When it comes to football in California, all three NFL teams — the Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Chargers, and San Francisco 49ers — have legitimate shots to win Super Bowl 57. But, as the season kicks off, which team is the best bet?
The Rams, Chargers, and 49ers all have some of the best odds to hoist the Lombardi at the end of the 2022 season. As a matter of fact, all three currently have odds that fall in the top 10 at FanDuel California. And these squads are in elite company.
The Buffalo Bills have the best odds at +600. Seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady and his Tampa Bay Buccaneers have the second-best odds at +750. Patrick Mahomes and his Kansas City Chiefs come in at third at +1000.
The first California team to show up on the oddsboard is the Rams at +1100. The reigning world champions have the fourth-best odds to be the last team standing.
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers
|Kansas City Chiefs
|Los Angeles Rams
|Green Bay Packers
|Los Angeles Chargers
|San Francisco 49ers
(Odds listed are as of Sept. 8, 2022.)
At +1200 are the Green Bay Packers — a team that knows a thing or 13 about championships.
But then sit California’s other two NFL teams with the sixth- and seventh-best odds. The Chargers’ current Super Bowl futures at FanDuel are +1400; the 49ers are at +1600.
For added context, the Houston Texans at +30000 are at the bottom of the oddsboard.
If we had to choose just one of these three California franchises to win Super Bowl 57, which would it be?
Let’s take a deeper dive.
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Los Angeles Rams — Reigning Super Bowl Champions Poised to Run it Back
Let’s face it: It’s hard to win two consecutive championships.
And that goes for any sport. Nick Saban coached Alabama to back-to-back college football titles in 2011 and 2012. The Kobe and Shaq-era Lakers achieved a three-peat in 2000, 2001, and 2002. And the New York Yankees had their own three-year World Series run from 1998 through 2000. But those are the exceptions, not the rule.
So when chatter about the Rams running it back heats up, you can’t help but wonder if it’s much ado about nothing.
However, oddsmakers have set the Rams’ odds at a somewhat short +1100, so there’s clearly something there.
Two advantages that LA has working in its favor are that quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Cooper Kupp are back. Stafford helped lift the Rams over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl 56 with 283 passing yards and three touchdowns. Kupp, the Super Bowl MVP, racked up 92 yards and two TDs.
And this QB-WR tandem’s significance to the Rams’ success transcends just their Super Bowl performance. These two put in work all season long.
Stafford passed for 4,886 yards in 2021 and is inching close to 50,000 passing yards. Ahead of the 2022 kickoff, he only needs 243 more yards to join the ranks of Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Matt Ryan as one of the few active QBs to eclipse that number.
Kupp was simultaneously an offensive coordinator’s dream and an opposing defender’s nightmare in 2021. His 1,947 receiving yards ranked first in the league. Kupp’s 16 TDs ranked first. His 145 receptions? Also first. So Kupp really is the Perfect 10.
What about the Rams’ defense? By most metrics, LAR’s defense is currently ranked at about 10th in the NFL going into 2022. Obviously with Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, and Bobby Wagner, you expect that unit will do some damage this season. But other NFC defenses like the New Orleans Saints and Packers are packing a little more punch, so you have to wonder if that will become problematic for the Rams down the stretch.
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Los Angeles Chargers — SoCal’s ‘Other’ Football Team
When it comes to professional sports leagues, there’s a tale of two teams in many cities: the team that everyone loves, and then the one that everyone tolerates. Think the Yankees and the Mets. The Lakers and the Clippers. The Warriors and the Kings. Yes, the truth hurts, but here’s another one.
The Rams and the Chargers.
Just as some fans might be displeased that the Chargers staked a claim on LA’s football turf, some bettors might also not be too fond of LAC. In 2021, the Chargers went 7-9 against the spread (ATS) and barely broke .500 with their 9-8 straight-up (SU) record. When we look back on last season, we see that LA’s other team did gamblers no real favors.
So why are oddsmakers high on the Chargers going into this new season?
Let’s start with the Chargers’ defense. The Bolts traded for 2016 Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack in the offseason. This unit also boasts Joey Bosa and safety Derwin James. Talk about a “Who’s Who?” of top-level defenders. You’re looking at just that with the Chargers. And if you want to jump on their Defensive Player of the Year futures, Bosa is sitting at +2500 and Mack and James are both at +4000 to win the award at FanDuel.
And it’s not just about the Bolts’ defense. Quarterback Justin Herbert is projected to pass for at least 30 touchdowns in this first full year as a starter, according to Stat Muse. Herbert also has FanDuel’s fourth-best MVP futures at +900.
On the receiving end is Keenan Allen. He comes back after racking up 1,138 yards on 106 receptions in 2021. Then you’ve got coach Brandon Staley. He presently has the shortest odds at +1400 to be named Coach of the Year at the end of the season.
Yes, the Chargers need to redeem themselves from their 2021 campaign from a betting perspective. But based on how bookmakers have set their Super Bowl futures, as well as Herbert’s MVP and Staley’s Coach of the Year futures, maybe lightning will strike for the Bolts in 2022.
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San Francisco 49ers — A Team on the Brink?
The 49ers might be the most enigmatic of the three California NFL teams.
The franchise had an offseason that was colored with uncertainty. Was Deebo Samuel unhappy enough to leave? Were Shanahan & Co. really prepared to insert Trey Lance into the starting lineup instead of Jimmy Garoppolo? Despite all that uncertainty, bookmakers still have their Super Bowl futures in the top-third of the oddsboards.
Heading into the 2022 season , Samuel is still on the roster. But so are Lance and Jimmy G. Does this mean the 49ers are on the brink of getting back to the NFC Championship and possibly a Super Bowl or that they’re on the brink of quarterback drama?
The Niners finished seventh overall in USA Today’s end-of-season 2021 NFL power rankings. Their average 2022 NFL Draft grade is a B. Between adding pass-rusher Drake Jackson with the No. 61 overall selection and adding running back Tyrion Davis-Price, San Francisco beefed up both sides of the ball. These additions to the squad’s already solid roster, combined with coach Kyle Shanahan’s (alleged) genius, could make bettors believe that San Francisco is worth a Super Bowl futures wager.
And whether the 49ers believe that Lance is the long-term answer moving forward still remains unclear. Lance as QB1 is the messaging that Shanahan is sticking to. But Jimmy G just signed a fully-guaranteed $6.5 million contract to be Lance’s backup.
Garoppolo is the same quarterback who helped manage the team’s playoff run last season that ended in loss to the eventual Super Bowl champions. We’re talking the same Jimmy G who was under center when the Niners faced the Chiefs in the Super Bowl at the end of the 2019 season.
Undoubtedly, it’s a puzzling situation. But perhaps baked into their +1600 Super Bowl futures is the chance that Jimmy G ends up being the team’s QB1.
Best California Super Bowl Bet? Rams
We’ve already established how hard it is to win back-to-back championships. Nevertheless, we like the Rams’ current Super Bowl futures of +1100. Gamblers wanting more bang for their bets might wait until after the Rams drop a few games. By doing this, there’s an opportunity to cash in on longer odds.
LAR has a challenging November schedule where they face the Bucs, Cardinals, Chiefs and the Saints. Waiting for their odds to lengthen after those tough matchups might end up being the better bet.