Super Bowl 51 Futures and Theoretical Hold Percentages

Sportsbooks, like any other business, are designed to ensure long-term profitability. Most people have heard the expression “the house always wins,” but they may not understand the inner-workings of the sportsbook.

The juice, sometimes known as the vig, is the fee charged by bookmakers to place a bet. Although there are some offshore sportsbooks that offer reduced juice, the standard juice is typically listed at -110. That means that bettors need to wager $110 to win $100. It also means that bettors must win at least 52.38% of their spread bets in order to overcome the juice and break even.

In theory, this strategy would allow sportsbooks to set lines that encourage 50% of the money on each side and then collect the juice without creating any liability. Hypothetically oddsmakers would love to have balanced books, but this is completely unrealistic. The majority of casual bettors will take the favorite regardless of price, and it’s impossible to consistently set lines that will attract split action. Instead, sportsbooks shade their opening lines to account for public perception and allow their sharpest bettors to shape the line.

While the point-spread is arguably the most popular bet type, there’s also considerable interest in futures. The most popular future is the odds to win the title, and most sportsbooks consistently update these odds throughout the course of the season.

One of the biggest reasons futures are so popular is due to the massive potential payouts. Sportsbooks consistently have large liabilities on the league’s worst teams because bettors are hoping to strike gold. It’s unlikely that the Cleveland Browns will win the Super Bowl, but bettors are intrigued by 200/1 odds which could turn a $100 bet into a $20,000 payday. As ridiculous as this sounds, there have been bigger longshots to come through. The St. Louis Rams were 300/1 to win the Super Bowl prior to the start of the 1999 season while Leicester City was 5000/1 to win the Premier League last year.

Unfortunately, there are many drawbacks to betting futures. Many sharp bettors avoid taking futures because they don’t want their money tied up while awaiting a possible payout. They believe there are better ways to make use of their funds, and would rather avoid the unpredictable nature of futures. There’s also the very real issue of preposterously high hold percentages.

For those unfamiliar with this term, the hold percentage refers to the percentage of money that the house keeps for every dollar wagered. Low hold percentages are great for bettors, while high hold percentages are great for the books. In order to calculate the hold percentage, start by adding the implied probabilities for every team together. That number, which will always be higher than 100%, will be called “X.” From there, the formula would be 1-(1/X).

Historically we have found that Las Vegas sportsbooks typically have a higher theoretical hold percentage than offshore sportsbooks. While some Vegas sportsbooks have hold percentages over 50%, most offshore sportsbooks have hold percentages of less than 25%. That said, it’s important to note that the limits differ dramatically from book to book. For example, Bovada (square book) won’t accept wagers of more than $1000 on futures while Bookmaker (sharp book) accepts max bets of $50,000.

The table below displays the current Super Bowl odds and implied probability (IP) from ten prominent offshore sportsbooks.

