Prop Bets Fuel Super Bowl Betting Frenzy

Posted on: February 7, 2021, 07:15h. 

Last updated on: February 7, 2021, 12:32h.

It’s Super Bowl Sunday, with the magnitude of the game and the number of crazy bets making it the biggest day of the year at sportsbooks.

Super Bowl
Raymond James Stadium in Tampa., Fla., will host Sunday’s Super Bowl between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Chiefs are 3-point favorites. (Image: Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

The craziest of all might be the $3.4 million bet placed at DraftKings on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as 3.5-point underdogs for Sunday’s NFL championship game against the Kansas City Chiefs. At least the bettor probably slept well, considering he goes by the nickname “Mattress Mack” as the owner of a Houston furniture chain.

It’s a great story,” said Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, to “The gentleman who bet it is from Houston, and we don’t take bets in Houston. He had to fly his personal jet to Colorado and make the bet and then turn around and go back. I don’t think he was here longer than 15, 20 minutes.”

With kickoff approaching, the Chiefs were 3-point favorites. With superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs have been the favorite to repeat as champions for most of the season. With the addition of legendary quarterback Tom Brady, the Buccaneers have been bet big all season.

Prop Bets Deliver Added Interest

While the huge bets make headlines, the sheer number of bets that are available is staggering. DraftKings, for instance, offers more than 1,000 ways to bet on the game.

“Normally, we take about 80 percent of our volume on the core three markets” of point spread, moneyline and point total, said John Sheeran, the director of trading for FanDuel Sportsbook, to “For the Super Bowl, that drops to 70 percent.”

On the other hand, at one multistate sportsbook, only 27 percent of the bets are on spreads/totals/moneyline. The rest of the bets are on props and parlays.

The coin toss is the most popular of the props. William Hill has more than 900 props on its menu. The bet with the second-most tickets is tails, while No. 4 is heads.

Beyond the obvious bets, such as game MVP and which player will be the first to score a touchdown, sportsbooks are fantastically creative as a way to draw customers.

What color will be the Gatorade dumped on the winning coach? Will there be a scoring drive that takes less time than the national anthem? Will more than two players throw a pass? Will a kick hit a goalpost?

“You’ve got your template from previous years, so that’s where you start,” Avello said. “You’ve got things that have worked in the past and will continue to work in the future, so you plug in new teams and new players and calculate the odds. And then we try to add to the menu by coming up with some new bets. I don’t think it will ever end. Every year, we’ll come up a few new ones, so it will continue to expand.”

Chiefs 3-Point Favorites

The line has been bouncing between 3.5 and 3 all week. When it jumps to 3.5, the money is on the Buccaneers. When it falls to 3, the money is on the Chiefs.

On the spread at FanDuel, 59 percent of bets and 67 percent of the money is on Kansas City. The moneyline is straight down the middle at FanDuel and BetMGM, but on the Bucs’ side at DraftKings and PointsBet. As is typically the case, the bettors are taking the over of the 56.5-point total.

Talking about the moneyline trend, Avello said, “That does not surprise me, because that’s kind of typical for a Super Bowl. The bettors like to bet the underdog in the game, and why not? This is a good underdog with Tom Brady and a really good defense. If you like the Bucs and you like Tom Brady, why not?”

The quarterbacks are the MVP favorites, with Kansas City’s Mahomes at -110 and Tampa Bay’s Brady at +200 at PointsBet. Brady has 21 percent of the bet count, followed by the Kansas City triumvirate of receiver Tyreek Hill (12 percent at +1100), tight end Travis Kelce (10 percent at +1000) and Mahomes (9 percent).