Despite his unprecedented level of postseason success, bettors did not hesitate to go against Tom Brady in the NFC championship game.
It backfired. And that was a massive win for the sportsbook at BetMGM.
Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were 3.5-point underdogs against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Sunday. Brady tossed three interceptions, but he also threw three touchdown passes to help the Bucs pull off the 31-26 upset and advance to the Super Bowl.
For Brady, it will be his 10th Super Bowl appearance and first in a Bucs uniform after his historic run with the New England Patriots. But Brady still had his doubters among the betting public.
According to BetMGM, 74% of the bets and a whopping 79% of the money bet on Sunday’s game came on the Green Bay side. That included bets of $525,000 and $275,000 on the Packers to cover the 3.5.
There was one massive bet on the Bucs — $550,000 to win $500,000 on Bucs +3.5 — that cashed, but it didn’t put much of a dent in the outcome for the book. Jason Scott, BetMGM’s VP of Trading, said the Bucs’ upset was “the best result BetMGM has had on a single event in 12 months.”
Chiefs finally cover the spread
Entering Sunday’s AFC championship game against the Buffalo Bills, the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs had failed to cover the spread in nine straight games.
Over that span, the Chiefs were 0-8-1 against the spread. They were favored in all but one of those games, too. Nonetheless, the Chiefs received public backing on Sunday as 3.5-point favorites against the Bills, a team that had covered the spread in nine of its previous 10 games.
This time, though, the Chiefs came through for the bettors, winning 38-24 to return to the Super Bowl.
MGM paid out a few six-figure bets on the Chiefs, both on the moneyline. One was a $800,000 bet on the Chiefs at -160. That paid out $500,000. The other big bet was $165,000 at -165 odds, paying out $100,000.
In all, 60% of the bets and 63% of the money came in on the Chiefs — but it wasn’t a typical volume of money. Jeff Stoneback, the Director of Trading for BetMGM, told Yahoo Sports that the handle wasn’t as big as usual with the status of Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes up in the air over the course of the week.
Mahomes was in concussion protocol and also dealing with a painful turf toe injury. He was cleared to play and ended up throwing for 325 yards and three touchdowns in the win.
The Chiefs opened the season 6-2 against the spread, but had not covered since Nov. 1 when they beat the New York Jets 35-9 as 20-point favorites. That changed on Sunday against Buffalo.
Super Bowl odds: Big bets already in on Chiefs
As soon as the Bucs vs. Chiefs matchup was set, BetMGM had betting odds ready for the Super Bowl.
The Chiefs opened as 3.5-point favorites. As of Monday morning, the point spread ticked half a point in Tampa Bay’s direction and currently sits at Chiefs -3 with the total at 56.5.
Stoneback told Yahoo Sports that MGM had already received “a couple six-figure bets” on the Chiefs on Sunday night when the spread was -3.5 and the moneyline was -180. The Chiefs moneyline currently sits at -160. On the Bucs side, it is +135.
Stoneback expects the line to hold fairly steady as we inch closer to the big game on Feb. 7. Kansas City has been a favorite of the public all year, and the presence of Brady always attracts action on both sides.
“I think 3.5 is going to be a solid number,” Stoneback told Yahoo Sports. “Obviously, Kansas City is a public team but everybody loves Brady or hates Brady. Whatever side of the fence you’re on, either way it draws a lot of action.”
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