Team 5Dimes (9/2) IP BetOnline (9/2) IP Bookmaker (9/2) IP Bovada (9/2) IP Heritage (9/2) IP Greek (9/2) IP BetUs (9/2) IP Pinnacle IP Sportsbook.com (9/2) IP SIA (9/2) IP
New England Patriots 835 10.70% 700 12.50% 750 11.76% 625 13.79% 800 11.11% 650 13.33% 750 11.76% 734 11.99% 750 11.76% 625 13.79%
Seattle Seahawks 840 10.64% 850 10.53% 715 12.27% 900 10.00% 825 10.81% 700 12.50% 700 12.50% 787.9 11.26% 800 11.11% 900 10.00%
Green Bay Packers 925 9.76% 750 11.76% 880 10.20% 600 14.29% 900 10.00% 800 11.11% 800 11.11% 900 10.00% 750 11.76% 600 14.29%
Carolina Panthers 950 9.52% 1000 9.09% 1078 8.49% 1100 8.33% 925 9.76% 800 11.11% 700 12.50% 1023 8.90% 950 9.52% 1100 8.33%
Pittsburgh Steelers 975 9.30% 850 10.53% 890 10.10% 1100 8.33% 950 9.52% 1000 9.09% 1000 9.09% 966 9.38% 950 9.52% 1100 8.33%
Arizona Cardinals 1150 8.00% 1000 9.09% 915 9.85% 1100 8.33% 1125 8.16% 1200 7.69% 1000 9.09% 939 9.62% 1200 7.69% 1100 8.33%
Cincinnati Bengals 2000 4.76% 2000 4.76% 1902 5.00% 1800 5.26% 1900 5.00% 1400 6.67% 1300 7.14% 1800 5.26% 2000 4.76% 1800 5.26%
Kansas City Chiefs 2300 4.17% 2000 4.76% 2400 4.00% 1800 5.26% 2200 4.35% 1800 5.26% 2000 4.76% 2366 4.06% 2000 4.76% 1800 5.26%
Minnesota Vikings 2350 4.08% 2800 3.45% 2900 3.33% 2800 3.45% 2350 4.08% 6000 1.64% N/A N/A 3000 3.23% 3000 3.23% 2800 3.45%
Denver Broncos 2600 3.70% 1800 5.26% 1874 5.07% 1800 5.26% 2500 3.85% 1600 5.88% 1700 5.56% 1978 4.81% 1700 5.56% 1800 5.26%
Indianapolis Colts 2600 3.70% 1800 5.26% 2403 4.00% 2500 3.85% 2500 3.85% 2000 4.76% 2200 4.35% 2395 4.01% 3500 2.78% 2500 3.85%
Baltimore Ravens 2900 3.33% 3300 2.94% 3231 3.00% 4000 2.44% 2800 3.45% 3500 2.78% 2800 3.45% 3338 2.91% 4000 2.44% 4000 2.44%
Houston Texans 3000 3.23% 3300 2.94% 2850 3.39% 4000 2.44% 2900 3.33% 5500 1.79% 3000 3.23% 3261 2.98% 4000 2.44% 4000 2.44%
New York Giants 3500 2.78% 1600 5.88% 2300 4.17% 1800 5.26% 3400 2.86% 2000 4.76% 3000 3.23% 2300 4.17% 2500 3.85% 1800 5.26%
Oakland Raiders 3800 2.56% 3300 2.94% 2922 3.31% 2500 3.85% 3600 2.70% 3000 3.23% 3500 2.78% 3734 2.61% 3000 3.23% 2500 3.85%
Dallas Cowboys 3900 2.50% 3300 2.94% 4000 2.44% 2800 3.45% 3750 2.60% 3000 3.23% 3600 2.70% 3200 3.03% 3000 3.23% 2800 3.45%
Washington Redskins 5000 1.96% 4000 2.44% 4800 2.04% 5000 1.96% 4800 2.04% 5000 1.96% 4500 2.17% 5400 1.82% 5500 1.79% 5000 1.96%
Jacksonville Jaguars 6000 1.64% 5000 1.96% 5000 1.96% 4000 2.44% 5800 1.69% 5000 1.96% 4000 2.44% 7046 1.40% 6500 1.52% 4000 2.44%
Atlanta Falcons 6000 1.64% 5000 1.96% 7000 1.41% 6600 1.49% 5800 1.69% 3000 3.23% 4000 2.44% 6063 1.62% 7500 1.32% 6600 1.49%
Buffalo Bills 6600 1.49% 6600 1.49% 5384 1.82% 7500 1.32% 6400 1.54% 7000 1.41% 3500 2.78% 5247 1.87% 7500 1.32% 7500 1.32%
New York Jets 6600 1.49% 5000 1.96% 6500 1.52% 6600 1.49% 6400 1.54% 5000 1.96% 3500 2.78% 6718 1.47% 6500 1.52% 6600 1.49%
Philadelphia Eagles 7000 1.41% 8000 1.23% 8000 1.23% 7500 1.32% 7800 1.27% 8000 1.23% 4500 2.17% 7000 1.41% 7500 1.32% 7500 1.32%
New Orleans Saints 8000 1.23% 8000 1.23% 5300 1.85% 7500 1.32% 7800 1.27% 6500 1.52% 4500 2.17% 6164 1.60% 6500 1.52% 7500 1.32%
Detroit Lions 8500 1.16% 8000 1.23% 7500 1.32% 7500 1.32% 8400 1.18% 8000 1.23% 4500 2.17% 6932 1.42% 10000 0.99% 7500 1.32%
San Diego Chargers 8500 1.16% 6600 1.49% 6500 1.52% 7500 1.32% 8400 1.18% 8000 1.23% 6500 1.52% 5725 1.72% 7500 1.32% 7500 1.32%
Miami Dolphins 8500 1.16% 6600 1.49% 8500 1.16% 7500 1.32% 8400 1.18% 6500 1.52% 4500 2.17% 7251 1.36% 7500 1.32% 7500 1.32%
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 9500 1.04% 8000 1.23% 6700 1.47% 10000 0.99% 9500 1.04% 8000 1.23% 6500 1.52% 9882 1.00% 7500 1.32% 10000 0.99%
Chicago Bears 11500 0.86% 8000 1.23% 8500 1.16% 7500 1.32% 11000 0.90% 6000 1.64% 5000 1.96% 7603 1.30% 8000 1.23% 7500 1.32%
Los Angeles Rams 12500 0.79% 10000 0.99% 8500 1.16% 7500 1.32% 12000 0.83% 7000 1.41% 5500 1.79% 7463 1.32% 8000 1.23% 7500 1.32%
Tennessee Titans 13500 0.74% 8000 1.23% 13000 0.76% 7500 1.32% 12000 0.83% 10000 0.99% 7500 1.32% 17049 0.58% 10000 0.99% 7500 1.32%
San Francisco 49ers 18500 0.54% 15000 0.66% 15000 0.66% 15000 0.66% 17000 0.58% 10000 0.99% 7000 1.41% 11721 0.85% 15000 0.66% 15000 0.66%
Cleveland Browns 21500 0.46% 20000 0.50% 16000 0.62% 10000 0.99% 21500 0.46% 25000 0.40% 12000 0.83% 25076 0.40% 20000 0.50% 10000 0.99%

As you can see, it’s crucial for bettors to shop for the best line before placing a futures bet. The New England Patriots are the favorite to win the Super Bowl at every sportsbook, but the price varies dramatically. Bovada has the Patriots at +625 to win the Super Bowl while 5Dimes has the Patriots at +835.

