There are no months off in the NFL betting cycle. Shortly after the Patriots clinched their sixth title in Super Bowl 53, bettors were already looking ahead at futures prices for next season.
The opportunity to wager on the winner of the 2020 Super Bowl was available in mid-January for bettors in Nevada at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas. New Jersey operators like DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook followed two weeks later with their own early odds for the Super Bowl 54 champ.
The Westgate opened the Los Angeles Rams (6/1) as the early favorite to capture next year’s Vince Lombardi Trophy on Jan. 15. However, the Kansas City Chiefs shifted into the favorite spot as of Feb. 4.
Jeff Sherman, the vice president of risk management at the SuperBook, sent out the updated odds after the Super Bowl came to a close.
NFL Super Bowl LIV (2020) updated
LAR, NO, NE 8/1
LAC, Chi, Pit 14/1
Min, GB, Dal 16/1
Phi, Bal, Ind, Cle, Hou 20/1
Atl, Jax, NYG 40/1
Car, Ten, Den 60/1
TB, NYJ 80/1
Wsh, Det, Buf, Cin, Oak, Ari 100/1
— Jeff Sherman (@golfodds) February 4, 2019
In New Jersey, the Patriots (+800) opened as the favorite to win at FanDuel Sportsbook a week before the big game. That didn’t change after they won their sixth Super Bowl. New England has opened at 10/1 odds or less every season this decade.
At DraftKings, the Patriots, Chiefs, Rams and Saints were all listed with the shortest odds at +750 (15/2). That means the four teams who advanced to the conference championships in 2019 are the early favorites in the 2020 Super Bowl futures market.
2019-20 Super Bowl 54 Futures Odds
A shot of optimism
The biggest longshot to win the 2020 Super Bowl heading into next season is the Miami Dolphins (300/1 at Westgate). But 100-1 longshots and fans from Washington, Detroit, New York (Jets), Buffalo, Cincinnati, Oakland and Arizona can hold out hope that their team can be the next 1998 St. Louis Rams, who went 13-3 and won Super Bowl XXXIV after opening at 300-1 odds following a 4-12 season in 1997.
Those teams can look at this year’s Chicago Bears as another example of optimism going into next season. The Bears were 100-1 odds to win the 2019 Super Bowl prior to the regular season. Chicago went from five wins the previous season to a 12-4 record and division title before losing in the playoffs on a last-second, “double doink” missed field goal — a bad beat for moneyline bettors but not for those who bet at FanDuel Sportsbook.
The Bears (+1,700 at DraftKings Sportsbook) and LA Chargers (+1,400) are expected to be Super Bowl contenders next season after both made the playoffs this year with 12-4 records. The Indianapolis Colts (+1,400) are among the top 10 favorites to win Super Bowl LIV next year after catching fire late in the year. And even the Cleveland Browns (+2,000) are picking up a lot of steam following a 7-8-1 season.
Four NFL favorites dominated the stats and rolled to the divisional round wins this past weekend. That sets up potential shootouts in two conference championship games as the top four remaining seeds led the league in scoring this season.
The Chiefs (35.1), Rams (32.8), Saints (31.5) and Patriots (27.2) were the four highest-scoring teams. The Patriots (67.7) and Rams (66.8) ranked top three in the league in offensive plays per game this season. The Saints (63.6) and Chiefs (63.2) also ranked in the top half of the league. None of those four teams’ defenses ranked in the top 12 in total yards against or yards-per-play.
This year’s NFL Playoffs marks the sixth straight season in which no team that played on Wild Card Weekend will reach the Super Bowl.
Conference Championship Odds
(Odds updated 1/16/19)
LA Rams at New Orleans Saints (-3)
Both the Saints (31) and Rams (30) rolled up at least 30 first downs in their divisional round wins over the weekend. The Rams had 459 yards at 6.0 yards per play including 273 rushing yards in beating Dallas 30-22. The Saints struggled early and fell behind the Eagles 14-0 before getting the offense untracked to roll up 420 yards at 5.9 yards per play in a 20-14 win. The Saints (-8) were the only favorite of the four remaining teams that failed to cover the point spread in the divisional round.
