Legalized sports betting passes early test in California; Sportsbooks juicing up Chargers Under 8 win total

June 3, 2020 12:48 AM

Legal sports betting in California took an important step forward Tuesday as the state's senate governmental committee passed a key legalization measure by a 9-3 vote. The measure, known as Senate Constitutional Amendment 6, will now move to a larger debate before the Senate Appropriations Committee. 

Proponents of legal betting in California are cautiously optimistic, but also realize it won't be easy. The bill would need two-thirds approval in both the House and Senate. If it passes both chambers, it would then become a ballot measure for Californians to vote on this November.

California faces a $54 billion budget deficit this year. Experts estimate that California could rake in $200 million in new revenue in Year 1 of legal betting, followed by $500 million or more in the coming years. According to gaming industry analyst Chris Grove, "California could easily become one of the most productive sports-betting markets in the world."

Speaking of California, what can bettors expect from the Los Angeles Chargers this season?

In 2018, the Chargers went 12-4 and secured a postseason berth, defeating the Ravens 23-17 in the wild-card round before losing to the Patriots 41-28 in the divisional round. But then nothing went Los Angeles' way last season, and the Chargers finished 5-11, tied for the 5th-worst record in the NFL. 

Los Angeles enters a transition year in 2020. Gone is Philip Rivers, the Chargers' franchise quarterback since 2006. In his place steps former Bills signal-caller Tyrod Taylor. He will serve as a placeholder until the 6th overall pick in this year's draft, Justin Herbert of Oregon is ready to take over. 

Not only are the Chargers transitioning at quarterback, but they are also moving into a new stadium. Los Angeles will christen state-of-the-art SoFi Stadium this season, which the Chargers will share with the Los Angeles Rams. The stadium price tag was $5 billion.

Oddsmakers have set the Chargers' 2020 win total at 8 games. But the juice across the market is all trending downward, signaling a combination of smart money and house liability on a 7-9 or worse season for Los Angeles.

At Circa Sports the under 8 is -120 and the over 8 is + 100. PointsBet is nearly identical with under 8 at -121 and the over 8 at + 100. FanDuel is at 8 with even -110 juice on both sides. DraftKings is the lone outlier hanging a win total of 7.5 with over -130 juice (under + 107). 

One advantage for the Chargers this season: They have the 10th-easiest schedule in the NFL. Their 2020 opponents went a combined 126-130 (.492) in 2019. 

Here is the full Chargers schedule this season

Week 1: at Bengals

Week 2: vs Chiefs

Week 3: vs Panthers

Week 4: at Bucs

Week 5: at Saints

Week 6: vs Jets

Week 7: at Dolphins

Week 8: vs Jaguars

Week 9: vs Raiders

Week 10: Bye

Week 11: at Broncos

Week 12: at Bills

Week 13: vs Patriots

Week 14: vs Falcons

Week 15: at Raiders

Week 16: vs Broncos

Week 17: at Chiefs

Oddsmakers view the Chargers as a fringe playoff team in 2020. Los Angeles is a short -182 favorite to miss the postseason at FanDuel and a + 148 underdog to make the postseason. 

Los Angeles has the 2nd-best odds to win the AFC West at + 700, trailing only the Super Bowl champion Chiefs at -390. The Broncos are + 1100 and the Raiders + 1200.

The Bolts are + 1700 to win the AFC and + 3200 to win the Super Bowl. 

At DraftKings, Tyrod Taylor is a -335 favorite to start for the Chargers in Week 1. Justin Herbert is a + 300 underdog followed by longshot free agent Cam Newton at + 2500. 

First round pick Justin Herbert is + 1600 to win Offensive Rookie of the Year, tied with J.K. Dobbins for the 5th-best odds. Joe Burrow is the favorite at + 250, followed by Clyde Edwards-Helaire + 600, Jonathan Taylor + 800 and Tua Tagovailoa + 1000. 

The Chargers' second first-round pick, linebacker Kenneth Murray of Oklahoma, is + 1100 to win Defensive Rookie of the Year, trailing only Chase Young + 200, Isaiah Simmons + 500 and Patrick Queen + 900.

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