Making futures bets on teams is left to the recreational bettor

The Chargers' odds to win next year's Super Bowl would improve if they sign soon-to-be free agent quarterback Tom Brady.
(Maddie Meyer / Getty Images)

Though the teams in this season’s Super Bowl haven’t even been determined, futures odds are already up in Las Vegas for the 2021 NFL championship game.

The Rams went on the board at 25-1 at Caesars Palace and 30-1 at the Westgate. The Chargers are 30-1 at both spots.

There’s not much difference between 25-1 and 30-1. The first has a win-percentage equivalent of 3.8%, the latter 3.2%. Remember, sportsbooks build a universe larger than 100% on futures to create their house edge.

The Rams and Chargers are expected to contend for the playoffs next season but are long shots to lift the Lombardi Trophy, pending personnel developments. The Chargers would climb the board if chatter about Tom Brady moving west proves true.


Atop the NFL 2020-21 board at Caesars: Kansas City 6-1 (14%), Baltimore 7-1 (12.5%), San Francisco 8-1 (11%), New Orleans 11-1 (8%), New England 14-1 (7%), Pittsburgh 15-1 (6%).

At the Westgate: Kansas City 7-1 (12.5%), San Francisco 8-1 (11%), Baltimore 8-1 (11%), New Orleans 10-1 (9%), New England 12-1 (8%), Pittsburgh 12-1 (8%), Dallas 16-1 (6%).

Nick Bosa, son of former NFL defensive end John Bosa and younger brother of Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa, isn’t playing like a rookie in his first NFL playoffs.

If you’re wondering how to calculate percentage equivalents of betting odds for your own use, simply divide the number on the right (denominator) by the sum of the two numbers. For odds of 25-1, 1 divided by 26 is .038, or 3.8%.

Those of you new to sports betting will find it helpful to map your expectations on a percentage basis. There’s a 100% chance somebody will win the championship. Divvy up that 100% among all 32 teams. When comparing with betting markets, you’ll quickly recognize that few odds offer real value.

These propositions are played mostly by recreational bettors wanting to support their favorite teams. It can be more fun for casual fans than betting their favorite teams to cover point spreads every week. Professional bettors pass or are very choosy.

Fans will see a lot of media coverage of futures prices and Regular Season Win Totals across all sports soon. Sportsbooks have realized offering them early creates national and local publicity. Tourists visiting legal jurisdictions for March Madness can bet on their favorite football or baseball teams months in advance.

With that in mind …

— If you’re a college football fan, Caesars has USC 50-1 and UCLA 200-1 to win next season’s national championship. Clemson is the favorite at 2-1, followed by Ohio State 9-2, Alabama 9-2 and LSU 6-1.

— The Dodgers are 7-1 at Caesars to win the 2020 World Series. That’s well ahead of other National League contenders: St. Louis 12/1, Atlanta 13-1, New York Mets 15-1, Washington 17-1 and Chicago Cubs 18-1.

The L.A. City Council drafted a resolution requesting that MLB take the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros championship trophies and hand them to the Dodgers.

The Angels are 20-1 to throw a parade in 2020, trailing in the American League behind the New York Yankees 7-2, Houston 6-1, Boston 18-1 and Minnesota 18/1.

— Caesars also has Regular Season Win Totals up for all of MLB. With these props, you can bet Over or Under the posted total. The Dodgers went up at 99, meaning Over bettors need at least 100 victories to cash. The Angels are at 85, which makes them wild-card contenders. Risk is typically the standard 11-10 (risk $11 to win $10, or anything in that ratio) unless otherwise posted.

— For seasons in progress, Circa Sports in Las Vegas has the Clippers +145 on the moneyline to win the Western Conference (risk $100 to win $145, or anything in that ratio), with the Lakers at +155. The Clippers are +240, and the Lakers +260 to win the NBA championship.

— In college basketball, USC is 300-1 and UCLA 1000-1 at Circa to win the national championship. In the NHL, the Kings and Ducks are 100-1 to win the Western Conference and 200-1 to capture the Stanley Cup.

Jeff Fogle writes for VSiN, the sports betting network.