Overall, it was a good weekend for the books due to the Green Bay Packers going down in the NFL and Conor McGregor losing in UFC.
Before the Bucs-Packers kicked off, I spoke to Patrick Eichner, Director of Communications for PointsBet Sportsbook, about the action on the game.
“All of the action is on the Packers,” he said. “74% of the spread bets and 79% of the spread handle are on Green Bay.”
Other books were at a similar place, needing Tampa Bay to cover. Once Tom Brady took care of business, most sportsbooks reaped the benefits.
"It was a good weekend for the sportsbook,” Jason Scott, VP Trading, BetMGM, said. “The Buccaneers upsetting the Packers was the best result BetMGM has had on a single event in twelve months.”
Not every book enjoyed success on the Packers losing, though. The Borgata in Atlantic City was on the opposite end of the game.
“We took in a lot of Tampa money yesterday and ended up needing the Packers in the first game,” Thomas Gable, Sportsbook Director at The Borgata, explained. “In the second game, it was all Kansas City money throughout the week and all day yesterday, so we really took it on the chin in that game.”
In fact, they had a losing day as a whole when it comes to the NFL, as the overs hitting in both games didn’t help The Borgata either. This just goes to show how every book is different in the betting industry. Not every decision benefits every book.
I was expecting a lot more big bets throughout the weekend, but here are some of the most notable ones.
· $800K to win $500K on Chiefs -160 moneyline
· $550K to win $500K on Buccaneers +3.5
· $165K to win $100K on Chiefs -165 moneyline
$140,000 on the Bucs +3.5 (same guy who bet $80K in the morning came back several hours later and put down an additional $60K at the same number).
A bettor at William Hill placed a $705,000 wager on the Kansas City ML (-155).
While the NFL was a mixed bag, Conor McGregor losing was not. The books made out like bandits on the former UFC Champion getting knocked out by Dustin Poirier.
Going into the fight, McGregor was a huge public favorite. So big, that most books reported barely any bets on Poirier going into the night.
Conor has grown the sport of UFC so much that even casual watchers and bettors participate only when he is fighting. From speaking to multiple oddsmakers, they all had the same message. Conor is always overpriced by sportsbooks because they know customers are going to pay for it. There is almost always value in betting on his opponents.
“The UFC handle was huge as it usually is for any time that McGregor fights,” Gable stated. “It was certainly one of the biggest UFC wins the book has recorded here.”
PointsBet shared similar sentiments.
“Massive win for us,” Eichner said. “About as big a single event win as you see.”
McGregor was also tied into parlays with the NFL games.
“What really helped us was all of the parlays that McGregor was included in,” Gable said. “He was included in everything from NFL parlays to college basketball and him losing along with Hooker losing really were big decisions for us.”
McGregor didn’t sound like a guy who was done after the loss, and both fighters even floated the idea of a trilogy when it was over. Just something to keep an eye on for the upcoming months.
Super Bowl LV
As for looking ahead to the big game, the Kansas City Chiefs opened up as 3-point favorites over the Tampa bay Buccaneers.
You can read more about the odds/ total and storylines here.
Vikas Chokshi covers the gambling industry for BetQL and his written work can be found on the sports betting vertical of Radio.com. He has an extensive network of oddsmakers and appears frequently on podcasts, radio and television shows. His previous work can be found at The Action Network, VSiN, Gaming Today, Front Office Sports and The Big Lead.
You can find him at @docksquad33 on Twitter.