always changing, your bet will be locked in at the price that you bet on. This adds a strategic element to futures betting. Hot teams and players are usually available at the worst prices, while teams trending in the wrong direction that may not look like enticing bets are the ones with more attractive odds.

Futures betting: Pros and Cons

Pros with futures betting

  • Low risk, high reward — Bettors pay a premium for the elite teams, but there are often plenty of contenders available in the +1000 to +2000 range. A +1200 team offers a $120 payday to a $10 bettor and a $1,200 payday to a $100 bettor. And in the event that you find the rare team at longshot odds that gets hot at the right time and makes a run in the playoffs, you could be looking at even bigger potential payouts.
  • Bang for your buck — A bet of $110 to win $100 on today’s Tennessee Titans game will only last for the three to four hours that the game does. A $100 bet on the Titans to win the Super Bowl, on the other hand, will last as long as their season does. Bettors with a limited sports betting bankroll might enjoy the longevity that futures bets can offer on their wager.
  • Hedge potential — Say that there are four teams left in the NBA as the league has reached the semifinals: the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets in the West and the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics in the East. You think the Lakers are going to win the championship and plan on betting them heavily in the Western Conference Finals and the NBA Finals, but you are a bit concerned about how surprisingly well the Heat have been in the playoffs. You could hedge your Lakers prediction with an NBA futures bet on the Heat to win the NBA championship. This would allow you to mitigate some of your losses if the Lakers lose to Miami in the finals.

Cons with futures betting

  • Very high vigorish — The average against the spread wager at a Tennessee online sportsbook offers both sides at -110. Betting $110 to win $100 on an even-money proposition translates to a 9.09% vigorish on your bet. The juice on futures bets is substantially higher. Sportsbooks aren’t offering you the true odds that they’ve calculated for each team. These odds come with a heavy markup as the sportsbook looks to limit its potential losses on a popular favorite or a big longshot winning the championship. Even when you win, you aren’t getting paid nearly what you probably should have.
  • Difficult to win — Following up on the point above, these bets are extremely difficult to hit. Even the best teams in the league have to overcome injuries, bad matchups and bad luck on their march toward a championship. This is especially true in sports with a single-elimination playoff system like the NFL. The path to victory gets even more difficult when you are on a longshot. Everything has to fall into place perfectly to consistently overcome superior teams that often have home-field or home-court advantage. The overwhelming majority of NFL futures bets end up losing with only one winner standing tall at the end of any given season.

Should you bet on futures?

Only you can decide if futures bets are right for you. While futures are extremely tough to win and have high vigorish built into them, some bettors still enjoy them as they can be fun to root for over the course of the season and can provide some nice payouts when they do hit.

If you do decide to bet on futures, one great futures betting strategy is to make sure that you are shopping for the best lines. As mentioned above, betting lines on future events are changing constantly throughout the season. Different sportsbooks will have different criteria for shifting their futures betting odds. Some might move lines more drastically based on current events, while others may be more tempted to hold firm on teams they expect to cool off or heat up again. Individual sportsbooks also take different amounts of action on different teams and players, which also affects the futures market and its prices.

Tennessee has plenty of excellent legal online sportsbooks to choose from. Before placing a futures bet, check out what your team is paying at other sportsbooks. The small difference between a +1800 price and a +2000 price may not seem like much, but futures bets are extremely tough to hit. Why not make sure you are getting the maximum value you can when you do pick a future winner?