From March Madness to the NBA Finals, betting on futures is a popular way to wager on the end-of-season outcomes for both the NBA and college basketball. We’ve provided important dates, information, tips, and the legal online sportsbooks you should know before betting on future odds for the 2018-19 NBA and NCAA Basketball seasons.

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Types of NBA Futures Currently Available For The

2018-19 NBA Season

Here are the types of futures bets currently given odds by most sportsbooks for the 2018-19 NBA season.  On our NBA futures betting page we have listed specific odds for these categories and will keep them updated on a weekly basis.

2019 NBA Finals

  • Odds to Win the 2019 NBA Championship
  • Early Line: 2019 NBA Championship Won by Eastern Conference team or Western Conference team

2019 NBA Playoffs

  • Odds to Win the Eastern Conference
  • Odds to Win the Western Conference
  • Odds to Make the NBA Playoffs for Each NBA team

2018-19 NBA Regular Season

  • Eastern Conference
    • Odds to Win the Atlantic Division
    • Odds to Win the Central Division
    • Odds to Win the Southeast Division
  • Western Conference
    • Odds to Win the Northwest Division
    • Odds to Win the Pacific Division
    • Odds to Win the Southwest Division
  • Over/Under: Total Regular Season Wins for Each NBA team

2018-19 NBA Players

  • Odds to Win the 2018-19 NBA Most Valuable Player Award
  • Odds to Win the 2018-19 NBA Rookie of the Year Award

Important Dates for 2018-19 NBA Futures

Before placing a futures bet on the 2018-19 NBA season, check the dates below, so you know exactly when the wager’s outcome will be decided. Timing is a significant factor when choosing to go with futures bets.  The earlier you place your bet, the larger the payout is, but also the riskier the bet is because it really is a guess. As you get closer to any of the dates below, the risk factor decreases, but so does the payout.  The good news is that if you do want to take a stab at it and place a futures bet, this is one wagering scenario where you can place a small bet and receive a larger payout than taking the traditional lines that are less risky.

2018

  • September 28 – NBA Preseason begins
  • October 5 – NBA China Games 2018 in Shanghai: Dallas Mavericks vs Philadelphia 76ers
  • October 8 – NBA China Games 2018 in Shenzhen: Dallas Mavericks vs. Philadelphia 76ers
  • October 12 – NBA Preseason ends
  • October 16 – NBA Tip-Off 2018: Start of the 2018-19 NBA Regular Season
  • December 13 – NBA Mexico City Games 2018: Orlando Magic vs. Chicago Bulls
  • December 15 – NBA Mexico City Games 2018: Orlando Magic vs. Utah Jazz
  • December 25 – Christmas Day Games:
    • Milwaukee Bucks vs. New York Knicks, 12 noon ET on ESPN
    • Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Houston Rockets, 3pm ET on ABC
    • Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers, 5:30pm ET on ABC
    • Los Angeles Lakers vs. Golden State Warriors, 8pm ET on ESPN
    • Portland Trail Blazers vs. Utah Jazz, 10:30pm ET on ESPN

2019

  • January 17 – NBA London Game 2019: New York Knicks vs. Washington Wizards
  • February 7 – NBA Trade Deadline at 3 p.m. ET
  • February 15-17 – NBA All-Star Weekend 2019
  • April 10 – End of the 2018-19 NBA Regular Season
  • April 13 – NBA Playoffs 2019 begins
  • May TBD – NBA Playoffs 2019 concludes
  • June TBD – 2019 NBA Finals

The NBA Format

Knowing NBA format is important because without it a futures bettor wouldn’t know how the outcome of a bet is decided. Here is the format for the 2018-19 NBA season.

  • 30 NBA teams in total
  • 15 Eastern Conference teams/15 Western Conference teams
  • Eastern Conference Divisions: Atlantic, Central, Southeast
  • Western Conference Divisions: Northwest, Pacific, Southwest
  • Each team plays an 82-game regular season schedule
  • Teams with the best overall record win their division
  • 16 teams make playoffs –
  • 8 Eastern teams with the best overall record and 8 Western teams with the best overall record
  • Teams are seeded No.1-No.8 in a fixed double bracket
  • 4 rounds in total and each round is a best-of-seven series
  • Series are played in a 2-2-1-1-1 format: Higher seed gets home court in games 1, 2, 5, 7 and lower seed gets home court in games 3, 4, 6

Types of Futures Currently Available For The

2018-19 NCAAM Basketball

Below are the types of futures many sportsbooks are offering odds on for the 2018-19 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball season. There are only two types currently available, but we will update this section as sportsbooks display more types of odds.

2019 NCAA Tournament

  • Odds to Win the 2019 National Championship
  • Odds to Reach the Final Four

Important Dates for 2018-19 NCAA Men’s Basketball Futures

College basketball has many important dates to keep in mind when betting on futures, and here are the most important dates for NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball in 2018-19. As mentioned before, the earlier you place a bet, the riskier the bet is therefore the higher the payout.  Waiting for stability and less risk can be reassuring, but will also yield a significantly smaller payout.

