Super Bowl LVI Betting Insights from BetMGM and DraftKings

Super Bowl LVI has come and gone, and the Rams are in celebration mode this week after lifting the Lombardi trophy. As legalized mobile sports betting continues to become more widespread across the United States, Super Bowl LVI was likely the most bet-upon sports event in history. Sportsbooks across the country took in some significant wins and losses on wagers placed, and in this article, I’ll break down some of the most notable results from DraftKings and BetMGM, two of the most popular sportsbooks in the country.

Bettors Crush on OBJ First Touchdown, Rams Hot Start

Jason Scott, VP of Trading for BetMGM, noted that his company “had a challenging start to the Super Bowl with Odell Beckham Jr. scoring the first touchdown and unfavorable results in the first quarter and first half.” BetMGM took a $1,000,000 bet on the Rams -0.5 (+105) in the first quarter and another $1,000,000 on the Rams -2.5 (-120) in the first half, both of which hit.

DraftKings didn’t report numbers for the first quarter/half specifically, but it did see plenty of bets on Odell Beckham Jr. to score the first touchdown in the game at +900 odds, which was detrimental to its bottom line. BetMGM reported that it took a $10,000 bet to win $100,000 on OBJ to score the first touchdown (+1000).

However, with 95% of the handle on Odell Beckham Jr. over 64.5 receiving yards, his hot start could not continue. OBJ was ultimately ruled out with what was announced as a torn ACL on Monday, but all prop bets, including his yardage, were still counted as losses. PrizePicks, an up-and-coming DFS platform, refunded all entries that were lost due to OBJ’s yardage falling short in the form of site credit. Darren Rovell noted that the refunds were worth up to $1.5 million.

Closing Line Stats

The spread for this game jumped around all week and ultimately closed at Rams -4 after a late surge sent on LA ATS sent it back up. Bets against the spread were very evenly split with 52% of bets and 49% of the handle on the Bengals at BetMGM and 54% of bets and 50% of the handle on the Bengals at DraftKings. BetMGM took a $200,000 stake on the Bengals +4.5 (-110) and a $500,000 bet on the Rams Moneyline (-200), both of which were won by the heavy-hitting bettors.

DraftKings was very successful as 62% of the bets it took were on the Bengals (+170), which isn’t surprising given the popularity of betting on the underdog team. However, the handle came in at 54% on the Bengals side, suggesting sharp action was more leaning towards the Rams. The same was true for BetMGM, with 71% of bets on the Bengals ML but just 58% of the total handle. Still, the Rams winning was the more favorable outcome for both sportsbooks.

Of course, with just 43 points scored in the Super Bowl, the under hit, but the disparity between the two books is quite interesting. Somewhat surprisingly, the under was the more popular wager on the 48.5-point total with 59% of bets and 59% of the handle on the under at DraftKings. At BetMGM, it was the other way around, however, with 60% of bets and 59% of the handle on the over. DraftKings did, however, take a $1 million wager on the Bengals Moneyline and Under 48.5 points that offset some of its losses on the under on its own.

Notable Player Prop Results

In addition to the staggering number of bets on the over for Odell Beckham Jr.’s receiving line, 90% of the handle and 85% of bets at DraftKings were on Cooper Kupp over 103.5 yards. He finished with 92. Kupp won the Super Bowl MVP, however, and he was the third-most-popular selection for the award behind only Aaron Donald and Joe Burrow. His anytime TD scorer prop was also very popular with the most bets of any player at DraftKings, and he scored twice.

There were plenty of bad beats in the player prop category in this Super Bowl. Joe Burrow finished with 22 passing completions, three shy of the over, with 92% of the bets at DraftKings. Matthew Stafford finished with 283 passing yards, three shy of the over, with 83% of the bets at DraftKings. Burrow to throw over 1.5 touchdowns was the second-most popular prop at DraftKings, and he finished with just one as Joe Mixon had a late passing touchdown.

Novelty Prop Results

Novelty props are always a popular part of Super Bowl betting, and, as usual, sportsbooks cleaned out on these as well. At DraftKings, 86% of the handle came in on the opening kick to not be a touchback, which it was. In addition, 58% of the handle was on the opening coin toss to be tails, and it was heads. 86% of bets were on any kick to hit the upright at +400, which didn’t happen, and blue Gatorade, the winning color, accounted for just 18% of wagers.

Analyzing the biggest wagers in the Super Bowl is an insightful exercise to see where sportsbooks were most successful and where bettors got the better of them. The hot start for the Rams with the early OBJ touchdown had sportsbooks concerned momentarily, but Scott said BetMGM “dodged a bullet with the Rams winning in regulation as overtime would have been the worst possible result.” Sportsbooks wound up profitable per usual in what was a highly-anticipated, exciting Super Bowl, with plenty of big-ticket bets missing the mark.