The list below displays the hold percentage at each of these books:

  • 5Dimes (10.33%)
  • Heritage (12.77%)
  • Sportsbook.com (14.87%)
  • Pinnacle (16.21%)
  • Bookmaker (18.07%)
  • Bovada (20.30%)
  • Sports Interaction (20.30%)
  • BetOnline (21.26%)
  • Greek (22.32%)
  • BetUs (25.86%)

Hold percentages will vary by sport, but it’s worth noting that the four of the five sharpest books we examined (5Dimes, Bookmaker, Heritage and Pinnacle) had the lowest hold percentage. Sportsbook.com, which had the third lowest hold percentage, takes smaller limits and has been known for taking six to eight weeks for their payouts.

The hold percentages on future bets is significantly higher than any single game, and it will take around five months for Super Bowl futures to be paid out. That said, it’s crucial to shop for the best line if you plan on betting any futures this season. The list below displays the sportsbook offering the best Super Bowl odds for each team.

  1. Arizona Cardinals +1200 (Sportsbook)
  2. Atlanta Falcons +7500 (Sportsbook)
  3. Baltimore Ravens +4000 (Multiple)
  4. Buffalo Bills +7500 (Multiple)
  5. Carolina Panthers +1100 (Multiple)
  6. Chicago Bears +11500 (5Dimes)
  7. Cincinnati Bengals +2000 (Multiple)
  8. Cleveland Browns +25000 (Greek)
  9. Dallas Cowboys +3900 (5Dimes)
  10. Denver Broncos +2600 (5Dimes)
  11. Detroit Lions +10000 (Sportsbook)
  12. Green Bay Packers +925 (5Dimes)
  13. Houston Texans +4000 (Multiple)
  14. Indianapolis Colts +3500 (Sportsbook)
  15. Jacksonville Jaguars +6500 (Sportsbook)
  16. Kansas City Chiefs +2400 (Bookmaker)
  17. Los Angeles Rams +12500 (5Dimes)
  18. Miami Dolphins +8500 (Multiple)
  19. Minnesota Vikings +6000 (Greek)
  20. New England Patriots +835 (5Dimes)
  21. New Orleans Saints +8000 (Multiple)
  22. New York Giants +3500 (5Dimes)
  23. New York Jets +6600 (Multiple)
  24. Oakland Raiders +3800 (5Dimes)
  25. Philadelphia Eagles +8000 (Multiple)
  26. Pittsburgh Steelers +1100 (Multiple)
  27. San Diego Chargers +8500 (5Dimes)
  28. San Francisco 49ers +18500 (5Dimes)
  29. Seattle Seahawks +900 (Multiple)
  30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers +10000 (Multiple)
  31. Tennessee Titans +17049 (Pinnacle)
  32. Washington Redskins +5500 (Sportsbook)

In general, bettors tend to find better prices on public teams like the Cowboys and Patriots at sharper sportsbooks. Conversely, square books tend to have better odds for mid-tier teams.  Many casual bettors love taking long shots in hopes of a big day, but that has been a losing strategy. There hasn’t been a Super Bowl winner with longer than 30/1 preseason odds since 2001 when the New England Patriots defeated the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI.

The table below displays the preseason futures for the past 15 Super Bowl champions. (Courtesy of SportsOddsHistory)

Super Bowl Team Preseason Odds
50 Denver Broncos +900
49 New England Patriots +650
48 Seattle Seahawks +800
47 Baltimore Ravens +1800
46 New York Giants +2200
45 Green Bay Packers +1100
44 New Orleans Saints +2000
43 Pittsburgh Steelers +1800
42 New York Giants +3000
41 Indianapolis Colts +600
40 Pittsburgh Steelers +1200
39 New England Patriots +600
38 New England Patriots +1500
37 Tampa Bay Buccaneers +1200
36 New England Patriots +6000

Looking to track the latest odds, public betting trends, injury updates and Super Bowl futures? Make sure to visit our free NFL odds page. Want to track sharp money indicators and utilize unique tools like our line watcher and line predictor? Try Sportsbook Insider Pro today by signing up for a 4-day trial.

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David Solar

David Solar has been the Content Manager at Sports Insights for over four years. He specializes in sports betting analytics and has created several popular data-driven betting systems. He can be reached directly at david@sportsinsights.com or on twitter at @TheDavidSolar.

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