What Is Outright Betting? How Does Futures Betting Work?

What is outright betting? Put simply, outright betting is when a wager is placed on the overall winner of a league, competition, or tournament. In short, it’s a longer-term bet based on the final outcome of an event.

Join us as our betting experts explain in-depth everything there is to know about outright betting – including how it relates to all major US sports, such as the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, horse racing, and golf. This includes extensive analysis and research on the topic, breaking it down in simple terms, plus how best to wager the futures betting markets.

Here is everything you need to know about outright betting, per our dedicated SportsTalkPhilly experts.

How Does Outright Betting Work?

Outright betting is the term given to a wager on the overall winner of a competition or tournament. It is a form of futures bet and is usually long-term.

The concept of outright betting is for gamblers to wager in advance on the outcome of a particular event. This could be anything from the Kentucky Derby in horse racing, the Super Bowl in the NFL to the World Series in the MLB, and the World Cup in soccer – there are so many options.

This futures betting market is available for any sports tournament or event with three or more competitors.

And because the bet type is usually long-term, you’ll often get big odds. For instance, backing an NBA team to win the NBA Finals before the regular season has even started is a long-term outright bet, so it’ll attract high odds.

Some more examples of outright bets would be backing an NFL team to win the Super Bowl before the start of the season. Or punting on a golfer to win The Masters before any groups have begun on the first day.

Note that the outright betting markets for a league competition will usually be open and available until that event is over and there is an ‘outright’ winner. This means you can still bet on the Super Bowl ‘futures’ market through the season.

However, the prices on each team will fluctuate after each round of games. The team performing well during the season will see their outright betting lines shortened while the odds of struggling sides will get bigger.

Outright Betting Is Also Referred To as ‘Futures’

Some of the best US sportsbooks refer to ‘outright betting’ as ‘futures.’ Note that both mean the same thing.

With both outright betting and futures, you’re essentially wagering a bet on the outcome or result of a long-term event.

‘Futures’ is used more commonly in the US, while ‘outright betting’ is more popular in Europe and the UK.

Future Betting Example

An example of a futures bet could be predicting who will win The Masters in 2024 prior to the start of the competition. Below are BetOnline’s pre-tournament odds on each golfer to win the 2024 Masters tournament.

Outright Betting in Golf

As you can see, futures betting is an early market for a particular competition. In this case, for golf, the outright odds on The Masters have Scottie Scheffler as the +500 favorite. Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are +1200 joint second favorites.

Say, Shane Lowry, who is priced at +4500 in the futures market, shoots a -8 first round and is the leader after Day 1 of The Masters, his odds will massively shorten. This is why betting on future markets in advance can be beneficial for bettors, who will likely secure the best prices.

More Examples Of An Outright Bet

MLB World Series

Another example of an outright betting market would be wagering on the World Series in baseball. With this type of outright bet, bettors are wagering on which MLB team they think could go all the way to win the World Series come the season finale.

Below are BetOnline’s pre-tournament odds for the World Series outright market. The Los Angeles Dodgers are the +325 favorites to win the 2024 World Series, with the Atlanta Braves second favorites at +500.

Outright Betting in the MLB

A team like the Texas Rangers, who won the World Series in 2023, are priced at +1400 in the futures market to go back-to-back and win another World Series this year. However, should they have a strong start in the West Division, like they managed last year, their odds will drop as the season progresses.

Thus, betting on a futures market such as the 2024 World Series Odds to Win pre-tournament is an incredibly popular market for gamblers. This is because it provides the best odds in the long term and is a simple market to understand.

NFL Super Bowl

Betting on the outcome of the NFL and the eventual Super Bowl LIX (Super Bowl 2025) champions is another example of an outright bet.

Super Bowl LVIII saw the Kansas City Chiefs win their second successive Vince Lombardi Trophy. It comes as no surprise to learn that Travis Kelce, Patrick Mahomes, and co are the outright favorites in the futures win market to taste Super Bowl success once again in 2025.

Outright Betting in the NFL

Backing the Chiefs to win the 2025 Super Bowl in the pre-tournament outright market will provide better odds than betting on the defending champions during the postseason. This is why some bettors prefer placing their future bets well in advance, taking full advantage of the higher odds.