2018

  • November 6 – Start of the 2018-19 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Regular Season
  • November 15-December 25 – Early Regular Season Tournaments
  • 2K Sports Classic: November 15-16
  • Puerto Rice Tip-Off: November 15-16, 18
  • Charleston Classic: November 15-16, 18
  • The Islands of the Bahamas Showcase: November 16-18
  • Jamaica Classic: November 16-18
  • Paradise Jam Tournament: November 16-19
  • Hall of Fame Tip Off: November 17-18
  • Vancouver Showcase: November 18-20
  • CBE Hall of Fame Classic: November 19-20
  • Legends Classic: November 19-20
  • Cayman Islands Classic: November 19-21
  • Gulf Coast Showcase: November 19-21
  • Maui Invitational: November 19-21
  • MGM Resorts Main Event: November 19, 21
  • Cancun Challenge: November 20-21
  • Battle 4 Atlantis: November 21-23
  • NIT Season Tip-Off: November 22-23
  • Las Vegas Invitational: November 22-23
  • AdvoCare Invitational: November 22-23, 25
  • Wooden Legacy: November 22-23, 25
  • Barclays Center Classic: November 23-24
  • Emerald Coast Classic: November 23-24
  • Belfast Basketball Classic: November 29-December 1
  • Las Vegas Classic: December 21-22
  • Diamond Head Classic: December 22-23, 25

2019

  • March 10 – End of the 2018-19 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Regular Season
  • March 17 – March Madness Selection Sunday

CBS Sports and Turner Sports will broadcast all games for the 2019 NCAA March Madness Tournament. The Final Four and National Championship will be held at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

  • March 19 – Start of March Madness, First Four
  • March 21-24 – First and Second Rounds
  • March 28-31 – Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight
  • April 6 – Final Four
  • April 8 – National Championship

NCAAM Basketball Format

The format of men’s college basketball is a bit more complex, but here is a breakdown to assist you when betting on college basketball futures.

  • 353 NCAA Division I Men’s basketball teams in total
  • 32 NCAA Division I basketball conferences
  • 68 teams will compete in the NCAA Tournament aka “March Madness”
  • 32 conference tournament winners receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament
  • Remaining 36 at-large teams are chosen by the NCAA Selection Committee
  • NCAA Selection Committee seeds the four regions in fixed single-elimination bracket from No.1-No.68
  • First Four: 8 teams complete in 4 play-in games with 2 matchups between the lowest-seeded at-large teams and 2 matchups between the lowest-seeded automatic bid teams – 4 winners advance to the Round of 64
  • Round of 64: 4 regions each with 16 teams – highest seed plays lowest seed and winners advance to the Round of 32
    • 1 vs. No.16
    • 2 vs. No.15
    • 3 vs. No.14
    • 4 vs. No.13
    • 5 vs. No.12
    • 6 vs. No.11
    • 7 vs. No.10
    • 8 vs. No.9
  • Round of 32: 4 regions each with 8 teams – winners advance to the Sweet Sixteen
  • Sweet Sixteen: 4 regions each with 4 teams – winners advance to the Elite Eight
  • Elite Eight: 4 regions each with 2 teams – winners advance to the Final Four
  • Final Four: semifinal round with the 4 region winners – 2 winners advance to the National Championship
  • National Championship: final round between the 2 Final Four winners – winner is named the NCAA National Champion

NBA vs. College Basketball – Differences when Betting on Futures

While the college and pro game of basketball share many similarities, how they are different is more important when betting on futures. Here are three reasons why:

  1. Odds of Picking a Winner: In the NBA, 16 of 30 (53.3%) teams will make the playoffs which gives nearly more than half the league a realistic chance to win it all. However, in college basketball, 68 of 353 (19.3%) teams will play in March Madness, which makes picking a futures winner much harder to nail down before the season starts.
  2. Chalk and Upsets: Picking the NBA winner is traditionally a “chalk” bet, meaning one of the top 5 favorites tend to win the finals, even less so with the Golden State Warriors being favored the past two seasons, winning both titles. On the other hand, picking the winner of March Madness is maddening because of little information on smaller teams and roster changeover due to the “one-and-done” rule. No one saw No.16 seed University of Maryland, Baltimore County beating No.1 overall seed Virginia in 2018, becoming the first No.16 seed to advance and pulling off the biggest upset in college basketball history in the process.
  3. Tortoise and the Hare: The NBA has much higher scoring due to the shot clock being shorter (24 seconds compared to 30 seconds) and game length (48 minutes compared to 40 minutes), which encourages faster play, meaning the more talented, athletic, and (likely) favored teams have a better shot at winning. In college basketball, it’s easier to “milk the clock” since possessions are longer which allows slower-pace, protect-the-ball strategies to work. Teams who are more talented are not afforded too many mistakes because the lesser team can hold the ball longer, running out the clock and closing out the win.

Basketball Futures FAQs

Q: What is basketball futures betting?

A: Betting on futures in basketball means you’re placing a bet in advance, sometimes weeks or months, getting worse odds with the potential for a bigger payout.

Q: Why place a futures bet on basketball?

A: When the outcome of a season becomes more apparent, the odds for favorited basketball teams winning it all go up, meaning the payout goes down. However, if a team is wagered on before the start of the season or playoffs then they are given worse odds, but the payout is significantly higher since the outcome of the bet is more uncertain.

Q: Where can I bet on basketball futures?

A: We recommend the online sportsbooks at the top of the page. We have reviewed each one and can ensure they are 100% legal, safe, and guarantee payouts for all winning bets on futures.

Q: Can you legally wager on basketball futures?

A: Yes. There are no federal laws in the United States preventing wagers on basketball futures at online legally-licensed, offshore sportsbooks.

Q: When do odds on basketball futures come out?

A: Typically, sportsbooks release odds for next year’s immediately following the conclusion of the championship game. Odds not championship related release as the season gets closer.