How to Bet on Futures

At some point, there are long odds in just about every sport’s championship futures market. The chance to win big by betting on your favorite team to win it all is one reason why futures betting is so popular. Another is that futures give those fans with big opinions about their teams’ future prospects the chance to put a little money where their mouth is.

Futures generally give you a chance to bet on your favorite teams or players winning a championship in an upcoming or ongoing season. Futures can also include betting on division and conference titles, upcoming or major tournaments, regular-season win totals, season-long stats by individual players, and annual league award winners. The season-long nature of these bets makes for mostly long odds. That means if you bet early enough, you can place small futures bets that offer big potential payouts, even on the favorites.

Here is a complete guide to futures betting online in North Carolina. We should answer all questions about whether futures sports betting is for you, and if so, how exactly you can get a bet down in the most popular futures markets available here.

Latest futures odds at NC online sportsbooks

Once North Carolina online sportsbooks launch, you’ll be able to look at the latest futures markets for the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, NCAA basketball and NCAA football below. Then, clicking on any bet will transport you to a sportsbook website where you can sign up for a new account, claim a NC sports betting bonus, make a deposit, and place that bet.

In the meantime, here’s how these same futures markets look in other states.

What is a futures bet?

A futures bet can surround a championship, title or other accomplishment achieved sometime in the near future—often at the end of a season.

The most common futures bets are championship futures. Here, you’re backing a particular team to win a championship in the upcoming or ongoing season. Futures may also include bets on teams or athletes winning different titles, upcoming or major tournaments, season-win totals, statistical milestones and awards.

North Carolina sports betting sites will offer futures markets for all major sports. This is where you’ll bet on everything from the Super Bowl to The Masters, all year long at odds that come out as early as the end of the previous year’s event. These odds change throughout the year alongside each team or athlete’s both perceived and realistic chances of winning.

Crucially, you lock in the odds as currently posted when you place a futures bet. The sportsbook odds generally start relatively long and will shrink the closer a favorite is to winning. That generally means the earlier you can get a bet down in any futures market, the better the odds and potential payout will be.

How do futures payouts work?

Win a futures bet and you’ll get paid according to the odds as they were posted when you placed your bet. That means if you bet $10 on the Carolina Panthers to win Super Bowl in 2024 at +7000 odds this offseason, and they somehow go on to win it, you’ll make $700 in profits and get your $10 back.

Of course, you might want to wait until the chances of the Panthers actually winning the Super Bowl look more realistic before placing the bet. You can wait until they make the playoffs, for example, but the odds are bound to have shrunk significantly by then. Half the teams making the playoffs will be at less than +2000 by then. The other half will all be between +7000 and +2000, which tells you oddsmakers still don’t think they stand a chance.

That means by the time the playoffs are here, you’re likely either placing a losing bet or standing to win significantly less than you would have when placing the same bet months earlier.

You’ll find that NC online sportsbooks have futures betting odds listed for every team still in the hunt. These odds change constantly throughout the season and shrink significantly for favorites as the season wears on. The odds get longer for the teams on the outside looking in. Once a team is eliminated from playoff contention or the playoffs themselves, that team comes off the board.

With most teams still in the hunt most of the year, the odds stay relatively long on everyone. It’s only when an undeniable favorite emerges that you’ll have to lay money to win money in a futures market. This often doesn’t happen until there are just a handful of teams left in the fight for a title.

Popular futures bets by sport

    NFL futures

    NFL futures bets include:

    • Who will win the Super Bowl
    • Who will win each conference championship in the playoffs
    • Who will win each division
    • How many regular season wins a team will have
    • Whether a team will make the playoffs
    • Who will win the NFL MVP award
    • Will Chiefs star QB Patrick Mahomes have more or fewer than 40 TD passes this season (or other significant player stat totals)

    MLB futures

    MLB futures bets include:

    • Who will win the World Series
    • Who will win each league championship
    • Which team will have the best regular season record
    • How many regular season wins a team will have
    • Who will win the AL or NL Cy Young Award
    • Will Braves SP Max Fried have more or fewer than 14 wins this season (or other significant player stat totals)

      NBA futures

      NBA futures bets include:

      • Who will win the NBA Finals
      • Who will win each division
      • Who will win each conference championship in the playoffs
      • How many regular season wins a team will have
      • Whether a team will make the playoffs
      • Who will win the NBA MVP award
      • Whether Hornets guard Terry Rozier will average more or fewer than 20 ppg this season (or other significant player stat totals)

        NHL futures

        NHL futures bets include:

        • Who will win the Stanley Cup
        • Who will win each division
        • Who will win each conference championship in the playoffs
        • How many regular season wins a team will have
        • Whether a team will make the playoffs
        • Who will win the Hart Trophy for NHL MVP
        • If Hurricanes winger Sebastian Aho will score more or fewer than 30 goals this season (or other significant player stat totals)

          NCAA football futures

          Common college football futures include:

          • College Football Playoff National Championship winner
          • College Football Playoff National Championship selections
          • Team win totals
          • Conference titles
          • Heisman Trophy winner

            NCAA basketball futures

            Common college basketball futures include:

            • National Championship winner
            • Teams making each round of the NCAA tournament (Final Four, Elite Eight, Sweet 16)
            • Conference tournament titles
            • Team win totals
            • Naismith Award for National Player of the Year

            More futures

            Other commonly found futures markets include:

            • Golf majors (The Masters, US Open, PGA Championship, Open Championship)
            • Tennis majors (Australian, French, Wimbledon, US Open)
            • Soccer/football championships or international competitions (MLS, Premier League, UEFA Champions League, World Cup, Euros)

            Why bet on futures?

