The Super Bowl, America's favorite game to bet, is here.
Billions of dollars will be on the lines when the Chiefs and underdog Buccaneers kick off Sunday in Tampa Bay. From the biggest bets to the wackiest wagers, ESPN Chalk will chronical it all right here in our Super Bowl betting notebook.
Current Super Bowl odds (at Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill):
Chiefs -3 (-120)
Largest reported Super Bowl bets
• $3.46 million on Buccaneers +3.5 (-127). One of the largest reported bets ever on the Super Bowl was placed from the Colorado Springs airport. Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale, a beloved Houston furniture store owner, flew into Colorado Springs on Wednesday, logged on the DraftKings sports betting app and bet $3.46 million on the Bucs. He paid a little extra juice to get Tampa Bay at +3.5, but is in position to win a net $2.47 million.
• $2.5 million money line bet on Chiefs (-165): Bet was placed Sunday with BetMGM at Nevada and would pay a net $1,515,151.45.
• $2.3 million: A bettor with BetMGM in Nevada placed a $2.3 million bet on the Buccaneers +3.5 (-115) on Thursday night. The bet would pay net $2 million, if Tampa Bay covers the spread. It's the biggest bet on the Super Bowl reported so far and helped offset a lot of early action on the favored Chiefs, Jason Scott, vice president of trading for MGM, said.
"This was a bet we were very happy to receive," Scott said. "We had previously written several other six-figure bets, all on Kansas City, and the public is certainly behind Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes."
• $1.16 million money-line bet on the Chiefs (-155) placed Sunday with William Hill U.S. in Nevada. The bet would pay a net $748,387.10.
• $1 million on the Bucs money line (+135). Bet was placed late Saturday night with BetMGM in Nevada and would win a net $1.35 million. It is the third reported seven-figure bet on the Super Bowl, entering game day. All three have been on Tampa Bay.
• $1 million two-leg teaser on Bucs +9 and over 50 (-130): Bet was placed Sunday with BetMGM in Nevada and would pay a net $769,230.77.
• $520,000 on Chiefs -3 (-120), placed Monday at the William Hill sportsbook at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. The bet would pay at net $433,333.
• $500,000 on the Chiefs money line. Derek Stevens, owner of sportsbook operator Circa Sports, told the Vegas Sports and Information Network on Saturday that his shop took a $500,000 money-line bet on Kansas City.
• $345,000 on the Buccaneers +3.5 (-115) via BetMGM. The bet would pay a net $300,000.
• $333,333 on Chiefs -3 (-120). Bet was placed Sunday with FanDuel in Pennsylvania.
• $330,000 on Bucs +3.5 (-120). Bet was placed Saturday with William Hill U.S. in Nevada. The bet would pay a net $275,000.
• $325,000 on the Chiefs -3 (even). Bet was placed Sunday morning at the SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas.
• $281,000 on Chiefs -3: Bet was placed Saturday night at The Borgata in Atlantic City, New Jersey and was the largest wager the book had taken on the Super Bowl entering game day.
• $250,000 on Bucs +3 (-120). Bet was placed Saturday with William Hill U.S. in Nevada. The bet would pay a net $208,333.
• $220,000 on Bucs +3. Bet was placed Sunday with BetMGM.
• $205,000 on under 56.5. The largest reported bet on the total was placed this week in Nevada with BetMGM. It would pay a net $186,363.65.
• $200,000 on Chiefs -3 (-110). Bet was placed Sunday at The Borgata in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
• $200,000 on Chiefs -3 (-116), placed Monday with DraftKings. The bet would pay a net $172,000. As of Monday night, it was the largest bet on the Super Bowl at DraftKings.
Super Bowl notable bets
• The action on the point spread, which had been lopsided in favor of the Chiefs, was evening out Friday afternoon, with more money coming on the underdog Buccaneers. BetRivers sportsbook reported that 72% of the money was on the favored Chiefs, down from 79% last week.
• The Buccaneers have attracted more money-line bets than the Chiefs in nine of the 12 states in which FanDuel operates. Overall, 54% of the money-line bets are on Tampa Bay.
