NFL profitable Future betting strategy

January 17, 2023

A bet on an event that will not occur until the distant future is called a “future bet.” Which Team will win the Super Bowl, Stanley Cup, World Series, National Championship, etc. are good examples, while which Team will win the division title, and who will win the Cy Young championship? NFL head coaches are other examples. This article will cover some tips and strategies for futures betting using the NFL.


Line shopping is crucial in Sports betting

The first thing you must know about future betting is that the odds vary from site to site. To illustrate, here’s a snapshot of the Super Bowl odds for three different teams since November 25, 2010:

  • Redskins: Sportsbook 100/1 | 125/1 at Bovada | 350/1 at 5Dimes
  • Packers: 7/1 at 5Dimes | 7/1 at Bovada | 10/1 at sportsbooks
  • Bears: Sportsbook 20/1, 5Dimes 28/1 | 30/1 at Bovada

We must use three websites to get the best odds for each Team. It is not a picked example; it often happens, so it is important to use multiple betting sites when betting on futures.


Future Betting is a Casual Bettors Market

Most future betting is made by sports fans interested in supporting their favorite Team or player throughout the season. Professional players avoid this betting option due to a large amount of Juice built into the lines. Make sure to distinguish the motives here; many bookmakers like to compete on futures. The challenge is that with 32 different options for which Team will win the Super Bowl, it’s nearly impossible for bookmakers to balance the action. Any Cinderella dominated by preseason underdogs is enough to give bookmakers an ulcer. One of those title-winning teams is enough to seriously dent, if not wipe out, much of the season’s profits. While this is rare, bookmakers make a lot of money trading futures, but they still need to protect themselves. Las Vegas bookies add 40-70% juice to their future markets to protect themselves.

While many betting sites still have high-profit margins, a small number now have high-profit margins. It is a new concept; until recently, there was no chance that future betting could be +EV. By far, the leading website for the Super Bowl and other tournament markets is 5Dimes. EU. 5Dimes’ operating margin is about half that of its nearest competitor, with a theoretical hold of about 11%. A recent study of the best Super Bowl winner odds with limited-line shopping showed that the following combinations were the most profitable:

  • Only one site: 5Dimes alone gives bettors a 74% chance of getting the best future odds.
  • Two sites combined: 5Dimes + Sportsbook, 91% chance of finding the best odds.
  • Three-site combo: 5Dimes + Sportsbook + Bovada, 93.7% chance.

In doing our research using only Super Bowl future odds on November 25, 2010, we bought all 31 teams that still had a chance to win the Super Bowl on four sites. We put the best odds for each Team into a spreadsheet and did some calculations. Using these four sites in combination results in that sports bettors can place appropriate bets on each Team with an expected loss of only 6.45%. It means that the odds of betting on the future are much better than ever when online shopping, thanks to the internet. Doing the math at Las Vegas Sportsbooks, it’s somewhere in the 30-45% range, though that’s an educated guess.


Counting Juice

To show an example of removing Juice from a betting line, I’ll look at the odds of winning the NFC West. Their odds are as follows:

  • Arizona Cardinals +800
  • San Francisco 49ers +325
  • Seattle Seahawks -110
  • St. Louis Rams +300

The first step in calculating Juice is to find out how long it takes each Team to win on average to break even at their current betting line. The math to calculate this is risk divided by reward. To clarify, betting $100 at +800 is $100 winning $800. The payback is $900 because the winning bet returns $100 off your stake plus $800 in bonuses for a $900 Payback. So, to calculate the breakeven percentage for Cardinals +800, the math is 100/900=0.111, or 11.1%. To avoid doing the math every time, Google “Moneyline Converter” to find a helpful tool.

