Updated February 12, 2024 - 10:26 am
You can’t bet against Patrick Mahomes.
That was the mantra of the masses in the two weeks leading up to the first Super Bowl in Las Vegas.
The betting public had to sweat out the second overtime game in Super Bowl history before they could cash their tickets. But they were rewarded in the end, as Mahomes rallied the Chiefs to a 25-22 comeback win over the 49ers as 2-point underdogs at Allegiant Stadium for their second straight Super Bowl title and third in five years.
Mahomes improved to 11-1-1 against the spread as an underdog to help bettors beat sportsbooks on the spread and money line on the game.
“We lost on the game itself,” Westgate SuperBook vice president Jay Kornegay said. “It was a big swing for us with the Chiefs winning. We needed the 49ers going into it.”
Caesars Sportsbook and BetMGM also needed the 49ers — despite each book taking $1 million wagers on San Francisco — and lost on the side and money line.
“The game was good for the customers,” Caesars vice president of trading Craig Mucklow said. “The sharps were on the 49ers, and the public was on the Chiefs. It was a great comeback by the public on the game.”
The Chiefs trailed 19-16 with 1:53 left in regulation when Mahomes directed an 11-play, 64-yard drive to set up Harrison Butker’s 29-yard field goal to tie it with three seconds left.
After the 49ers took a 22-19 lead on the opening possession of overtime, Mahomes drove the Chiefs 75 yards in 13 plays, finding Mecole Hardman for a 3-yard touchdown with three seconds remaining as Kansas City became the first back-to-back NFL champion since the Patriots in the 2003 and 2004 seasons.
“The public got the best of us today,” MGM Resorts director of trading Lamarr Mitchell said.
OT prop boosts bettors
Books suffered a multimillion-dollar loss on the game going to overtime, a popular prop that paid about 9-1. Caesars lost seven figures alone on the prop, though the average bet on it was $16, Mucklow said.
“That was probably the biggest prop payout since I’ve been here,” he said.
Niners wide receiver Jauan Jennings threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Christian McCaffrey in the second quarter to give San Francisco a 10-0 lead and cash a non-quarterback to throw a touchdown pass prop that paid 12-1 at Caesars (and 40-1 at FanDuel, which doesn’t operate in Nevada).
“That was nothing compared to the overtime,” Mucklow said.
The Westgate also took a hit on the overtime prop.
“We definitely cringed when we saw it shaping up as an overtime game,” Kornegay said. “Overall the game was really going our way. It was low-scoring, somewhat uneventful, and it looked like the 49ers were going to win. Then the game goes into overtime, and it all fell apart from there.
“I think we’re going to be OK for the day. It’s going to kind of be a wash, maybe a small loser for the day once the smoke clears.”
Game stays under
The total was at 47½ before dipping as low as 46½ on Sunday.
“Overall, the day was a small winner. The biggest part was that the game still stayed under, only by a half point, but that was really the key to putting a small winner on the board,” Red Rock Resort sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. “It was a record Super Bowl handle for us here at Stations.”
Mahomes went over most of his props in completing 34 of 46 passes for 333 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 66 yards, and Travis Kelce went over his receptions and receiving yards props with nine catches for 93 yards.
But the books were bailed out by Kelce not scoring a touchdown and Mahomes winning the Super Bowl MVP, which helped give Caesars a winning day.
“Kelce scoring a touchdown would’ve been icing on the cake for the customers. I thought we were going to be the tortured trading department,” Mucklow said. “But I think we’ll come out OK on the props. Only McCaffrey scored a touchdown. None of the other marquee touchdown scorers scored, which usually goes to the same-game parlays.
“If you count the MVP prop, we won big on Mahomes. That wiped out the overtime loss. And the Chiefs were a great one on the futures.”
South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews said his book took a hit on every possible teaser combination cashing. But he said they ended up a small winner.
“Nothing great, but not too bad either,” he said. “We wound up a little better than I expected.”
There were eight $1 million bets reported on the game, including a $1.1 million wager at Circa Sports placed Saturday night by Sean Perry, who gained notoriety this season by refusing to chop the $9.2 million Circa Survivor pot when it was down to 13 contestants.
Perry lost his $1.1 million bet on the 49ers -1½. There were four other seven-figure bets that lost on the 49ers: $1.1 million at -2 and $1 million on the money line (-130) at BetMGM; $1 million on the money line (-120) at Caesars; and $1 million at -2 at PointsBet sportsbook, which doesn’t operate in Nevada.
A BetMGM bettor won a $1.1 million wager on the Chiefs +2, a Circa bettor cashed a $1 million wager on the Chiefs +2, and a PointsBet gambler hit a $1 million first-half bet on the 49ers -½ when they led 10-3 at halftime.