The Saints beat the Rams 45-35 in Week 9 at New Orleans. The Rams closed a two-point road favorite and the over/under was bet down to close at 57. In that shootout, the Saints had 487 yards at 5.9 yards per play while the Rams racked up 483 yards at 8.2 yards per play.
The Saints’ offense was more balanced, but the Rams had to recover from a 35-17 halftime deficit and both quarterbacks Jared Goff and Drew Brees passed for more than 345 yards and at least 9.6 yards per pass play. Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp had five catches for 89 yards, but he won’t play in the NFC Championship due to a season-ending ACL injury in the Nov. 11 win over Seattle.
There was virtually no disagreement with the prices at NJ sportsbooks on Monday morning. Only Caesars and PlayMGM gave a half-point extra value to the Saints. If lines move this week, we would expect it to lower the total, given the two strong defenses playing over the stretch.
New England Patriots at Kansas City Chiefs (-3)
This is just the second time New England has been a playoff underdog since 2007. The Patriots have been favored in 23 of their last 24 postseason games overall. New England lost at Denver in the 2014 AFC Championship 26-16 as a 5-point underdog. The Broncos had league MVP Peyton Manning at quarterback that season, and now the Chiefs have this year’s MVP in QB Patrick Mahomes.
According to Bet Labs data, teams averaging at least 30 points per game (KC) playing a team averaging less than 30 points per game (NE) are 15-22 ATS since 2003. However, the Chiefs won and covered in that role this past weekend in their 30-13 win over the Indianapolis Colts.
The Patriots are 0-3 in road playoff games since the 2007 AFC Championship game, losing all three times against QB Peyton Manning.
The Patriots beat the Chiefs 43-40 on a last-second field goal in Week 6 in Foxboro. New England was a 3.5-point favorite with closing over/under of 59.5. Kansas City had 446 yards total offense at 8.4 yards per play. The Chiefs only had possession of the ball for 23:51 and ran 53 plays. The Patriots rolled up 500 yards offense at 6.7 yards per play. New England ran 75 plays in 36:09 minutes of possession time. The NFL average this season was between 5.5 and 5.6 yards per play.
The weather is worth monitoring as game day nears in Kansas City. A winter storm is in the forecast with a 70 percent chance of snow and rain on Sunday.
The line on this game is the same across the board. The value comes in the total. For example, DraftKings, PlaySugarHouse and 888Sport offered a half-point extra value to the under on Monday, while William Hill offered a full point.
The two conference championship game winners will advance to Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. A record over/under will be set at the dome with a posted total in the 60s. The 2017 Super Bowl had a record over/under closing at 57.5 in the Patriots 34-28 overtime win over the Falcons.
More than 250 participants competed for a $1 million top prize in the first-ever DraftKings Sports Betting National Championship in Jersey City, New Jersey. TheLines was in the Garden State providing coverage all weekend with leaderboard updates, interviews with players and staff, videos and photos from the event, and more.
All of the action can be found below, including a postgame interview with eventual champion Randy “rleejr86” Lee, who sealed the title with an Eagles +8.5 cover against the Saints. Lee is an Eagles fan and longtime sports bettor from New Jersey.
8:00 p.m. ET: We have a winner! We spoke with the 2019 DraftKings Sports Betting National Champion Randy “rleejr86” Lee about his path to victory in this unique event.
Meanwhile, the controversy we reported earlier with the graded bets in between games the was addressed by DraftKings in a statement sent first to TheLines Sunday evening. For a full recap of what took place, read the story at LegalSportsReport.
5:30 p.m. ET: Leaderboard update and the biggest bets of the day can be found below. All bets are closed for the championship event so the sweat is on for those at the top.
|Player||Game||Wager||Bet Amount||To Win||Won/Loss?|
|rleejr86||Philadelphia at New Orleans||PHI +8.5||$47,500||$90,725||Won|
|Opti5624||LA Chargers at New England||NE -3.5||$42,875||$81,891||Won|
|bewit||Philadelphia at New Orleans||NO ML (-357)||$42,510||$54,413||Won|
|nomoreiloveyous||Philadelphia at New Orleans||PHI +8.5||$35,000||$66,850||Won|
|moneylinemikey||Philadelphia at New Orleans||PHI ML (+275)||$33,634||$126,127||Lost|
4:55 p.m. ET: Updating our most recent video, it appears that DraftKings was unable to grade most of the winning tickets from the New England/LA Chargers game in time for bettors to re-invest those winnings into the late game. However, some bets may have been graded before others. All contest bets were locked at the start of the Eagles/Saints game. One of the most affected by this the most is the new leader Opti5634, who had all of his bankroll tied up in the Patriots game. He is now “stuck” at $81,891, as he explained in a series of tweets.
