- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 4, 2020

The gambling world has some advice for Washington Redskins fans betting on a turnaround next season: Don’t.

The Redskins are given little-to-no chance of pulling a San Francisco 49ers-style worst-to-first transformation, despite the team’s changes in the front office, the arrival of new coaches and the return of some talented young players.

“What’s the expression?” said Pat Morrow, the head oddsmaker for the online sportsbook Bovada. “Rearranging the chairs on the Titanic?”

With the NFL season officially over, sportsbooks have re-jiggered their odds for next season — and the Redskins are almost universally considered the longest of NFL long shots to win next year’s Super Bowl.

Bovada has Washington a 150-1 underdog to win it all, while others like BetOnline and SportsBetting have the Redskins last in the NFL at 100-1.

The Hollywood Casino and Inn in Charles Town, West Virginia, also listed the Redskins at 150-1 as of last week.

Those numbers may change in coming months — experts stressed it is still relatively early, with free agency and the draft ahead — but for now, according to the oddsmakers, the Redskins are close to irrelevant as an NFL franchise.

That may not be earth-shattering news to anyone who watched the team’s just completed 3-13 campaign, but it another reminder of how far the Redskins have fallen in the NFL hierarchy.

“Just not a team that inspires a lot of optimism,” Morrow said. “I remember late in the season seeing so many empty seated games, … Maybe the Redskins can surprise us, but I mean their front-office hasn’t really blown us away in the decade or so that I’ve been doing this.

“All that kind of leads us to this point where we still have the Redskins, theoretically, being our worst team and least likely to win the Super Bowl next year.”

Dave Mason, BetOnline’s brand manager, said the skepticism among oddsmakers begins at quarterback.

First-rounder Dwayne Haskins showed flashes of talent near the end of his rookie year. But in a quarterback-driven league, the 22-year-old is still considered unproven and his body of work doesn’t suggest to oddsmakers a massive improvement is coming.

It’s why the Redskins, Mason said, rank so far behind a team like the New York Giants (66-1), who had a poor 4-12 record but had a rookie quarterback in Daniel Jones that looked like a star in the making.

“He showed he can be a franchise quarterback,” Mason said, “whereas the jury is still out on Haskins big time. The difference there in odds comes down to Jones versus Haskins, pretty much.”

Sports Betting’s Adam Burns said the odds are also affected by the risk the oddsmakers are willing to take. “We still have to manage our book,” Burns said. That means sportsbooks will offer odds they think won’t hurt them, and are willing to readjust if a lot of money comes in on one team. For example, Burns said the Philadelphia Eagles have already gone from 25-1 to 18-1.

The Redskins aren’t attracting enough money to cause that type of swing. Burns said Washington is the fourth-least-popular bet at their book — ahead of only Jacksonville Jaguars (50-1), the Indianapolis Colts (33-1) and the Pittsburgh Steelers (16-1).

At Bovada, the only team with less money bet on it so far is the Jaguars.

“You can afford to offer (the Redskins) maybe higher than other teams knowing that our bettors really aren’t that interested in betting on them,” Morrow said. “At least certainly at this point.”

Historically, there have been some underdogs that have defied the odds, including the 2019 Tennessee Titans, who went from 100-1 at this time last year to 40-1 just before the start of the playoffs. Morrow recalled the 2015 Carolina Panthers going from 66-1 to eventually making the Super Bowl.

So that means there’s a chance, even for a team like the Redskins, to turn things around next season?

Don’t bet on it, Morrow said.

“There’s really not that optimism that a winning culture is going to present itself for a team like the Washington Redskins,” Morrow said. “We don’t really expect them to make a big leap this year or next year because of the culture that’s in place there.”

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