Super Bowl LIV is now in the books after a (sigh) depressing defeat of the San Francisco 49ers by the Kansas City Chiefs.  Playing the blame game is moot, as the Niners had more than enough opportunities to secure the game.  While the team goes home as losers, some sports gamblers, and certainly a lot of sportsbooks, are reveling in the Chiefs’ victory as much as head coach Andy Reid.

Mahomes Key To Props

In terms of NFL prop bets, there were plenty of options available to gamblers this year, and some paid off more than others.  Quarterback Patrick Mahomes was looking at +110 to become the Super Bowl MVP, which he did, thanks to two touchdowns and 286 yards in the air.  The MVP win saw a lot of bettors more than double their investment as his name was announced.

Mahomes also helped give gamblers some extra cash on a definite longshot.  Before the game, he was getting 14-1 that he would be the first player to score the touchdown.  With just 31 seconds left in the first quarter and no points on the board, he rushed in from the one-yard line to give the Chiefs, and the game, its first points.

Not everything was positive for Mahomes backers, though.  Depending on the sportsbook, he was getting an Over/Under in rushing yards that ranged from 27.5 to 36.5.  Anyone who took the Over was looking at some extra spending money for Valentine’s Day when, by the end of the third quarter, he had racked up 44 yards.  However, things suddenly went south in the last quarter of the game. 

With a 31-20 lead, the Chiefs were content with running as much time off the clock as possible, so Mahomes took a knee.  Then, he took another knee.  One more time just to make things really difficult for the Niners, and, between the three, Mahomes saw 15 yards subtracted from his gains.  This gave him just 29 rushing yards on the day, and sportsbooks were thrilled.

Mahomes doesn’t get all the credit, though – he definitely had some help for the win, which also put money in gamblers’ pockets.  Running back Damien Williams had an Over/Under on rushing yards of 51.5, which he completely blew away with 104 on 17 carries.  Wide receiver Sammy Watkins was expected to be held at just 49.5 receiving yards by the Niners defense, but he had no trouble working the field to gain 98 yards on five catches.

Not All Bad For Niners

San Fran fans wouldn’t be completely denied their wagers, either, as some saw pretty remarkable payouts.  The Over/Under for Kyle Juszczyk in receiving yards was capped at 10.5, which he easily surpassed.  However, he gave backers an even bigger thrill that helped them forget the team’s loss.  At +650, it seemed like the running back wasn’t expected to score a touchdown.  He did, and the NFL odds were a huge bonus for gamblers who took the bet – not so much for sportsbooks, as Caesars called it a “disaster.”

As much as individual gamblers who put their money in the right places (sorry, Mattress Mack, better luck next year), the real winners were the sportsbooks.  The Chiefs were the favorites heading into the championship game, but much of the money was being put down on the Niners.  Mattress Mack, who incorrectly gambled on the Houston Astros beating the Washington Nationals, also missed the call this time around, putting $1 million on San Fran to win.  He is just one of many that helped sportsbooks keep most of their handle.

Mattress Mack wasn’t the only one – another gambler put $550,000 on the Niners, $500,000 Even for San Fran at the end of the first half and $550,000 on an Over at 53.5 points.  All three failed, and all of that money went to the house.  This was a scenario that played out at sportsbooks across the country, and Jeff Stoneback of The Mirage’s sportsbook told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “We did very well. I know for a fact that it’s our best Super Bowl since at least 2008.”

It’s still too early to begin tallying the numbers from the big game, but the grapevine chatter is that the amount is going to be inline with previous forecasts.  If that holds up, it will mean that around $7 billion was wagered on this year’s Super Bowl, a new record that favored the Chiefs and the sportsbooks.