The “house always wins” adage doesn’t always apply to the Super Bowl, especially when Patrick Mahomes has something to say about it.
The underdog Kansas City Chiefs knocked off the San Francisco 49ers 25-22 in overtime of Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas on Sunday night.
The outright upset set sportsbooks back as the Chiefs are one of the most popular NFL teams to bet, especially when the public can back Mahomes, who’s 11-1-1 against the spread as an underdog and 10-3 straight-up.
“It was a bad Super Bowl for the sportsbook,” BetMGM senior trader Tristan Davis said. “Many bettors had the Chiefs winning and overs on popular player props.”
Bad and good
BetMGM reported three costly wagers for the operator: $300,000 on the Chiefs +2, $125,000 on the Chiefs moneyline at +110, and $100,000 on heads being the result of the coin toss at -105.
BetMGM said 63% of spread bets and 74% of the handle were on Kansas City.
Moneyline bets went against the sportsbook, too, as 75% of the bets and 72% of the wagers fell with the Chiefs.
It wasn’t all bad for sportsbook operators, though. Caesars did make out big off of the misfortune of one Michigan bettor, who reportedly lost three wagers totaling $1.3 million.
Overtime proved to be costly in some respects but also led to bettors double checking their tickets for the total points wagers.
Sportsbooks were offering the OT prop bet at +900, proving to be a popular selection.
With the game 13-10 heading into the fourth quarter, it looked like there was no way there would be any shot of an over on the point total.
BetMGM reported that the over of 47 received 60% of wagers but 45% of the handle.
Some shops were offering 46.5 late in the week. The over got there when Mahomes found Mecole Hardman for the walk-off touchdown. No extra point was kicked, saving the sportsbooks from even more defeat with all the over bets.
“The Chiefs force OT and then win … there is nothing that could’ve been worse,” SuperBook executive director John Murray told ESPN.
Adding to the agony of some sportsbooks were the player props, which receive a lot of over bets.
DraftKings reported that its most-bet player props in passing, receiving, rushing, and anytime touchdown markets all went over.
FanDuel said one bettor placed a live nine-leg same-game parlay that netted more than $11,400 with the Chiefs moneyline being one of the selections combined with several player prop totals.
Mahomes winning MVP might’ve saved the sportsbooks. Teammate Travis Kelce was the most-bet MVP offered, mostly at +1400. Mahomes was listed at +135 at many sportsbooks.
Popular bets hit
However, Kelce, one of the most popular players for props, did have nine catches for 93 yards, soaring over his posted totals.
It helped sportsbooks that neither he nor running back Isiah Pacheco scored a TD, but San Francisco running back Christian McCaffrey, with expectedly high odds to do so, did. The NFL’s leading rusher in 2023 also went over his receiving totals but under his rushing numbers.
Overtime wasn’t the only one of the more exotic props to get bettors home. Niners receiver Jauan Jennings tossing a touchdown to McCaffrey on a trick play hit for over 2.5 players to throw a pass.
As for off the field, the National Anthem stirred some controversy over its length after Reba McEntire used the word “brave” twice in the performance.
Before the game, it was projected that more Americans would bet the Super Bowl than ever before.
Legal sports betting numbers are still trickling in, but FanDuel accepted 14 million Super Bowl bets with a handle of $307 million, the most in the company’s history. The operator reported more than 2.2 million active users placed a wager on the Big Game.
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