Doing the math for each Team, we ended up with the following required breakeven percentages:

  • Arizona Cardinals +800 = 11.1%
  • San Francisco 49ers +325 = 23.5%
  • Seattle Seahawks -110 = 52.4%
  • St. Louis Rams +300 = 25%

The total is 112%. The sum of the actual probabilities for each Team to win cannot exceed 100%. It is because the Juice is included in the betting line. To remove the Juice and get the probability of winning without Wigg, we divide each breakeven percentage by this 112%. The result is as follows.

  • Arizona Cardinals 11.1%/112%=9.9%
  • San Francisco 49ers 23.5%/112%=21.0%
  • Seattle Seahawks 52.4%/112%=46.8%
  • St. Louis Rams +300 = 25%/112%=22.3%

We add the four numbers to double-check that the Juice was removed and see that the probability equals 100%. These new numbers are called Wigg-free winning probabilities. According to the betting markets, these are the true odds for each Team to win the NFC West if the vigs split.

To change the percentages back to American odds format, google “Moneyline Converter” again, plug in the rates and get:

  • Arizona Cardinals +910
  • San Francisco 49ers +376
  • Seattle Seahawks +114
  • St. Louis Rams +348

What we have here are lifeless odds for each Team. These win-loss lines would represent each Team’s fair price if the Bovada market were efficient. If we find a line exceeding this price at any station, we have a +EV bet.


Finding +EV future bets using No-Vig probabilities

Remember, the first step in removing the Juice is calculating the breakeven percentage each Team needs. In our previous example, the sum of the breakeven percentages for each Team was 112%. This number is what bookmakers call the market. The lower the overbet, the higher the chance that a +EV bet exists. If the premium is less than 100%, then not only is there a +EV bet but there is also an arbitrage opportunity.

We should point out that wagering can be less than 100% to have value when shopping online. In 95% of cases, the overbet will be more than 100%, but with careful analysis, it is still possible to find that one of the betting options may be +EV in 10-15% of the cases. Let’s look at an example that is currently available for betting.

I shopped on a dozen sites looking for a chance to win an NFC West game. After researching, I found the best odds for one of the teams on these three betting lines.



  • Arizona Cardinals +1700
  • San Francisco 49ers +225
  • Seattle Seahawks -175
  • St. Louis Rams +360


Sports betting:

  • Arizona Cardinals +1200
  • San Francisco 49ers +225
  • Seattle Seahawks +120
  • St. Louis Rams +200



  • Arizona Cardinals +805
  • Seattle Seahawks -135
  • Rams or 49ers +145


Covering all four options for the best route, I came up with the following:

  • Arizona Cardinals +1700 (bookmaker)
  • Seattle Seahawks +120 (Sportsbook)
  • Rams or 49ers +145 (

Note: TheGreek’s betting options cover both teams. If either Team wins the division title, the bet wins; otherwise, it loses. Considering I don’t need to risk betting twice, this is a better bet than betting on the teams individually (trust me, I did the math).

What’s so great about this market? Let’s take a look now. Let’s continue with the same calculation as before, converting each Team’s odds into breakeven percentages. Doing this, I get the following:

  • Arizona Cardinals = 5.55%
  • Seattle Seahawks = 45.45%
  • Rams or 49ers = 40.82%

The excess is 91.82%. Here we have an arbitrage opportunity. We could bet on all three lines to profit no matter which Team wins. To know how much to bet on each Team, Google searched for an “arbitrage calculator.”

Let’s start with the lowest odds bet. If Sportsbook allowed us to bet $500 on the Seahawks +120, we could bet $448.98 on the Ram/49ers +145 on TheGreek and $61.11 on the Cardinals +1700 on the Bookmaker. Total spend is $1,010.09. Regardless of which Team wins, the return is $1,100, which means a guaranteed profit of $89.91 (8.9011% ROI).

Two clarifications again:

  1. Here’s a real example; all three bets are available as I write this.
  2. +EV bets found without the possibility of arbitrage. If you pull lines from multiple betting sites and limit the market appropriately, you can measure a team’s true odds of winning.
  3. Convert these probabilities into a line and bet on any option better than the line you calculated using the cumulative market price.

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