Futures Bets & Outright Bets
The terms future bet and outright bet both mean the same thing. They are used to describe wagers on the outcome of an entire competition rather than individual matches or events. For example, a wager on the winner of the World Series is a type of future bet. The term generally used in the United States, and wagers of this type are typically referred to simply as futures. The term outright bet is used in most other parts of the world.
This is a very straightforward type of wager that doesn't really need much explaining. We provide some examples of future and outright betting markets just to illustrate how they work in practice.
Example 1 – Super Bowl Winner
The above image is a screenshot from a US sports betting site, showing their betting market on the winner of the 2015 Super Bowl. It was taken at the start of the regular season. As you can see, it's simply a list of the teams involved and their respective odds in moneyline format. The odds reflect who the bookmaker thinks is likely to win the Super Bowl.
Placing a wager on a market such as this is very straightforward. All you have to do is select the team you think will win the competition and then decide how much you wish to stake. Getting it right is somewhat more difficult, of course; but you can make a good return if you do.
Even if you went for one of the favorites, say the 49ers, you could win $700 for every $100 staked. If you went for a less likely winner, such as the Dallas Cowboys, you could win $5,000 for every $100 staked. Obviously you have less chance of winning if you go for a team with higher odds, but an unlikely Super Bowl winner isn't unheard of.
Example 2 – Premier League Winner
This screenshot is from a UK sports betting site showing their betting market for the winner of the Premier League in the 2014/15 season. Again, it's simply a list of all the teams in the league and their odds, this time in fractional odds.
You may notice that the odds on the favorite teams are a bit shorter for this market. Four teams all have shorter odds to win than the favorite to win the Super Bowl, reflecting the fact that it's easier to pick the winner of the Premier League than the winner of the Super Bowl. This is due to fewer teams involved, so that only four or five of them have a realistic chance of winning.
Example 3 – US Open Winner (Tennis)
We've included this screenshot, also from a UK sports betting site, to highlight a key point about futures and outright bets that you don't have to place wagers of this type before a competition starts. This is the betting market for the 2014 US Open at the quarter final stage. You can still bet on who you think will win late in the game, and it's still considered a future/outright bet.
It can actually be a very good idea to wait until a competition is underway before placing a wager on a potential winner. You'll generally get lower odds, but you have the advantage of getting some idea of how the relevant teams or individuals are performing.
Author: Brad Johnson
Updated: March 2015
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