Betting on MLB futures

Logo_Baseball_MLB 64x64

How do MLB futures work?

Betting on MLB futures refers to wagering on any long-term market, often meaning that most bets aren’t settled until the season is over. Examples of MLB futures bets include predicting which player will win the MVP award, or which team will win the World Series. The odds for most MLB futures bets are set in the preseason, which is a great place to find value since odds can only be so accurate before regular-season games are actually played.

For example, the Toronto Blue Jays are a young up-and-coming team. They went to the MLB playoffs in 2020 but were quickly eliminated. In 2021, they missed qualifying for the playoffs by a single game. In 2022, they were swept in the wild-card round. Despite this, the Jays had one of the best offenses in baseball and pitching improved as the year went on. Given their current trajectory, placing a futures bet on them to make the MLB playoffs going forward could prove valuable.

MLB futures bets don’t have to be made in preseason and can be wagered throughout the campaign, but the former is usually the smart way to go as the odds will fluctuate throughout the season depending on teams' and players’ performances. On the other hand, that can also be an advantage. For example, if a strong team get off to a slow start, it may not be a bad idea to place a futures bet on them making the MLB playoffs if you believe they are likely to turn things around.

Baseball_MLB_Toronto Blue Jays' Toronto Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia and center fielder Colby Rasmus
© John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The best MLB sportsbooks


Popular MLB futures

MLB division futures

If betting on pennant winners seems too difficult, you can simply bet on MLB division winners instead. Each of MLB’s two conferences is further subdivided into three divisions of five teams each - in the American League, there’s the AL East, AL West, and AL Central, while the National League has the NL East, NL West, and NL Central.

When it comes to MLB futures bets involving division winners, it’s often best to focus on the least competitive divisions, or those who are most frequently dominated by a single team. For example, many baseball bettors would likely prefer to stay away from the AL East, as it is often fiercely contested and features some of the league’s strongest teams. By contrast, the NL East has been won by the Atlanta Braves the last four seasons in a row.

MLB pennant futures

Predicting which team will win each conference’s pennant is one of the most common MLB futures bets. The league is split into two separate conferences: the American League (AL) and the National League (NL). The team that wins their conference that season is awarded with the conference pennant to signify that they are the champions.

Similar to most MLB futures bets, these markets offer odds for teams that will potentially yield a large payout in the event of a win. Some baseball bettors prefer to bet on conference futures as opposed to World Series futures, as it halves the field of potential champions and thereby increases your chances of a successful prediction.

From 2017 to 2022 the AL has been dominated by the Houston Astros, who won three pennants during that five-year span, while in the NL, the Los Angeles Dodgers have also won three pennants in the last five seasons. Conference futures markets often include a field of four to six favorites, and establishing which of these teams you think is the strongest is an obvious starting point for informing your bets.

World Series futures

The most popular MLB betting event of the year is undoubtedly the World Series, which gets attention from casual fans alongside serious baseball bettors. World Series futures allow you to place a bet on which team will win the World Series that season either before and during it, meaning it is perhaps one of the most difficult predictions you can make in baseball.

A popular approach to World Series futures betting is to attempt to map out the playoffs – predict which teams will qualify from both leagues (in which seeds) and who will win from the matchups that would then occur. Winning the World Series requires a team to have both a consistent regular-season campaign and a competitive edge in playoff matches, meaning a strong lineup, deep bullpen, and versatile bench can go a long way.

The timing of your bets is also important, as a team’s odds to win the World Series will also likely fluctuate throughout the season depending on their performances.

Baseball_MLB_Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Chris Martin
© Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
MLB awards futures

There are several different MLB awards given out every season, for which you can bet on the winners. Some of these are voted upon by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA), while others are decided by MLB coaches. MLB Awards with futures markets available include:

  • Most Valuable Player (MVP): Two MVP awards are given to the best performing players in the American League and National League during the regular season.

  • Rookie of the Year: This is given to the best performing players in the AL and NL among those in their debut MLB season.

  • Cy Young Award: This is given to the best pitcher in each conference.

  • Manager of the Year: Awarded to the best manager in each conference.

  • Players’ Choice Awards: These are awards given by the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) for the best player, pitcher, rookie, and comeback player in each conference.

  • Reliever of the Year: Awarded to the best relief pitcher in each conference.

  • Gold Glove: This is given to the players who had the best fielding performances in each conference.

  • Hank Aaron Award: Awarded to the best hitter in each conference that season.

The easiest way to inform your MLB awards futures bets is to look at the relevant stats leaders for that category, as well as to keep track of injury and form reports to track how individual players are performing.

MLB futures FAQs

What are the odds on the Astros winning the World Series?
What are the best MLB futures bets?
Who is favorite to win MLB Rookie of the Year?

BET.CA's baseball guides are produced by our expert writers, whose passion for MLB betting spans decades. They're here to arm you with everything you need to know about Major League Baseball betting.

BET.CA staff
BET.CA staff