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Super Bowl betting: Days before the game, there were an equal number of Chiefs and Bucs bets in Vegas

Frank Schwab
·3-min read

Jeff Stoneback, the director of trading for MGM’s sportsbooks in Las Vegas, took a look at his screen on Thursday afternoon and couldn’t believe the betting pattern on Super Bowl LV.

After well over a thousand bets at MGM properties on the Super Bowl, there was the exact same number of bets on the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A couple hours later, there were five more Buccaneers tickets.

That says something about the matchup for this year’s Super Bowl.

“It has been like any other Super Bowl week, but the one thing that amazes me is how close the ticket count is,” Stoneback said.

That’s a big reason BetMGM hasn’t changed the spread of Chiefs -3.5 in a week and a half. It seems like a number that is appealing to bettors of both teams.

Buccaneers and Chiefs bets are split about evenly

When the Super Bowl matchup was set, it seemed like the Chiefs might be the favored side. They are the defending champions and the praise for Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City’s offense is universal.

But Stoneback isn’t too surprised the betting has been split.

“The public has been on the Bucs all year and the [Tom] Brady factor has a lot to do with it,” Stoneback said. “And the Chiefs have been great for the sportsbooks because while they’ve been winning they haven’t been covering the spread. Maybe some of those those people who bet on them were burned and jumped off the ship.”

The Chiefs hadn’t covered the spread from Nov. 1 through the AFC championship game, though they won all but one of those games.

Most of the bets for the Super Bowl come in over the weekend, starting Thursday night. Even though the spread for Super Bowl LV has been out since the AFC championship game was finished, BetMGM knows most of the action is yet to come.

But as of Thursday, the 50/50 divide between Chiefs and Buccaneers bettors was an interesting anomaly.

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) eludes Tampa Bay Buccaneers strong safety Antoine Winfield Jr. (31) and inside linebacker Devin White (45) after a catch during a regular-season meeting. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) eludes Tampa Bay Buccaneers strong safety Antoine Winfield Jr. (31) and inside linebacker Devin White (45) after a catch during a regular-season meeting. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)

Not much line movement for Super Bowl

The only major line change that has happened since the Monday after the conference championships is to the total.

The over/under opened at 57.5, which would have been a record for a Super Bowl. It quickly went to 56.5. It stayed there until Thursday, when some action from sharp bettors caused BetMGM to move the total to 56.

There is a possibility of rain for Sunday, and that usually leads bettors to look at the under, but Stoneback said he didn’t think that was a factor in the bets and it didn’t influence the line move.

There could still be a move from the point spread of 3.5, but it seems unlikely. Other sportsbooks have the game at Chiefs -3 with inflated odds on Kansas City (bettors having to pay -120, for example, instead of the standard -110), but since 3 is the most common winning margin in NFL games, sportsbooks are very cautious about line moves when it concerns that number. Especially with a game that takes in as much money as the Super Bowl.

Perhaps heavy betting action on one side before kickoff will cause some line movement. But as of now, bettors are pretty evenly split on who will cover.

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