            Futures are easy bets you can sweat almost all year long and they can give you the chance to possibly turn an otherwise insignificant amount of money into something substantial.

            You probably won’t miss the $100 you might bet on the Carolina Panthers to win the Super Bowl at +7000 odds this offseason. But if they miraculously go on to win it, you’ll never forget the $7,100 that bet will return.

            Plus, futures are an easy entryway into the world of sports betting. Beginners might find picking individual game winners hard or stressful, but it’s easy enough to back their favorite team to win a championship in the futures market. Plus, if their beloved squad is a favorite, they might even win big with just a small bet.

            Futures are also the perfect bet for fans who are otherwise going to sweat the team’s result anyway. Futures can give them a little skin in the game. Plus, the long odds on most teams ahead of the season offer the chance to win big.

            Finally, more dedicated fans can dive even deeper, betting more than just championship futures, as a variety of different futures surrounding teams and players are available.

            How much should you bet on futures?

            Always bet within your means, which means never betting more than you can afford to lose. This goes for futures or any other bets. But when it comes to futures, there’s no real reason to bet too big.

            The whole benefit is that preseason and early-season futures offer decent odds even on the favorites in any market. That means the chance to win big even when you bet small. There’s no reason to risk too much when the rewards are so great with lower-risk smaller bets. You take full advantage of opportunities like this when you place a small bet, risking very little with the chance to win a lot.

            Of course, you can always apply proper bankroll management principles. These tell you never to bet more than 1% to 5% of your bankroll on any bet. Bet 1% to 5% of your bankroll on each futures bet based on your confidence in that bet. Or take shots at the low end of your personal scale, once again risking very little with the chance to win big.

            The early cash-out option

            North Carolina sportsbook sites will offer you the chance to cash out futures bets early, as long the bet is still live and stands a good chance of winning. It could be a decent option when you’re losing confidence in a bet. Cashing out will mean locking in some profit and making sure you don’t walk away empty-handed if the bet loses at the expense of the big potential payday.

            You will see the early cash-out option and the amount it will pay in your current bets at North Carolina online sportsbooks. Taking this option is always just a click or two away.

            However, hedging the bet yourself might be the better option. Hedging involves betting against your futures bet to cover every other possible outcome. Once again, you lock in a smaller profit and make sure you don’t walk away empty-handed if the bet loses at the expense of the big potential payday.

            Do the math on hedging versus the early cash-out option and decide for yourself if either is really worth it. Or maybe you should just let your futures bet ride!

            Differences between team and player futures

            The most popular futures are championship futures. These are good examples of team futures, but other variants include team win totals, as well as what teams will win division or conference titles.

            However, futures also include player futures, where you can bet on season stats totals. These include betting on a running back’s total rushing yards, a pitcher’s win total, a player’s season-long scoring average, and more. Player futures may also include betting on achievements like league awards, scoring titles, and the like.

            Avoid these futures betting mistakes

            Avoid making any of the following futures betting mistakes. You’ll have more fun and save money if you avoid these pitfalls.

            • Betting too much: Futures are long shots, and you should never bet too much on any long shot. Instead, take advantage of the larger odds offered and the chance to win big with smaller bets. Early enough in the offseason or the season itself, the odds on most futures should be long enough that you don’t have to bet big to potentially win big.
            • Betting on too many teams: The long odds on futures give you the chance to bet on more than one side and still make a profit if one of your sides wins. Just don’t make too many picks in the same futures market, or you’ll end up losing no matter what happens. The simple rule of thumb here is to make sure the side with the lowest odds offered still pays out enough to cover all your bets in that same market.
            • Failure to hedge: When you get close to winning any futures, like one or two teams vying for a title, you may have the opportunity to hedge your bet. That means betting against yourself to lock up some winnings no matter what happens. Don’t get blinded by the size of any potential payday. You can still lose this bet, and hedging will protect you against that. On the bigger paydays, there’s lots of room to earn a smaller but still substantial payday. Not hedging would be a mistake considering you’ll end up with nothing if your lonely futures bet falls apart.
            About the Author

            Martin Derbyshire

            Martin Derbyshire is Content Contributor with NC Sharp. He’s been writing online casino and sports betting content since 2007, making him a true industry veteran. Derbyshire has travelled to and written about casino, sports betting, and gambling culture all over the world, from the Las Vegas Strip and High Street Bookmakers in the UK to the casino resorts in the Special Administrative Region of Macau. Before immersing himself in the casino and gaming industry, Derbyshire earned a Post-Graduate Certificate in Journalism from Langara College in Vancouver, BC, and was a crime reporter in the Greater Toronto Area. Some of his top stories appeared in the Toronto Star. Derbyshire now lives with his family in Buriram, Thailand.