LAS VEGAS — Even before Tom Brady took his talents to Tampa Bay, money started to show on the Buccaneers to win the Super Bowl. What was a long shot 10 months ago turned into a sure thing by Sunday night.
There was no dramatic finish and no doubt about it. Brady’s seventh Super Bowl win was a blowout and a big loser for bookmakers on the futures board.
“We got hit pretty good at 20/1 odds and people kept betting on the Bucs all season,” DraftKings sportsbook director John Avello said. “It seemed like everyone had some money on Tampa Bay to win the Super Bowl when Brady went there. There are a lot of people out there holding a futures bet on the Buccaneers.”
In March, before Brady announced his move from New England, Tampa Bay was attracting action as high as 60/1 odds at several sportsbooks. In a Super Bowl full of major wagers, the biggest bet was on the Buccaneers and the biggest surprise was how easy it was for Brady, who passed for three first-half touchdowns in a 31-9 victory over Kansas City.
“I don’t think it’s a shock Tampa Bay won,” said Vinny Magliulo, VSiN oddsmaker and veteran Las Vegas bookmaker. “I think it’s a shock it was such a one-sided game.”
The surprises started when Brady hit tight end Rob Gronkowski for an 8-yard touchdown pass with 37 seconds left in the first quarter. At BetMGM, Gronkowski was posted at 18/1 odds to score the game’s first touchdown.
Kansas City’s offensive futility led to other long-shot props — quarterback Patrick Mahomes throwing zero touchdown passes was posted at 15/1, and the Chiefs scoring exactly nine points was a 100/1 shot.
Some sportsbooks reported a win on the game, with the Buccaneers and Chiefs each drawing wagers of more than $1 million. DraftKings took the largest wager for $3.46 million on Tampa Bay +3.5 from Houston furniture store owner Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale. BetMGM took a $2.5 million bet on Kansas City -165.
“Just call it a loser. We paid out a lot of money,” Avello said. “I probably have booked 35 Super Bowls in my career and probably have won 75 percent of those, but you are going to lose once in a while. But it was great because we had monster volume.”
Magliulo said the wagering handle was “phenomenal” and potentially a record-breaking game in Nevada, where the Super Bowl drew a record $158.6 million in 2018.
About an hour before kickoff, Magliulo said, the South Point took a $300,000 wager on the Chiefs -150.
“We needed Tampa Bay, and it was a good result overall,” Magliulo said. “My philosophy is there’s never a bad Super Bowl for a hotel-casino.”
But it was a train wreck for the Chiefs and coach Andy Reid, whose team was sloppy and undisciplined throughout the game while piling up 11 penalties for 120 yards. Mahomes was sacked three times behind a weak offensive line.
“Andy Reid just got completely outcoached,” Magliulo said “There were no adjustments by the Chiefs. There was no response, and I was very surprised by that. I think Mahomes was running for his life more in the second half than the first.”
Mahomes was the MVP favorite, but Brady cashed at +225 by winning the award for the fifth time in his career.
“We had more money on Mahomes to win MVP. The Mahomes money was overwhelming,” Avello said. “Was Brady spectacular? No. But he made some good short throws, and that’s his game now. He was well prepared, which you expect from Brady in a Super Bowl.”
Chalk one up for the underdog and the bettors who could see into the future. But long-shot prices on Brady are in the past.
BetMGM opened Super Bowl odds for next year and posted the Chiefs as 6/1 favorites, with the Buccaneers at 10/1.
“The Chiefs could have been beat several times this season,” Avello said. “Mahomes is probably not getting back to the Super Bowl next year. It’s tough to do.”
It’s just something Brady makes look easy.