Buccaneers’ upset of Packers was big win for sportsbooks



It was another remarkable NFL Sunday, and another winning weekend for sportsbooks thanks to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While books across the country have significant liability on the Bucs to win the Super Bowl, they won big on Tampa Bay’s upset of the Packers as 3.5-point underdogs.

At BetMGM, 74 percent of the bets were on Green Bay to cover the spread, along with a whopping 79 percent of the money. Other sportsbooks, including BetRivers (76 percent of spread handle on Green Bay), FanDuel (82 percent) and PointsBet (79 percent) were similarly extremely heavy on the Packers. In addition to the smaller public bets backing Green Bay, many of the larger wagers also were on the Packers.

At FanDuel, one bettor in Pennsylvania lost a $320,000 wager on Packers -3 (-120). At BetMGM, a $525,000 wager on Packers -4.5 and $275,000 on Packers -3.5 also came up short.

“We took on a lot of Tampa money today,” Borgata sportsbook director Thomas Gable told VSiN. “We ended up losing on the game but won big decisions on both halves so we ended up with a small win on the first game when it was all said and done.”

Several big Tampa Bay wagers cashed as well, including a $550,000 bet on Bucs +3.5 at BetMGM and a $500,000 wager on Bucs +3.5 at William Hill.

“The Buccaneers upsetting the Packers was the best result BetMGM has had on a single event in 12 months,” Jason Scott, vice president of trading at BetMGM, said in a release. “The public won some money back on the Chiefs but Sunday was still a very profitable day.”

Shaquil Barrett
Shaquil Barrett celebrates sacking Aaron Rodgers during the NFC Championship Game.

In the AFC Championship game, the public was backing the Chiefs at just about every sportsbook. Even though Kansas City hadn’t covered a game since Nov. 1, it was viewed as too cheap a price to only have to lay three points with Patrick Mahomes. At BetMGM books, 60 percent of bets and 63 percent of handle were on the Chiefs. It was higher at other books, and many big bets were on Kansas City simply to win the game.

The biggest wagers of the day — $800,000 on the Chiefs moneyline at -160 odds at BetMGM and $705,000 on Chiefs moneyline -155 at William Hill. The Chiefs were down 9-0 early, but rallied to win 38-24 and cash these big bets.

The largest reported wager on the Bills was a $110,000 bet on Buffalo +3.5 at South Point.

“For the AFC Championship, everyone was on Kansas City and it was a really poor result for the book,” Gable noted. “That was the bigger decision of the two games for us.”

“Chiefs winning and covering was a better outcome than the Bills winning outright,” Chuck Esposito, Station Casinos sportsbook director, told VSiN. “We definitely needed the game Under, as respected play was clearly on the Bills in this game. Public did extremely well on both totals going Over, but overall it was a good day for our side of the counter.”


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