A $50 bet on the Kansas City Chiefs to win Super Bowl LIX at +500 would return $325. However, say they made it to the Super Bowl come February, their odds would be far shorter. They were priced at +125 to win Super Bowl LVIII, so you can see that betting in advance on the futures win market could be a valuable option.

What Are The Pros and Cons Of Outright Betting?

Like anything in betting, there are both positives and negatives to outright betting. Below we outline some of the most prominent advantages of outright betting, as well as some potential drawbacks of future betting.

Outright Betting Advantages

One of the most obvious pros of outright betting is better and higher odds. As you are making a wagering selection in advance of a future event, you will likely get better value on your chosen bet.

Outright betting also affords you plenty of time to study statistics and do your own research. The more research and analysis you put into a potential bet, the more informed a selection you can make.

Another positive of future betting is the cash-out option. You can cash out your outright bets early and get a portion of the winnings if you’re not feeling too confident about your wager.

In short, the following are three of the main advantages of futures betting:

  • Better odds
  • Ample time to study stats
  • Cash-out early

Outright Betting Negatives

Possibly the biggest drawback of outright betting is that your money is tied up in an account on a bet for a long period of time. Say you back a team to win the Super Bowl right at the beginning of the season, you will have to wait months to see if your bet is deemed a winner or not.

Not to mention the fact that outright betting often has extremely limited markets. As you are placing a bet well in advance of a future event, the number of outright markets is limited compared to pre-match and in-play betting.

Your bets also take a long time to settle. Similar to having your money tied up for longer, all outright bets take a longer period of time to be completed.

Instead of an in-play bet or pre-match bet, where you will know whether your selection has won or lost in a matter of minutes or hours, outright betting means you have to be patient and ride it out until your bet has settled.

In short, the following are three of the main disadvantages of futures betting:

  • Money tied up for longer
  • Limited markets
  • Takes time to settle

How Does An Outright Bet Win?

For an outright bet to win, the prediction must be correct. It’s as simple as that. Whatever outright bet you have chosen on whichever sport will be deemed a winning wager if, indeed, your selected team/player/individual wins their respective future event.

Outright bets are wagers placed on the winner of an event. This means that there is no grey area – your bet wins or loses.

Your outright bet will be deemed a loser if the team/individual you have selected to win doesn’t.

Futures betting is one of the most straightforward and easy-to-understand markets for sports wagering.

It’s really not much different from backing a team or player in an individual game to win – you are doing the same but just over a competition, event, or a series of games.

Can You Bet Each-Way On Outright Betting?

Another positive of outright betting is the fact that you aren’t just limited to betting on the win market. Betting each way is another option for gamblers looking to place their outright bets.

Each-way betting is simply two separate bets in one. One part of the bet is on your selection to win, and the other bet is on your selection to place.

Outright each-way betting is particularly popular in horse racing, golf, and longer-term events such as the World Championships at the snooker and darts.

Betting each-way on an outright market will ultimately shorten the odds and double the cost of your bet. However, it means you are covering yourself should your selection not win outright.

Note that an each-way bet will double your stake as you are betting on the win and the place. So, a $5 e/w wager will cost $10 in total.

Each-way Betting Example

For example, in golf at The Masters, if you place an outright each-way bet on Jordan Spieth to win, you are betting on him to both win and to place. Depending on the sportsbook’s terms, they may pay out up to 10 places.

This means if Spieth comes in a tie for eighth, for example, the win part of your futures bet would lose, but the place bet would win. This is one way you can win with each-way outright betting.

Should Spieth win the Masters, and you backed him each way, you will be paid out twice – once for the win and once for the place. However, if he finished in the places (based on your sportsbook’s terms), you will only be paid for the place, which is normally a % the win price.

Of course, should he finish unplaced, then you’d lose both each-way bets.

NFL Outright Betting Explained

Outright betting in the NFL could be many things. The most popular outright bets in football are, of course, the Super Bowl winners and the MVP winner.

Betting outright on the 2025 Super Bowl winner is an example of a popular NFL outright bet. The prices given to each team prior to the start of the campaign are usually based on their performances in the previous season.

