Futures bets in NASCAR are basically the same as they are in most other sports. Future wagers are simply a term for making a bet that will not settle until the end of an event or the end of the season. Typically where NASCAR futures are considered they are generally wagers based on who will win the overall championship. The odds for these wagers are usually structured in the same manner as betting on a driver to win a given race.
Long term futures wagers often fluctuate in price as the season progresses and the standings begin to get sorted out. Futures can typically be wagered on at any point during the season, however, once the wager is made the bettor’s odds are locked at the time of bet. Here is an example of a futures wager.
Driver (A) has odds of 10-1 to win the season championship before the first race of the season. Now we fast forward to the middle of the season and driver (A) has won several races, and looks to be the best on the circuit. With their success the odds are reactive and now driver (A) who opened the season at odds of 10-1 is now priced at odds of 6-1 to win the championship.
The decrease in odds can be the result of several different reasons. The first of which could be that the driver (A) is running very well and is genuinely the class of the series at that time. However, another reason could be that the specific sportsbook has a significant amount of liability on driver (A) to win the title, and they are looking to balance their books to the best of their ability.
By the sportsbook lowering driver (A) from 10-1 to now 6-1, they are discouraging wagering on that driver. This is done to limit the house liability on any given driver. With this drop in price on driver (A), there should be an equal reaction in the other direction for another driver or drivers.
Perhaps driver (E) who started the season at odds of 12-1 has now floated up to odds of 15-1. This is done to balance the books by way of attracting more interest based on the new value of driver (E) moving to a better possible payout of 15-1. In theory for every action there should be an equal reaction in the opposite direction. This is not always the case and I strongly recommend when making any wager to shop the driver around for the best possible price. This is part of what separates the hobbyist and the professional handicappers. Again the most important part is that you always stick to your established plan, especially when learning to handicap a new sport. Decisions to move up in stakes should be evaluated at the end of the season.