When you think about it, all NFL bets are actually future bets. It’s just that the future happens sooner for some events than others. A typical NFL game will be over in about three hours; the Super Bowl coin toss prop takes about three seconds to decide.

Some things take a little longer. The wagers available on the NFL futures market are for events that won’t be resolved for a while, like who will win the next Super Bowl.

Betting on NFL Futures

Because football futures are different in nature than your standard bet on the NFL point spread, you’ll need a different strategy. Futures bets are more speculative, since there are many more variables to consider when you’re dealing with an entire NFL season. Also, you don’t get your payout until after the season is over, which is a long time if you’re making an NFL futures bet during the summer. That means the money you wagered isn’t available to be turned over as you build your bankroll.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make room in your portfolio for betting on NFL futures. There’s still a relatively ill-informed NFL betting public out there for you to exploit; if anything, all those added variables just increase the knowledge gap – and your potential profit margin.

Bankroll Strategy

The trick with these more speculative bets is that they shouldn’t eat up too much of your bankroll. A smart investment portfolio is centered on slow-growth investments like bonds and index funds, with a little room on the side for taking high-risk, high-yield opportunities. NFL betting is no different. Most of your bets should be ATS and totals, and when you do place a wager on the NFL futures market, it should be a reasonably small one.

Large Payout

Your expected payout should also be reasonably big if you’re going to put that initial investment in limbo for several months. And it just so happens that the best value on the NFL futures market is with the more “fringe” Super Bowl candidates and their longer odds. Of all the major pro sports, the NFL rewards the very best teams the least. There are only 16 games in the regular season. Playoff rounds are not decided with best-of-seven series. Anything can happen.

Almost anything. You’re virtually guaranteed to be giving away your money if you bet on the longest shots in the league. We see NFL teams go from worst to first in their divisions quite a lot, but it’s very rare indeed to see a team like the 1999 St. Louis Rams, who went from 4-12 to Super Bowl champions and paid out at 300/1 on the futures market.

Betting on NFL Favorites

Even a blind dog finds a bone now and then. You’re a lot more likely to make a profit in the long term if you focus on second-tier or third-tier Super Bowl candidates. The New York Giants, for example, were available at 30/1 during the 2007 preseason and 20/1 during the 2011 preseason, both times going on to beat the New England Patriots for the championship. With that in mind, you can start opening up your wallet more for favorites like New England to win conference and especially division titles, as long as the payout is worth the wait. Time is money.