No, the books aren’t fooled.
Oddsmakers show healthy regard and lofty expectations for the Los Angeles Chargers to win the Super Bowl next year, despite the fact they did not reach the playoffs last season.
The Chargers are in the top tier in the Futures section both at DraftKings and FanDuel.
Here are the latest betting odds at DraftKings.
Chargers Super Bowl odds at DraftKings
The Buffalo Bills are +600.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are +700.
The Green Bay Packers are +1000.
The Kansas City Chiefs are +1000.
The world-champion Los Angeles Rams are +1000.
And right behind them are the Chargers are +1400.
The Chargers are the highest-rated non-playoff team from last year on the entire board.
Another story unfolds behind the numbers assigned to other teams, all of whom did make the post-season last year. They all have longer odds than the Chargers.
The San Francisco 49ers, who lost in the NFC finals to the Rams, are +1600.
The Dallas Cowboys, who won the NFC East, are +1800.
The Cincinnati Bengals, one defensive stop away from winning the Super Bowl last year, are +2000. That’s revealing. A team that actually was in the Super Bowl has longer betting odds than a team that did not reach the playoffs.
The Las Vegas Raiders, who knocked the Chargers from the post-season with a last-second overtime field goal in the final game, are +4000.
The New England Patriots, who fashioned a seven-game win streak in the middle of last year and lost to the Buffalo Bills in the first playoff round, are +5000. They won 10 games and beat the Chargers along the way. Yet the Patriots are a light-year’s type of longshot compared to the Chargers, who won nine games.
The Pittsburgh Steelers, who reached the playoffs because the Chargers lost to the Raiders, are +8000.
How about that one? Under normal circumstances, teams that needed a tiebreak to determine a playoff spot would be close to each other in terms of betting odds. And yes, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger retired.
But this still means that the team which reached the post-season ahead of the Chargers is nearly six times less likely to win it all.
Chargers Super Bowl odds at FanDuel
While the DraftKings odds reflect respect for the Chargers, the FanDuel numbers will appeal to book shoppers.
The Chargers are up to +1600 here. On a $100 wager, that’s a $200 differential from the +1400 at DraftKings.
Fan Duel has:
- Buffalo at +650
- Tampa Bay at +750
- Kansas City at +950
- The Rams at +1100
- Green Bay at +1300
- The Chargers at +1600
The FanDuel wrinkle thus puts a little more value on the Rams, Packers and Chargers.
Going beyond the Super Bowl bets
Winning the conference usually pays about half of what the Super Bowl odds are. It’s a nice consolation prize for coming close and is a good price to reward bettors who made a strong analysis of that team several months in advance.
In the AFC at DraftKings:
- The Bills are +300
- The Chiefs are +600
- The Chargers are +750, third in the conference.
- Buffalo is +350
- Kansas City is +500
- The Chargers are +850, also third.
Another bet to consider now:
Chargers projected win totals
Both DraftKings and FanDuel project the Chargers with 10 victories, one more than last year.
The “over” bettors will find more value at Fan Duel, which has them -110 either way.
The “under” bettors will prefer DraftKings, which has a price of +105. The “over” is -125.
This is a fair, squared-odds wager. While there may not be an edge, that’s better than “over” bettors seeing the win total get reduced by half a game and the juice shooting up to an unplayable -140 or -150. This happens to a fair number of teams.
Bettors can wait for their opening. In the Philadelphia market, for example, DraftKings initially had the Eagles at -150 for over 9 wins. The total was adjusted to 9.5 with the odds of -120 more likely to entice action.
What the books are seeing
Justin Herbert is a bonafide star.
It was apparent well before his numerous fourth-down acrobatics to force two late scoring drives in the Raiders game.
It’s been apparent from the time he joined the league. Perfect drop-back passer, a playmaker. He projects the poise of a Dan Marino, the arm of a Joe Namath, the guile of a Peyton Manning or Tom Brady.
He’s taking some team all the way, some day. All this team needs are the pieces around him.
That’s what the books appear to be saying.
There is an expectation that the Chargers will not drop three of their last four games in 2022 like they did last year.
The books believe the Chargers may break through.