Super Bowl betting: With money coming in on Buccaneers, BetMGM moves line and needs Chiefs to cover

Frank Schwab
·3-min read

The Super Bowl LV line was up at BetMGM since the AFC championship game was done 12 days ago and aside from a shift in the first 24 hours, it had remained the same.

Then on Friday, there was a significant move.

The Kansas City Chiefs, who were 3.5-point favorites since the Monday after the AFC championship game at BetMGM, were moved to a 3-point favorite. The move seems predicated on money coming in on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, including two big bets since the Super Bowl LV line was opened.

If you want the Chiefs, you don’t have to lay more than a field goal at BetMGM. Until there’s another line move, if there is one.

Super Bowl line hadn’t moved in a while

Sportsbooks are hesitant to move an NFL point spread when it involves the key number of 3. Point spreads of 3 and 7 on NFL games are the most important because those are the most common winning margins.

By having the Buccaneers at +3.5 for most of the two-week lead-up to the Super Bowl, then moving it to Chiefs -3 before the expected rush of money on the game this weekend, the books are setting up a difficult situation.

If the Chiefs win by exactly 3, all of the Chiefs -3 and Buccaneers +3 tickets would be a push and get refunded, and all of the Buccaneers +3.5 tickets are winners. Only those who took the Chiefs at -3.5 would lose.

“Super Bowl odds have been up for nearly two weeks but 90 percent of all bets on the big game will be placed this weekend,” BetMGM VP of trading Jason Scott said. “That being said, BetMGM currently needs the Chiefs to cover as we have moved the Buccaneers from +3.5 to +3.”

Sportsbooks kept profiting in the second half of the season when the Chiefs were winning but not covering the spread. The Chiefs were 0-8-1 against the spread and 8-1 straight up over a nine-game stretch after Nov. 1. Because the Chiefs are a popular team, those Kansas City losses were generally profitable for the house.

Now the house is rooting for Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in the biggest game of the year, though that could change if there’s a late rush of Chiefs money.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tackle Tristan Wirfs during practice on Friday before Super Bowl LV. (Tori Richman/Tampa Bay Buccaneers via AP)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers tackle Tristan Wirfs during practice on Friday before Super Bowl LV. (Tori Richman/Tampa Bay Buccaneers via AP)

Biggest bets are on Bucs

The two biggest bets on the point spread, by far, were on the Buccaneers at +3.5. There was a $2.3 million bet on the Buccaneers to win $2 million, which MGM Resorts director of trading Jeff Stoneback said he believed was the largest sports bet the company has ever taken. There was also a $345,000 bet on the Buccaneers at +3.5 to win $300,000.

As of Friday evening, no other bet on the point spread was more than $200,000.

The line could move again. The Super Bowl is the most-bet game of the year and almost all Super Bowl bets come in over the last 48 hours before kickoff.

For now, BetMGM is in the odd position of backing the Chiefs.

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