Super Bowl LIII Betting Recap: Las Vegas Books Come Out Ahead, FanDuel Loses $5 Million

(USA Today Images)

The New England Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 to win their sixth Super Bowl title. Both sharp and public bettors hammered New England early and the Patriots delivered, covering as 2.5-point favorites. The total closed 56 at most books and the under won for fun in a game that went without a touchdown until seven minutes remaining in the game.

All sportsbooks are different but most were rooting for the Rams on Sunday. Despite most of the largest wagers reported being on Los Angeles, ticket counts heavily favored the Patriots.

Books needed the Rams

At CG Technology, 59 percent of the bets and 65 percent of the money was on New England. The Westgate LV SuperBook closed with 67 percent of the tickets and just under 80 percent of the money on the Patriots.

“We have seen Rams money this week but overall we still have more Patriots money,” Ed Salmons, sportsbook manager at the Westgate, told RotoGrinders on Sunday. “We’ll need the Rams for the game.”

Sharps and books happy with low scoring game

Sportsbooks almost always need the under because so many public bettors take the over. The SuperBook had 59 percent of tickets on the over but 79 percent of the money came in on under. CG Technology had 58 percent of tickets on the over but 60 percent of the money was on the under.

Jason Simbal, vice president of risk management at CG Technology, said that even with more money on the under, they still needed it because of all the parlays.

“It’s been the sharp guys betting the under and the public on the over,” said Simbal. “In fact, all the parlays, whether it’s the Patriots or Rams with the total, it’s all over. Seventy percent of the parlays we’ve taken have the over in it. We’ll certainly be on the sharp side in terms of who we’re rooting for here.”

Despite the low scoring game, the early consensus from Las Vegas sportsbooks is they had a good outcome but nothing huge. The SuperBook, Caesars and the Golden Nugget all reported coming out ahead in the Super Bowl.

It was different story at FanDuel sportsbook in New Jersey where bettors won an estimated $5 million on Sunday.

The person known only as Bettor X also had a tough Super Bowl. Bettor X reportedly won $15 million on the Eagles last year. He went against the Patriots again but this time it didn’t pay. Bettor X lost at least $3.8 million on the Rams.

Prop bets the deciding factor

How sportsbooks ultimately make out will come down to prop bets. Jay Kornegay said last year roughly 60 percent of the SuperBook’s betting handle was prop bets. One outcome that didn’t help books was Julian Edelman winning the Most Valuable Player award after catching 10 balls for 141 yards.

Edelman opened at 50/1 to win MVP at FanDuel and was bet down to 31/1 a few hours before kickoff. Edelman closed at 25/1 at many Las Vegas sportsbooks. He was 22/1 at William Hill and finished as the sixth most popular betting choice among the 40 players listed.

John Sheeran, risk manager for FanDuel Sportsbook at the Meadowlands, said they had high exposure on Edelman to win MVP and at the time, he was happy to be in that position because a scenario where Edelman winning over Tom Brady was tough to see. It happened and the result was a factor in FanDuel losing $5 million on the Super Bowl.

“The four most popular ones for MVP are all Patriots,” Sheeran said earlier in the week. “Surprisingly, Chris Hogan and Julian Edelman are our biggest exposure and they’ll obviously find it difficult to win because their production is tied to Tom Brady’s performance, so we’re happy with those two.”

Bettors had to wait for over three quarters for a touchdown to be scored in the game. When it finally came, Sony Michel cashed at +650. He was the favorite at FanDuel and Sheeran said the book had a “lot of exposure on Michel across the board.”

Here are some of the more interesting prop bets and how they played out in the Super Bowl:

Todd Gurley total rushing yards: 65

Result: 35 yards – UNDER

Gurley’s rushing yards ranged from 64-70 yards, depending on the sportsbook. It didn’t matter. Obviously still dealing with lingering effects from a knee injury suffered late in the season, Gurley wasn’t a factor until later in the game. He never threatened going over his total.

James White total receptions: 6

Result: 1 reception – UNDER

The books won big on this prop, as over White receptions was a popular public bet. It just wasn’t his night. Brady missed White on a couple of occasions and two of his receptions were negated because of penalties. Rex Burkhead (2) finished with more catches than White.

Brandin Cooks total receiving yards: 76

Result: 120 yards – OVER

The under was a popular sharp play here because of the theory that Bill Belichick would try to take away Cooks. The Patriots defense actually did a pretty good job against Cooks until later in the game but he ultimately flew over his total with 120 yards receiving.

Sony Michel rushing yards: 80.5

Result: 94 yards – OVER

This one went right down to the wire. In the final drive leading to the Patriots field goal that put the game away, Michel carried the ball five times for 36 yards. The Rams knew the Patriots were going to run the football and couldn’t stop it. That put Michel’s rushing yards over the total.

Will there be a 400+ yard passer?

Result: No

FanDuel had a tough night overall but they ended up on the winning side of this prop bet. They opened up this prop at +550 and it got bet down all the way to +400. Neither quarterback reached 300 yards, much less 400. Tom Brady threw for 262 yards, going under his total of 298. Meanwhile, Jared Goff had an awful game, finishing with 229 yards, way under his total of 288 yards.

What color will the Gatorade dumped on the winning coach be?

Result: Blue +400

FanDuel and other New Jersey sportsbooks were able to offer some props that Las Vegas can’t because of regulations. One of those was what color the Gatorade will be. The last report put out by FanDuel had 27 percent of the money on blue, making it the second betting choice behind orange (40%). It just goes to show that when it comes to the Super Bowl, you can bet on anything.

About the Author

  • Thomas Casale (tcasale)

  • Thomas Casale is the Editor of Sports Betting Content for RotoGrinders. He's been following the sports betting industry for almost 30 years. Before coming to RotoGrinders, Thomas contributed to The Linemakers and worked as an editor at BetChicago. He's also provided fantasy sports analysis for multiple websites and print publications, while covering the NFL, college football, college basketball and MMA at different media outlets.