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On The Money | NFL Super Bowl Betting Recap: Sportsbook Issues

Bill Ordine for Bookies.com

Bill Ordine  | 6 mins

On The Money | NFL Super Bowl Betting Recap: Sportsbook Issues

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Since the last Super Bowl, six more states and the District of Columbia flipped the switch on sports betting, setting the stage for Sunday’s NFL Championship between Kansas City and Tampa Bay to be the biggest ever for legal wagering in America.

That’s likely to be the case when all the counting is done but the Buccaneers' 31-9 upset of the Chiefs will also be an occasion that provided U.S. bookmaking operators with a learning experience. In some cases, customer enthusiasm to bet on the Super Bowl outstripped some operators’ ability to meet that demand. Both DraftKings and FanDuel noted that they experienced outages in at least some jurisdictions, and BetMGM had problems in Nevada.

RELATED: Champion Bucs, Brady 2nd choice in early Super Bowl 2022 odds

FanDuel Customer Support said in a Tweet: “We are aware customers in (Michigan) and (Illinois) are having trouble logging in and placing wagers on the Sportsbook platform. Our team is working on resolving this issue as quickly as possible and we will provide any updates here. We apologize for any inconvenience!”

DraftKings said in a statement to media inquiries: “We’re aware customers were unable to access our mobile and online Sportsbook. It appears this outage was caused by a surge in traffic that caused problems for our backend provider. Our (daily fantasy sports) and pools products, supported by in-house technology, are functioning without issue. This incident is why we believe owning our own technology is important.”

BetMGM notified customers on Twitter that it was having difficulties in Nevada on its app and at the retail sportsbooks.

What has been happening as more states allow sports wagering is that some operators, in their zeal to attract customers, have been offering exceedingly juicy promotional deals — hence, a crush of customers.

As far as the game itself, some bookmakers should have done well with the Bucs, generally a 3-point underdog, taking down the Chiefs and the total points (55.5 to 56 at most books by kickoff) falling well below the Over-Under. Kansas City and the Over were public picks.

Meanwhile, on the Super Bowl futures, after quarterback Tom Brady signed with the Bucs in March, Tampa Bay became an NFL bettors’ favorite and correspondingly, also became the top liability for most books for winning the Super Bowl as a futures prop bet.

Brady not only brought home the futures money for those bettors but finished as the game’s MVP (21-for-29 passing, 201 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions), as a +200 MVP prop bet at PointsBet and BetRivers.com/PlaySugarHouse.com, and +180 at William Hill.

Impact of Mega-Wagers

And then there were the mega-wagers on the game itself led by the $3.5 million bet DraftKings took last week from colorful sports bettor Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, a Houston furniture store owner. McIngvale bet Tampa Bay getting 3.5 points.

“Of course, we had the big bet from the $3.5 million so that’s going to be a winner (for the customer) but we had a lot of Chiefs money, too,” said Johnny Avello, head of sportsbook operations for DraftKings. “I think we had a little more money on the Over. On the futures bets, remember that Tampa Bay was our No. 1 (liability) for the futures bets.”

Avello said the futures liability on Tampa Bay ran to seven figures as the Bucs settled in at about 14-1 when the season started. That was down from a pre-Brady 50-1 at some books.

At PointsBet, spokesman Patrick Eichner noted that, “Overall (the game was) a very positive result for the book, as we won on the key markets of point spread (prior to kickoff, 90% of point spread handle was backing the Chiefs -3) and total (that sat at 56 for most of the week, but closed at 55 — 66% of the money was backing the Over).”

Generally, Chiefs money dominated on the point spread but the moneyline betting handle was more even. Traditionally, the most popular prop is first TD scored and whether Tampa Bay TE Rob Gronkowski was an informed or sentimental choice, he paid off for his fans. Gronk was the first TD of the game, a little 8-yard screen pass to the left that the tight end walked into the end zone, hitting that prop for +2200 at BetRivers.com/PlaySugarHouse.com.

Other Big Super Bowl 55 Bets

Gameday technical troubles aside, seven-figure bets were peppered throughout the run-up to the Super Bowl. They started with a $2.3 million wager with BetMGM that may have altered the trajectory of the point spread that started at Kansas City -3.5 immediately after the Chiefs and Buccaneers won their respective conference championships. After that multi-million dollar bet on Tampa Bay getting the 3.5, the line dipped to 3 points and held there at most sportsbooks right up to kickoff.

A few days before the game, there was the aforementioned $3.46 million bet, also on the Bucs getting 3.5 points with DraftKings from “Mattress Mack” and the night before the game, a third mega-bet on the Bucs rolled in, again with BetMGM, but this time it was a $1 million money line bet on Tampa Bay at +135. On game day, a William Hill customer put a $1.16 million moneyline bet on Kansas City at -155.

Super Bowl 55 Betting Odds & Ends

A bettor in Mississippi on BetMGM was an early loser. That customer had the Chiefs at -2.5 at -110 for a little over $308,000. Faring better was a FanDuel customer who hit a four-leg parlay for $500 that hit for $52,808.26: Any-time scores by Tampa Bay’s Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Brown and Leonard Fournette; and Gronk getting over 29.5 receiving yards. It hit early in the third quarter when Fournette scored the Bucs’ fourth TD.

On the more frivolous props, the coin toss came up heads and the Gatorade bath turned out to be longshot blue (reportedly +700).

Looking ahead to next season’s Super Bowl, FanDuel has the Chiefs as the favorite at +490; the new champion Buccaneers are second at +950, and at the other end are the Lions at +12000.

About the Author

Bill Ordine for Bookies.com
Bill Ordine
Bill Ordine was a reporter and editor in news and sports for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Baltimore Sun for 25 years and was lead reporter on a team that was a Pulitzer Prize finalist.