Sunday night certainly had winners and losers in the Super Bowl odds market. But the one thing everybody got was a good sweat.
At the top of the winners list, regrettably for a large majority of bettors, were the sportsbooks. The Los Angeles Rams won 23-20, the Bengals covered as 4.5-point underdogs, and the Under hit on a closing total of 48.5. Afterwards, the positive adjectives freely flowed from the mouths of oddsmakers.
“Fantastic.” “Perfect.” “Terrific.”
Props.com talked to several sportsbook insiders to learn how they fared across the myriad Super Bowl betting options.
‘Scrambling All Day’
When the Rams stopped Joe Burrow and the Bengals on fourth down near midfield in the final minute, effectively ending the game, oddsmakers far and wide were beyond excited. A Los Angeles win and a Bengals cover was the ideal outcome behind most counters. The Under was a bonus.
“The Rams winning and landing on 3 was a fantastic result,” WynnBet senior trading manager Alan Berg said. “It was nice to have it go that way, a dream scenario.”
South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews, a longtime industry veteran of these Super Bowl odds battles, echoed Berg’s sentiments.
“It was a perfect result,” Andrews. “Great two-way action, and Rams by 3 was a terrific result for us. And we had more moneyline play than we did on the point spread. That was pretty much two-way as well, but late, it came in on the Bengals.
“We were scrambling all day, and it fell really well for us.”
TwinSpires Sportsbook trading analyst Zachary Lucas told Props.com pregame that Rams by 1-3 points was ideal, not knowing how spot-on it would fall by game’s end.
“That was the best-case scenario, Rams by 1-3 points. The Rams were also the better future result,” Lucas said. “You can’t script it much better.”
BetMGM vice president of trading Jason Scott said the only real setback in the Super Bowl odds market was on the moneyline. His operation was among the few that didn’t see the typical Super Bowl pattern of the public taking the underdog to win outright.
“A good day,” Scott said. “Spread was a small winner, total a winner, futures a big winner. Props and parlays, very good.”
Getting Under results on key QB props, as well as on wideout props for the Rams’ Cooper Kupp and Odell Beckham Jr., was also helpful. The one outlier at BetMGM: “Beckham [to score] first touchdown was a decent-size loser,” Scott said.
BetMGM Nevada’s Scott Shelton concurred on that point, noting the first TD prop was a rare setback for the operator’s Las Vegas books.
“We got absolutely annihilated. That was a big loser,” Shelton said. “But other than that, all the other big prop decisions went our way.”
And again, overall, BetMGM and most books did well to the final result. Not so at The SuperBook, which very much needed the favorite to win and cover. Rams by 3 didn’t get the job done.
“We are a little disappointed,” SuperBook executive director John Murray said. “It was hard for us to win if the game landed in the middle like that, because our bigger spread bets were on the Bengals, and we had a big liability to the Rams in the futures book.”
Added Jay Kornegay, who runs The SuperBook as vice president of race and sports for Westgate Las Vegas: “We just didn’t attract Rams point-[spread] bets or Bengals moneyline wagers. The result wasn’t our best.”
Books Narrowly Dodge Overtime Disaster
As good a day as it was for most books, things nearly got turned upside-down in the bettors’ favor. After Los Angeles took a 23-20 lead with a late 1-yard TD pass from Matthew Stafford to Kupp, Burrow moved the Bengals to the Rams’ 49-yard line, facing second-and-1 with 1:19 left. Plenty of time to at least get into field-goal range.
But Burrow followed with an incomplete pass, then running back Samaje Perine was stopped short on third-and-1. On fourth down, the Rams’ defense put heavy pressure on Burrow, whose desperation pass fell incomplete.
With that, a massive sigh of relief was released in risk rooms everywhere. Overtime would have burned up much of the books’ win, perhaps all of it at some shops. That’s because there was a flood of tickets and money on the Overtime Yes/No prop, with pretty much all the action on Yes.
Overtime also would’ve ensured the game went Over the 48.5-point closing total.
“Overtime and a Bengals win — and thus the Over would have hit — would’ve been more than $20 million worse” for BetMGM nationally, Scott said.
So as tense as things were for bettors across the nation during Cincinnati’s final drive, the same was true for risk-room teams like BetMGM Nevada, which was hunkered down inside the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
“We were on the edge of our seats the last two minutes,” Shelton said. “It could’ve gone either way. It would’ve been really bad if it had gone to overtime. That alone was a seven-figure swing for us in Nevada, just from that prop.
“And if it goes to overtime, the game automatically goes Over, which was a big loser. It was a huge swing that just fell our way.”