For example, the Kansas City Chiefs are understandably the outright favorites to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy once again in 2025, retaining the title. This is an example of NFL outright betting.

NBA Outright Betting Explained

Just like NFL outright betting, wagering on futures markets in the NBA is extremely popular. An example of an NBA outright bet would be wagering on who will be crowned NBA champions come the end of the season.

As you can see in the below example, the Boston Celtics are the +210 favorites to win the NBA Finals. This is just one example of NBA outright betting, but there are other popular markets, too, such as betting on the MVP, conference futures, and other outright betting markets.

Outright Betting in the NBA

NHL Outright Betting Explained

Futures betting in the NHL can be as simple as wagering on the outright winner of the Stanley Cup. It can also be a whole host of other markets, such as the outright conference winner, outright division winner, or the NHL Presidents’ Trophy winner, among other markets.

Using the outright Stanley Cup winner as an example, you can see below that the Florida Panthers are the favorites to win the 2024 Stanley Cup prior to the start of the competition. The Colorado Avalanche, Edmonton Oilers,  and Carolina Hurricanes are the next three ice hockey teams who are favorites to win the Stanley Cup.

Outright Betting in the NHL

MLB Outright Betting Explained

MLB outright betting is mainly betting on who will win the World Series come the post-season. As explained further up this page, outright betting, such as wagering on the World Series is an extremely popular type of bet with baseball fans.

MLB outright bets can be placed well in advance of the beginning of the season or as the MLB season progresses. Of course, as the season progresses, the shorter the outright odds will be.

Tennis Outright Betting Explained

Outright betting in tennis can come in many different forms. It can involve predicting who will win any Tennis tournament, such as popular ones like US Open, Wimbledon, Australian Open, French Open, and so on. There are also other outright betting markets in Tennis.

For example, betting on Novak Djokovic to win the US Open is a tennis outright bet. Similarly, betting on Carlos Alcaraz to reach the final is another example of a tennis futures bet.

Below are BetOnline’s pre-tournament futures odds ahead of the 2024 Mens’ Wimbledon.

Outright Betting in Tennis

Golf Outright Betting Explained

The most popular outright golf bet is, of course, betting on a tournament winner, such as which player will win the four major championships.

However, outright betting in golf doesn’t stop there. It can also include betting on who will make the cut, the Top 10, who will lead after each round, etc. These are just some examples of the most popular futures betting markets in golf.

Below are BetOnline’s outright betting odds ahead of the US Open 2024.

Outright Betting in Golf (US Open)

Soccer Futures Betting Explained

Outright betting in soccer is one of the most popular markets for soccer bettors. The sheer amount of games that are played and the various different markets to bet on make it an attractive proposition for gamblers. Moreover, soccer is actually the second most popular sport to bet on in America (behind basketball and ahead of football).

Whether betting outright on the winner of an individual match, teams to get relegated, champions of a competition, or the next manager to get appointed, there are so many examples of outright betting in soccer.

Take the MLS for example. A futures MLS bet could be betting on who will win the league come the end of the season. Similarly, betting on who will get relegated, who will finish in the Top 4, who will win the MLS Golden Boot, or who will win the Cup competitions are all examples of soccer outright bets.

Below are just some examples of futures betting in soccer:

MLS Winner

Betting on a team to win the MLS is an example of a popular soccer outright betting market. For this bet, you are simply wagering on who you think will be crowned MLS Champions come the end of the season.

If you think David Beckham’s Inter Miami with Lionel Messi and co will go all the way and win the MLS, then betting on that is an example of an outright soccer bet.


Another popular outright betting example in soccer is betting on the relegation race. For example, betting on who will get relegated from the English Premier League could be a popular market for futures soccer betting.

This is an example of an outright soccer bet that doesn’t involve the winners of an event. Others include betting on who will finish in the top half of the table, who will finish second, who will reach a final in a cup competition, or which team will qualify for a certain tournament.

Golden Boot

Betting on the Golden Boot winner is another example of soccer outright betting. Whether it be the Premier League, MLS, World Cup, Copa America, or any soccer tournament, the Golden Boot market is a popular one and is an example of soccer outright betting.

