- The Las Vegas Raiders are the biggest potential liability in Super Bowl futures market at Southern Nevada sportsbooks.
- The Raiders have not won a championship since 1984 when they routed the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XVIII.
- The Raiders lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl XXXVII in 2003–their last appearance in the big game.
The NFL football season officially gets underway on Thursday night as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Dallas Cowboys. That’s just the ‘appetizer’ for the full course meal of football action on Sunday when the NFL season starts in earnest with 14 games on the board. The weekend concludes with a Monday Night Football game featuring the Las Vegas Raiders hosting the Baltimore Ravens from Allegiant Stadium. This is the weekend when action at sportsbooks around the world kicks into full gear–Las Vegas is no exception.
Super Bowl futures odds have been available since just after the end of the 2021 game won by Tampa Bay. Super Bowl LVI will take place on February 13, 2022 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. The two favorites to win the 2022 aren’t much of a surprise–they’re the two teams that played in Super Bowl LV: the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The favorite and second choice varies from one book to another but they all have the Chiefs at Bucs at the top of the board. At BetOnline.ag, the Chiefs have been a slight favorite over the Bucs for most of the summer. At Betfred Sports in Colorado the Bucs are currently +450 with the Chiefs at +500. At BetMGM, the Chiefs are +450 with the Bucs at +700. At FanDuel, the Chiefs are +500 with the Bucs at +650. Circa Sports in Nevada has the Bucs at +425 with the Chiefs at +500. You’ll find a slight variation on this theme at every sportsbook you check.
You won’t find the Las Vegas Raiders near the top of any sportsbook Super Bowl futures board. They’re actually closer to the bottom–maybe not as low as dregs like the Houston Texans (+30000 at BetMGM) but somewhere between +5000 at +8000. Even though they’re far from being a Super Bowl favorite they’re a serious concern for Las Vegas bookmakers. In fact, many sportsbooks are facing their biggest potential financial liability on the ‘Silver and Black’. The Raiders haven’t won a Super Bowl since 1984 when they were in Los Angeles and haven’t played in a Super Bowl since 2003 when they were in Oakland. This dubious track record hasn’t stopped bettors in their new home town of Las Vegas from going to the window to back the Raiders to win Super Bowl LVI.
Todd Dewey of the Las Vegas Review-Journal looked at some of the prices around town and talked to sportsbook managers about their Super Bowl liability. Many Southern Nevada sportsbooks have the Raiders as a potential six or seven figure liability. At BetMGM, the Raiders are 80-1 to win Super Bowl LVI and should that transpire they’ll lose seven figures in Nevada alone. Caesars Sportsbook and the South Point are looking at a mid-six figure loss in the event the Raiders take home the Lombardi Trophy. The Raiders are the biggest liability at Station Casinos and are–in Dewey’s words–the largest ‘realistic liability’ at Circa Sports behind the Houston Texans at 750-1.
South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews doesn’t sound like he’s losing any sleep over the prospect of a LV Raiders’ Super Bowl win:
“I’m not that worried about the Raiders. Their offense will be fine, but their defense is still a big question mark. They would really have to show a lot of improvement from last year. But as I say that, every year there’s always one team that’s way better than we expected and one team that’s way worse than we expected.”
“I’ve been around long enough to know that’s very hard to predict.”
Other books in Las Vegas have the biggest financial exposure on the favorites. BetMGM has the biggest liability on the Tampa Bay Bucs. The Bucs betting started early–they took a $50,000 USD wager to win $450,000 at 9-1 just a few days after Super Bowl LV. Tampa Bay is now +700 and the second choice behind Kansas City at +450. MGM Resorts director of trading Jeff Stoneback said the ‘public’ just keeps pounding the Bucs:
“Every day there’s a ton of Tampa tickets. They have the most tickets written and the most money.”
The story is the same at the Westgate SuperBook where the ‘squares’ keep coming with bets on KC and Tampa. Westgate vice president of risk Ed Salmons says that his book loses money should either team win the Super Bowl:
“When you look at the ticker, the two constants you see every day are the Chiefs and Tampa. We’re a loser on Tampa to win the Super Bowl and a loser on Kansas City to win the Super Bowl. They have the two shortest odds.”
“A third of the money in the pool is bet on two teams, which is crazy. They’re acting like it’s the NBA.”
The biggest financial liability at the Westgate SuperBook is the New England Patriots. They’ve booked two wagers of $15,000 to win $600,000 on the Pats at 40-1. SuperBook director John Murray says that they bets have kept coming even at 20-1:
“Before that, they were betting them at 60-1 and even now at 20-1, they’re still betting them. Buffalo is clearly better than them in that division, and there are still several teams ahead of them in the pecking order in the AFC. The Chiefs, Chargers, Ravens and Browns should be better than New England. The Patriots will probably be in the middle of the pack in the AFC.”
The SuperBook also has a significant liability on the Indianapolis Colts (currently 30-1) as does the South Point–they’ll be on the hook for six figures if Indy gets the job done. SuperBook’s Murray said that the Colts were getting some respected play before their preseason injuries:
“The Colts are the biggest question mark. That was a team a lot of sharp guys liked before Carson Wentz and Quenton Nelson got hurt.”
At Caesars, the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers are both priced at 12-1 and both represent a big liability for the ‘house’. Ceasars will lose seven figures if either team wins. Former Caesars VP of trading Nick Bogdanovich gave his thoughts on the two teams:
“The Browns have as good a chance as anyone. Baker Mayfield is progressing nicely, and the team is rock-solid across the board. The Niners are a bigger mystery. The jury’s still out on Jimmy (Garoppolo), just because he can’t stay healthy.”
“They’ve got a high ceiling, but it’s very tricky to say the least.”
Bogdanovich has been a bookmaker in Nevada since the mid-1980’s and had been with William Hill since 2012. Caesars named Bogdanovich as their VP of trading immediately after their purchase of William Hill but has apparently been let go just four months later.