Make no mistake about it: Super Bowl LV was about as close as it gets to a best-case scenario for the house.
Sitting under an avalanche of Kansas City money against the spread and with a majority of bettors backing the Over in the mid-50s, the house was grinning ear-to-ear as the Bucs finished off a 31-9 win Sunday night that stayed well below the posted total.
Oddsmakers at PointsBet Sportsbook did take a small loss on moneyline wagers, with 57 percent of wagers backing Tampa Bay in the range of +130, and they paid out handsomely when Tom Brady (+200) was named Super Bowl MVP. But the spread handle far outweighed other smaller markets and went in a big way toward the house, with 90 percent of wagers on the Chiefs.
"It was pretty close (to a best-case scenario)," PointsBet senior sports analyst Andrew Mannino told NBC Sports. "I mean, the only thing that could've been better was Kansas City winning but Tampa covering. But the spread was the majority of the action, so this was overall a great day for the book."
A win from either team was going to be a "manageable loss" for PointsBet in the futures market, although the Bucs winning left a bigger dent on the ledger. Tampa Bay opened the season at +5000 odds before acquiring Brady, and while those odds fell to +1600 once he signed. While they became a popular futures play after that point, the Bucs were still listed at +1000 entering the playoffs as the No. 5 seed in the NFC.
Props go to house, but Gronk leaves a mark
PointsBet oddsmakers were also celebrating Sunday night after getting the best of some of the most lopsided prop bet decisions, although they didn't emerge from the game entirely unscathed.
Entering Sunday three of the biggest sweats on the prop market were Brady rushing yards, first touchdown scorer and Tyreek Hill receiving yards. Specifically, bettors had piled on Brady over 0.5 yards on the ground, Mike Evans (+1050) to score the first touchdown and Hill to rack up more than 93.5 yards receiving. The book won all three of those decisions, with Brady rushing for -2 yards, Rob Gronkowski scoring the first touchdown and Hill tallying 73 yards through the air.
But they did pay out some notable bets, including a $2,500 wager on the coin toss (heads) and a $1,000 bet on Gronkowski to score at least two touchdowns which yielded $11,000.
"We got hit a few different times on Gronk," Mannino said.
PointsBet received several bets on Gronkowski to score the first touchdown, and that 2+ touchdown prop paid out +1100. There was also a unique pointsbetting market called "first touchdown accelerator," in which a player got 150 points for scoring the first touchdown, 75 for scoring the second touchdown and subsequently decreasing totals until the fifth touchdown scored meant 0 points. The point total for Gronkowski was set at 18, and his two early scores meant the market ended with his total at a whopping 225.
"We had one guy who had a $90 bet on it that cleared over $18,000," Mannino said. "There were a lot of smaller bettors that had 5 or 10 bucks on it that got paid out pretty handsomely as well."
Chiefs listed as early favorites for next season
As soon as Brady and the Bucs got their hands around the Vince Lombardi trophy, it was time to shift the focus to the early favorites for next season.
The Chiefs fell short Sunday night in Tampa, but oddsmakers have faith that Patrick Mahomes can get his team back to a third straight Super Bowl and come out victorious next year in Los Angeles. Kansas City is listed as a futures favorite at PointsBet, opening at +600 and already down to +500 based on early wagers.
Odds to win Super Bowl LVI (via PointsBet)
+500: Kansas City Chiefs
+900: Green Bay Packers
+1200: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens
+1400: Los Angeles Rams
+1500: San Francisco 49ers
+1600: New Orleans Saints
+2000: Seattle Seahawks
Even with Brady at the helm, Tampa will still looking up at a pair of teams they just beat. The defending champs are listed at +1200, the same odds as the Buffalo Bills and Baltimore Ravens, thanks in large part to the perceived power of the Green Bay Packers who the Bucs defeated in the NFC Championship.
"We still like the Packers, and we have them favored to get out of the NFC next year," Mannino said. "The AFC we expect to be awfully competitive again. Buffalo and Baltimore will certainly challenge Kansas City there. But it's a long way to go, and a lot of offseason to go before we feel comfortable about saying anything."
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