Betting on Erling Haaland to win the Premier League Golden Boot, Kylian Mbappe to win the European Championships Golden Boot, and Lionel Messi to win the World Cup Golden Boot are all examples of futures bets in soccer.

Ballon d’Or

Betting on the Ballon d’Or winner is a simple yet popular outright soccer bet. This is a straightforward bet, as only one player will be crowned the Ballon d’Or winner each year.

For example, betting on Kylian Mbappe to win the 2025 Ballon d’Or will likely be a popular futures bet in soccer.

Next Manager/Club Markets

Another example of soccer outright betting could be wagering on who the next manager will be at a club. When a manager is sacked, the bookmakers are usually quick to offer prices on which manager will be next in the hot seat.

Similarly, if a player is rumored to be leaving a club, betting on who their next club will be is another popular outright betting example in soccer.

Horse Racing Outright and Ante-Post Betting Explained

Outright betting in horse racing is also known as ante-post betting. It includes betting outright on the winners of the Kentucky Derby, the Belmont Stakes, or the Preakness Stakes, amongst plenty of other races.

Betting outright on horse racing simply means backing your selected horse to win the race. This is unless you have backed it each-way, of course. Futures betting in horse racing can often provide incredible odds, especially if bettors place their wagers in advance.

If your selected horse doesn’t make it to the race for whatever reason, it will be deemed a losing wager. Similarly, if your horse runs the race but comes second and you have backed it outright to win, it is also a losing bet slip.

Below is an example of outright betting odds in horse racing.

Outright Betting in Horse Racing

What Are the Best Outright Betting Tips, Hints and Strategies?

Having gone extremely in-depth on almost every popular US sport and how outright betting works in each one, we thought it best to provide some final tips, hints, and strategies for futures betting.

Do Your Research

One of the most obvious tips when it comes to outright betting is doing your research. No matter what sport you are thinking of betting on, make sure you have done your research and can back up your picks with statistics and facts to strengthen your case. It’s better than just having a hunch.

In horse racing, this could mean researching past trends on previous winners, where the race is, track record and recent form. Similarly, in soccer, this could mean form, head-to-head record, home/away form, and injuries.

Again, the same can be said for a sport like Golf. Certain players will play better at certain courses and poorly at others. It is important to do your research before placing your futures bets.

Shop Around For The Best Price

Shopping around for the best price means you can earn more winnings should your selection win. So if you are backing Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez to win a fight via knockout at +200 with BetOnline, but Bovada are offering odds of +260 for the exact same bet, it would be worth your while placing your boxing wager with Bovada.

Don’t Limit Yourself To One Selection

Another tip when it comes to outright betting is the option of wagering on more than one selection. This means that you are increasing your chances of winning, depending on how many selections you have made in one individual event.

Take horse racing, for example. The more horses you back in one race, the more likely you are to have selected the winner. Of course, this could mean you’ll potentially lose more on the other losing horses, but not necessarily.

Instead of putting $50 on one horse in a race, say, you could back three or four with a $15 stake instead. That way, you are wagering roughly the same amount but have covered more bases. If you think a race involving 16 horses will come down to just two potential winners, then why not back both?

Chances are you will still make a tidy profit, depending on the odds offered and your initial outlay.

Cashing Out

Most US sportsbooks will also allow cashing out in the outright betting market, which is great too.

This means you can trade out of your bet for a profit if the odds move your way.

For example, if you’ve backed the Chiefs to win the Super Bowl at the start of the season at 6/1 and they are now 3/1 halfway through the campaign, you could trade out your stake for a three-point profit.

  • Bet on Chiefs at 6/1 for $100 ($600 winnings)
  • Cash Out at 3/1 for $100 ($300 loss)
  • This means you can get your $100 stake back and be left with a $300 risk-free bet on the Chiefs should they go on to win the Super Bowl.

Four Best Tips For Futures Betting

In conclusion, here are some of the best futures betting tips to consider:

  • Do your research
  • Shop around for the best price
  • Don’t limit yourself to one selection (double, treble, parlay, etc.)
  • Don’t forget about the cashout option
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