Josh Katzenstein for Bookies.com

By Josh Katzenstein | | 7 mins

SLIPS: Super Bowl Bettors Rejoice in Mahomes Scoring 1st TD

SLIPS: Super Bowl Bettors Rejoice in Mahomes Scoring 1st TD

U.S. sportsbooks took an incredible amount of Super Bowl betting action and one play from the Kansas City Chiefs’ victory in Super Bowl 54 helped bettors cash in Sunday.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes scored a 1-yard rushing touchdown in the first quarter, which hit two popular NFL betting props that were costly for two of the biggest books.

At DraftKings, Mahomes to score the first touchdown was +2000, and Johnny Avello, the sportsbook director, said that was one of the most popular bets of the day. Two bettors at DraftKings bet $500 on Mahomes to score first, and the wagers paid $10,500. To win, bettors needed Mahomes to score as a runner or receiver, and he had only scored a rushing touchdown in three of his 16 games during the regular season and playoffs.

Meanwhile, Nick Bogdanovich, director of trading at William Hill, said Mahomes to score a rushing touchdown was the book’s worst bet of the day “by far.” A “yes” bet on Mahomes to run for a score had +280 odds, and 98% of bets and 82% of the handle were on “yes.”

William Hill didn’t lose quite as much on the bet of Mahomes scoring the first touchdown in part because the odds were shorter than DraftKings at +1200, which shows how much variance there can be on the countless props available during the Super Bowl.

Massive Super Bowl Betting Turnout

Bogdanovich and Avello said their books took a ton of Super Bowl action, which isn’t surprising considering more and more states have legalized sports betting.

“I think we were up about 250%,” Avello said. “We’re happy with what we saw and hope next year will be even more.”


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Bogdanovich didn’t have numbers on the total handle as of Monday morning, but said there were a lot of bettors at William Hill’s books across the country.

“It was a busy Super Bowl, I know that,” he said. “I would imagine it would come down to how many large wagers were out there if it gets a record. But I know one thing, it was busier than hell yesterday.”

Mahomes As MVP Good For Books

Bettors love to find a long shot for MVP, so when Mahomes won as the favorite, the books rejoiced. “It might have been the biggest prop bet we ever won in total,” Bogdanovich said. “I just can’t believe we wrote that kind of business to that prop. It was big.”

Mahomes was -110 to win MVP at William Hill, so many people turned to players with better odds, which created a lot of liability for the book.

At PointsBet, 16% of MVP bets were on Mahomes, but the payout on others like Nick Bosa (15% at +3000) or George Kittle (11% at +1500) would have been ridiculous.

Super Bowl Under Pays

For most of the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, action poured in on the over with the total opening at 51.5 and climbing as high as 55. As Bogdanovich predicted last week, late sharp money flooded in on the under, which ultimately paid with the game finishing at 51 points.

Avello said DraftKings took a big six-figure bet on the under that shifted the handle from about 80% on the over down to between 60% and 65%.

Even though the under looked safe for much of the game, there was still a chance for the over if the 49ers had scored a desperation touchdown or if Mahomes’ final-play heave had somehow resulted in a touchdown instead of going out of bounds.

“When it looks like you’re locked in, you just never know,” Avello said.

In-play Betting Draws Action

With the Chiefs falling behind by 10 points in the third quarter, gamblers had a chance to take advantage of great odds if they were in position to make a live bet. William Hill shifted the Chiefs’ moneyline as high as +575 while the 49ers had a 10-point lead in the second half, and one bettor put $3,000 on those odds. At Draft Kings, the Kansas City moneyline went up to +390.

Anyone confident in the Chiefs before the game should have been paying attention to the live line because the opportunity to score those odds on the favorite is a true treat.

Of course, gamblers would have to be in a sportsbook or in a state with legal online gambling to take the live bet, but this is a good lesson that a good team facing a deficit — especially one with Kansas City’s scoring potential — can be a boon for bettors. Bogdanovich said live betting each year accounts for about 27% of the total handle at William Hill.

Super Bowl Futures Paid Out

DraftKings had to pay out some big futures bets after Kansas City won on Sunday. One bettor on Oct. 30 put $30,000 on the Chiefs to win the Super Bowl at +1500 odds. At the time, the Chiefs had just lost to the Packers to fall to 5-3.

William Hill also paid out some hefty futures bets on the Chiefs, most notably an $8,000 bet with +1400 odds that paid $112,000. The bettor made the wager on Oct. 31.

Notable Bets

  • The best bet of the day was a longstanding parlay involving the Chiefs. Avello said DraftKings took a wager in June with four legs — the United States to win the Women’s World Cup, the Yankees to win the AL East, the Braves to win the NL East and the Chiefs to win the Super Bowl. The $400 bet paid $20,000.
  • A big loss at DraftKings came from one bettor who put nearly $700,000 on the 49ers +2 a few days after the odds posted, according to Avello.
  • One DraftKings bettor put $974 on the Super Bowl to be a tie at halftime, and the wager paid out $10,227.
  • Another DraftKings bettor won $700 thanks to a $50 bet on Chiefs cornerback Bashaud Breeland to make the first interception.