My Pats bet didn't grade before the Saints game started, so I couldn't get anything down. This is some sh*t.
— Rufus Peabody (@RufusPeabody) January 13, 2019
Yes, other people's graded first. They didn't all grade at once.
— Rufus Peabody (@RufusPeabody) January 13, 2019
Balance $0.01. Game: started pic.twitter.com/0uPwb9Gcn3
— Rufus Peabody (@RufusPeabody) January 13, 2019
As of now, the contest has moved forward without any comment from organizers. We will keep you updated as soon as we hear anything.
4:45 p.m. ET: Craziness before the kickoff of the Eagles/Saints game. Brett, Matt and Matt break it down.
3:15 p.m ET: Dan “nomoreiloveyous” Steinberg passed “gucho” for the pole position at halftime when gucho’s two Chargers first half bets went up in flames. Steinberg hit a Sony Michel rushing prop for more than $5,000 to build the roll up to $56,356.
Others in the Top 10 struggling with open Chargers wagers:
- Deliveryboy — $32,000 parlay with the Chargers/Pats under.
- Imawhale — All in for $29,000 on Chargers +4 and Chargers -3 ALT SPREAD
2:00 p.m. ET: “Gucho” led at this time yesterday and has regained the lead after hitting the Chargers/Patriots 1H OVER 23.5. He still has more than $31,000 invested in bets on this game ($14,352.62 on 1H tie, $16,919.75 on LAC 1H +2.5)
1:45 p.m. ET: Coming at you live from the floor with the Pats and Chargers playing behind us. Brett Collson and Matt Perrault break down the big bets and strategies of the participants at the top of the leaderboard and what the others still alive need to do make up ground.
1:05 p.m. ET: Bets are in (and still coming in) for the first NFL game today. We will have an update in 30 minutes with some of the biggest bets on this game and plays from the leaders as they chase the seven-figure score up top.
Sunday 11 a.m. ET: We’re back at the DraftKings Sports Betting National Championship! Follow this page all day for leaderboard updates, interviews, videos and more from Jersey City.
Five things to know before the DraftKings Sports Betting National Championship finale
- Remaining participants can ONLY bet on the two NFL games on Sunday. No soccer (sorry, “gucho”), no NBA, no NHL. Only wagers on the Pats/Chargers and Saints/Eagles will be accepted for the contest.
- Players must wager AT LEAST $2,000 on the Sunday NFL games to qualify for the $2.5 million SBNC prize pool. All qualifying entrants needed to bet at least $1,000 on Friday/Saturday as well.
- Accounts will be locked and bets will be closed once the Eagles/Saints kicks off this afternoon. Then the sweat is on for the field. All open wagers can be viewed on the DraftKings SBNC leaderboard page.
- Eighty-one of the 260 players in this contest have gone completely broke. Nineteen players have between a penny and a dollar. Of the 179 players still technically “alive” in the event, only 128 currently have the $2,000 bankroll required to meet the prize pool qualifier. But the others could run it up in the first game and meet the minimum bet requirement.
- More than $3.1 million has been wagered across 260 entries in this contest as of Sunday morning. The biggest bets are yet to come as all 179 left with money are still eligible for the $1 million top prize being handed out today.
1:30 a.m. ET: A look at the leaderboard as Day 2 comes to a close. Only 162 of the original 260 participants still have more than $1 left in their bankroll. Player “rleejr86” leads the field after betting all of his $27,000 on the LA Rams -7 to climb past “gucha” who led most of Saturday despite only placing three bets across the entire contest.
“Nomoreiloveyous” is in second place, while “Opti5624” and “deliveryboy” made huge leads up the leaderboard late Saturday with improbable parlays, both of which paid out more than $36,000.
Keep your browser locked to TheLines.com as we provide complete coverage of the DraftKings Sports Betting National Championship until a champion is crowned on Sunday evening!
