Super Bowl Futures Bets: What the Math Says About Cashing Out Bucs or Chiefs Futures
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images. Pictured: Head coach Bruce Arians of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrates
- Did you bet on the Chiefs or Bucs to win the Super Bowl before or during the season at a longer price?
- Here's how you should hedge if you want to lock in some profit, and whether or not it makes sense mathematically to do so.
After winning Super Bowl 54, the Kansas City Chiefs have been favorites to repeat as championship for basically the entire season. On the other hand, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were longshots until landing six-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Tom Brady in free agency.
Bettors savvy (or lucky) enough to bet the Bucs prior to Brady’s signing were able to snag Tampa at gaudy 50-1 odds to win Super Bowl 55.
But even those later to the Bucs party could grab Bruce Arians’ team at a double-digit price for much of the regular season, including 16-1 as recently as Week 14. So it’s reasonable to assume there are plenty of bettors out there holding Tampa Bay title tickets and wondering whether they should let them ride or take a sportsbook “cash out.”
For those unaware of this option, more and more sportsbooks are offering the ability to cash out futures tickets that are still alive. Basically, bettors can sell these futures for an amount predetermined by the sportsbook (find the best online sportsbooks here).
In theory this can be good for both parties. Bettors can go ahead and cash in a smart bet for a profit without having to worry about it eventually losing, while the sportsbook can buy its way out of a big potential loss.
However, sportsbooks aren’t in the business of helping out bettors. As I mentioned above, the cash out amount is set by the sportsbook and is typically less than the market value of the price of the ticket.
As a result, cash outs overwhelmingly favor the sportsbook in the transaction, so let’s take a quick look at how bettors can determine just how fair their cash out offer is.
Cash Our Super Bowl Futures?
For simplicity’s sake, let’s assume a bettor wagered $100 on the Bucs at 50-1 odds early in the offseason. That ticket is set to pay out $5,000 ($100 x 50) should Tampa Bay top Kansas City in Super Bowl 55.
To determine the fair cash out value, we first need to convert the Super Bowl 55 moneyline to an implied probability using The Action Network’s betting odds calculator.
According to the latest Super Bowl 55 odds (find the latest here), the current consensus Bucs moneyline is +150 (though lines do vary slightly depending on the sportsbook), which translates to an implied probability of 40%, while Chiefs -170 is 62.96%.
But remember, sportsbooks charge a vig to place bets with them, so in order to find the true probability of the Bucs winning based on betting odds, we need to remove the vig altogether.
After adjusting for the vig, the true probability of Tampa Bay winning the Super Bowl is 38.85%.
Multiply the potential winnings of $5,000 by 38.85% and we get a fair value of our Super Bowl future bet of $1,942.50.
So if your sportsbook is offering a cash out of more than $1,942.50, then the math adds up to accept the offer.
However, if the offered amount is less than $1,942.50 — which is much more likely since books aren’t in the business of giving out free money — the math says to hold tight and root like hell for the Bucs.
Now those are the numbers behind the decision, but there are other factors for a bettor to consider, like how important is the monetary value of the cash out.
For example, the value of the cash out offered is different depending on the person. So there are scenarios where someone may simply want the cash out even though it may not make sense mathematically, but this decision is up to each individual bettor.
I used the Bucs in the example above because it’s more likely that Tampa Bay bettors are facing this question based on odds available throughout the past year.
But the same exercise can be done if you want to break down the math on a Chiefs Super Bowl future as well.