Betting on MLS futures

Logo_Soccer_MLS 64x64

How do MLS futures work?

MLS futures allow you to bet on important components of the season that are usually only confirmed once it has finished. For instance, you can wager on which team will win the MLS Cup or Eastern and Western Conferences, or which player will win the Golden Boot or MVP award.

As highlighted, MLS futures can apply to both teams and players, and sportsbooks often make them available to bet on both before and during the season. As a result, the odds in such markets can change significantly over the course of it, depending on factors such as a team or player’s form, transfers, injuries, and suspensions, as well as who or what other bettors are wagering on.

This means betting on MLS futures comes with further considerations than if you were simply wagering on a single game, and timing your bets right is crucial is getting to good value from the odds. If you’re confident that the Vancouver Whitecaps will win the MLS Cup, any bet on them to do so will be far more profitable if it is made at the start of the season, than a day or two before the Final. You need to judge when you feel is the best time to place your futures bet.

Soccer_MLS_Ismael Kone
© Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The best MLS sportsbooks


Popular MLS futures

MLS Cup winner futures

Betting on the MLS Cup winner is as it sounds – you’re wagering on which team will win the MLS Cup and therefore be crowned champions for that season. Sportsbooks will offer odds on every single team to win the MLS Cup at the start of the season, which will then change as the regular season progresses and frontrunners and playoff contenders emerge.

Naturally, the favorites for this market will be a combination of teams broadly considered to be among the strongest in the league, as well as those who are in particularly good form. As a result, this can be a tough market to find value in, but there are still things you can look for to help identify potential winners.

The structure of the MLS season means that to win the MLS Cup, a team needs to have a good enough regular season to finish within the top half of their conference and qualify for the playoffs, and then also make it through the difficult knockout games the latter entails. Try to identify teams that possess both impressive squad depth and experience of big knockout games, particularly those with a manager or head coach who has highlighted their ability to consistently achieve deep playoff runs.

MLS conference winner futures

If attempting to predict the MLS Cup winner feels too daunting a task, you can half the pool by betting on which team will win the Eastern or Western Conference. The conference champions are decided by the Conference Finals during the MLS playoffs, meaning you still have the option to wager on this market even during the latter stages of the campaign.

Your considerations for this market should still be the same as when betting on the MLS Cup winner, just simply within one of the two conferences. Look out for teams with a proven track record across both league and knockout play, particularly those capable of frequently earning results against what are rated as the conference’s stronger teams. The latter point is particularly important, as it is not uncommon for a team who did not finish top of the regular season conference standings to go on to become conference champions.

MLS Supporters' Shield winner futures

Every MLS season, the team with the best regular season record across both conferences is awarded the Supporters’ Shield. While the favorites for this market will likely be similar to those rated as in contention to win the MLS Cup, it is arguably easier to call, as it does not involve the potential unpredictability and straight knockout eliminations of playoff games.

The obvious starting point when considering your bets for this market is to look at who has consistently proved their ability to maintain form throughout the regular season. It is worth remembering that the team that wins the Supporters’ Shield also qualifies for the CONCACAF Champions League, so often teams will continue to field strong line-ups in an attempt to top the overall MLS standings, even after they have already qualified for the playoffs.

MLS Golden Boot winner futures

MLS Golden Boot futures offer odds on players to score the most goals in MLS that season.

The favorites for this market will include strikers with an established track record of scoring lots of goals in MLS, as well as any world-class or notable forwards that teams may have just signed from other leagues.

When selecting a player for this market, always remember to review their injury record. Players will naturally have a better chance of scoring more goals if they play more matches and while a forward may be the best in MLS on paper, they will struggle to win the Golden Boot if they spend most of the season in the physio room.

You should also check whether a player is the main penalty taker for their team and how many penalties their team tends to get, as this could provide them with a reliable source of goals throughout the campaign.

Soccer_MLS_Valentin Castellanos celebrates
© Mark Smith-USA TODAY Sports
MLS awards futures

Every season, you can bet on which players and coaches will win the major MLS awards. While the MLS awards futures sportsbooks offer may wary, the most popular to bet on include:

  • MVP winner: Every year, the Landon Donovan Most Valuable Player (MVP) award is given to the MLS player considered to be the best performer in the league that season. The favorites for this market often include the offensive and defensive players with the most goals and clean sheets respectively, as well as players deemed to significantly helped their team to success or performing above expectations.

  • Young Player of the Year winner: The Young Player of the Year (formally known as Rookie of the Year) award is given to the best MLS player that season aged 22 years or younger.

  • Coach of the Year winner: This award is given to the best performing coach that season, as voted for by players, club personnel, and members of the media.

MLS futures FAQs

What MLS futures market has the best value?
Where can I get the best odds for MLS futures markets?
Why do MLS futures odds change during the season?

BET.CA's soccer guides are written by our in-house team, all of whom are passionate and knowledgeable soccer fans. They actively follow soccer throughout the season, meaning they can help you out with improving your understanding of betting on the EPL, World Cup, and MLS.

BET.CA staff
BET.CA staff