11:30 p.m. ET: The Rams-Cowboys game is over and we’re seeing some new names appear in the thick of things leading into Day 3. A player with the screenname “Opti5624” hit a $437 parlay for $35,624 thanks to a big round from Charles Howell at the Sony Open in Hawaii. We will be providing a full round-up video later this evening.
9:30 p.m. ET: BIG parlay bet came in from Sean “psufans2” Newsham who put down $15,000 on the Rams -7 and Edmonton Oilers ML to win $46,500. A win here would likely leave him as the man to catch heading into Day 3.
8:30 p.m. ET: An evening update from Brett Collson and Matt Perrault from the floor of the SBNC. While they were recording the show, the player in fourth place, “rleejr86”, fired his entire bankroll on the LA Rams -7 to jump into first place. If he loses, he joins the other 45-plus players already eliminated from the event.
7:30 p.m. ET: Poker pro Phil Hellmuth, a 15-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner, joined us to talk about his progress in the Sports Betting National Championship and how he got involved with DraftKings to participate.
6:35 p.m. ET: Leaderboard update! Thirty players have been eliminated from the competition, leaving 230 still vying for the title. User “rleejr86” climbed into third place after hitting a $1,000 parlay for $27,500, capped off by the Pepperdine Waves covering against the San Diego Toreros.
6:10 p.m. ET: While we wait for the second half and bettors get in their 2H bets, here’s a look at the biggest longshot winners (biggest return on a single wager) in the contest so far:
- Parlayed Ohio (+380), Oklahoma State (+215), and Kansas State (+360). Wagered $5 to win $347.75
- Parlayed Over 222.5 Points in Nets @ Raptors, Blazers -6.5, Over 218.5 Points in Pacers @ Knicks, Warriors -15.5, Over 223 in Mavs @ Timberwolves, and Rockets -14. Wagered $100 to win $4,804.00
- Warriors -14, Jazz -12, Blazers -7, Penguins -2. Wagered $500 to win $17,080
5:55 p.m. ET: We spoke with Sean “psufans2” Newsham, currently in fourth place in the contest, about his big $10K bet on the Chiefs -4.
“I liked Kansas City all week pretty much,” says Newsome, who bought into this event for $10,000. “So my plan was to try to run it up before this game and then unload on this game. I didn’t put down as much as I wanted to but it’s enough to get me to like $25,000 after this game if things go right.”
Newsham doesn’t have a plan in place if he does hit this Chiefs bet. He says he’s more inclined to fire on the NFL where the contest betting limits are higher, but he may decide instead to sit on a top five figure going into the final day.
“It depends what other people are what (bankroll wise), but I know the leader is sitting on his lead til the end of the day. He’s not moving. So if people don’t jump up and $25,000 is in the top five to 10, I might sit on it a little more than I would have otherwise.”
That said, he’s not watching the leaderboard too closely.
“I’m watching the top of the leaderboard. I just want to be in striking distance tomorrow. You can unload $25,000 into $50,000, $50,000 into $100,000 rather easily tomorrow if that’s what you want to do.”
4:55 p.m. ET: Afternoon update from the venue.
4:35 p.m. ET: Five biggest bets on the Colts vs. Chiefs game:
- psufans2 (4th place) — $10,000 on KC -4
- gebo19 (64th place) — $5,000 on IND ML
- mdurand10 (64th place) — $5,000 on IND ML
- Aganjian (64th place) — $5,000 on OVER (54.5)
- eordower (64th place) — $5,000 on OVER (54.5)
3:30 p.m. ET: Sweattttttt. The first NFL game hasn’t even started yet and it’s getting loud in here as participants follow the college basketball and NHL games on the big screens.
3:00 p.m. ET: We arrived at the event venue to see that ‘gucho’ is the new leader of the event after hitting two big soccer bets this morning. Gucho turned $5,000 into $44,482 with only three bets in the first 24 hours of the contest: Washington Wizards for $5,000 on Friday night, Leicester City – Southampton (both teams to score) for $8,900 on Saturday morning, and then Chelsea -Newcastle (Both teams to score) for $17,444.
Overnight leader “johnstorz” is still hovering above $30,000 in second place, while “nomoreiloveyou” climbed into third place.