How to Place an NFL Futures Bet

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(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
BetMGM Jun 18, 2021, 4:55 PM

The Pittsburgh Steelers won’t win the AFC North in 2021, nor will the Cincinnati Bengals. You’re certain the Baltimore Ravens or the Cleveland Browns will win the division.

At BetMGM, you don’t have to flip a coin, place an NFL futures bet on each team, pass altogether, or otherwise feel uneasy about your AFC North betting strategy this season. You can bet on both teams with one bet.

What is an NFL Futures Bet?

An NFL futures bet is exactly as it implies: a bet on the outcome of an event or series of events in the future. Unlike a straight bet on an upcoming game (e.g., the Ravens -3 vs. the Browns), a futures bet most often includes an end-of-the-season individual or team result that, most often, pertains to a championship, award, or finish.

Betting on the winner of the AFC North, for example, is a futures bet for NFL division betting. The most commonly cited and popular divisional futures bet is wagering on the division winner. As of June 14, the Ravens sat atop AFC North odds:

  • Ravens: +115
  • Browns: +150
  • Steelers: +400
  • Bengals: +2500

There are seven other futures bets available for the AFC North, including second-, third-, and fourth-place finisher, and exact outcome of finish, in which case you bet on the exact order for the final division standings.

How to Place an NFL Futures Bet

Once you spot favorable odds for an NFL futures bet, it’s extremely easy to place your bet.

If you like the Ravens and Browns to battle for the title, you could place one bet on each team. A $50 wager, for example, on the Ravens has a potential payout of $107.50 (including stake), while a $50 wager on the Browns has a potential payout of $125.

If the Ravens win, the Browns won’t win, obviously, therefore you’d win the Ravens’ bet (+57.50) and lose the Browns’ bet (-50), leaving you with a profit of $7.50. If the Browns win, you’d win the Browns’ bet (+75) and lose the Ravens’ bet (-50) for a profit of $25.

(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

Regardless of a Ravens’ or Browns’ division title, you’re winning money. There is, however, another option to win more money by wagering on another type of AFC North future.

A dual forecast bet allows you to bet on two teams to finish first and second in any order:

  • Ravens/Browns: -145
  • Ravens/Steelers: +280
  • Browns/Steelers: +375
  • Ravens/Bengals: +2000
  • Bengals/Browns: +2500
  • Bengals/Steelers: +6600

Instead of placing the two AFC North winner bets on the Ravens and Browns, you could place one dual forecast bet on the Ravens and Browns to finish first and second in any order. The potential payout on a $100 bet is $168.97. The profit of $68.87 is $43.87 more than the best-case scenario (Ravens win) from the previous example of separate futures bets.

If you like the value of that strategy, you might also consider two straight forecast wagers in which you pick the first- and second-place teams in the correct order. A $50 bet on “1st Ravens/2nd Browns” has a potential payout of $155 (+210), while a $50 bet on “1st Browns/2nd Ravens” has a potential payout of $170 (+240).

At BetMGM, you have options for NFL futures betting. You can browse updated NFL odds for division betting, Super Bowl betting, and NFL MVP odds, and place a bet online that fits your NFL betting strategy.

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.