• BetMGM is projecting betting handle on the Super Bowl to be eclipse $10 million at its sportsbook.
• The mayors of Tampa and Kansas City have placed their bet against one another. If the Chiefs win, Tampa mayor Jane Castor will send a Gates BBQ meal to healthcare workers in the Kansas City region. If the Buccaneers win, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas will send food to local Tampa healthcare workers from a restaurant of Castor's choice.
"We look forward to Sunday's Super Bowl game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and to keeping the Vince Lombardi Trophy where it belongs-in Kansas City," Lucas said in a statement to ESPN. "The Super Bowl can be a great escape from thinking about so many other things going on in the world, and Mayor Castor and I look forward to an exciting game Sunday where Mahomes will once again show the world he's the greatest player in the league. Still, despite rooting for different teams, we share a commitment to prioritizing the health and safety our communities, and encourage Chiefs and Buccaneers fans alike to keep our masks on, practice good hygiene, and celebrate the Super Bowl responsibly. We appreciate our healthcare workers in Tampa and in Kansas City working to keep fans safe, and encourage everyone to do their part in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Let's go, Chiefs!"
• Two $12,500 bets on the coin flip were placed Wednesday with William Hill U.S. in Iowa: one on heads, the other on tails. William Hill reported Friday that 50.2% of the bets were on heads, while 50.1% of the money is on tails.
Super Bowl Week
• For the most part, the Super Bowl point spread has not budged off Kansas -3 (-120) as of Wednesday - despite lopsided action on the favored Chiefs. At sportsbook PointsBet, 92% of the point-spread money that had been wagered was on Kansas City.
The action at FanDuel was running around 80% on the Chiefs, but sportsbook director John Sheeran said he has no intention of moving the line off of the key number of three.
"We're definitely not going to move the number just to get money on the other side," Sheeran told ESPN on Tuesday. "We disagree with that as a bookmaking strategy. We believe the right number is three, and we'll live with that from here to kickoff."
• William Hill U.S. reported taking two interesting prop bets this week:
$3,000 on Patrick Mahomes to throw zero touchdowns at 15-1. The bet, which was placed in New Jersey, would pay a net $45,000.
$1,000 on Tom Brady to throw six or more touchdowns at 40-1. The bet, which was placed in Nevada, would pay a net $40,000.
• The over/under on Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill's receiving yards has grown from 86.5 to 92.5 at FanDuel, and money continues to pour in on the over. "At 92.5 [yards], we've taken $23,265," Sheeran told ESPN on Tuesday. "Of that $23,265, $23,101 is all on the over."
• As of Tuesday, "orange" was attracting the most action with 31.1% of the money in BetMGM's odds on what color of Gatorade will be dumped on the winning coach. "Red/pink" is next with 18.8% of the money, followed by "yellow/green/lime" at 16.6%.
• Interesting strategy: A bettor with FanDuel in New Jersey placed bets on the exact score of the Super Bowl: 1) $500 on Bucs 34, Chiefs 17 at 130-1, and 2) $500 on Chiefs 34, Bucs 17 at 170-1.
• Nevada Gaming Control began tracing the betting on the Super Bowl in 1991. Since then, the state's sportsbooks have suffered a net loss on the Super Bowl only twice: 1995 Chargers-49ers and 2008 Giants-Patriots.
• It's known as the bookmaker's dream: The favorite wins the game, eliminating all the money-line bets on the underdog, but doesn't cover the spread for the betting public, which almost always gravitates to the chalk. It has happened five times in Super Bowls, most recently in 2009 when the favored Pittsburgh Steelers (-7) defeated the Arizona Cardinals 27-23.
Bookmakers expect to be rooting for it again. "That's always the Super Bowl dream," Murray of the SuperBook said.
• Johnny Avello, sportsbook director for DraftKings, said his shop was facing a $1 million liability on the Buccaneers in his odds to win the Super Bowl.
• The largest bets on the Super Bowl are normally in the million-dollar range and are typically placed by casino VIPs, not professional sports bettors. Bookmakers do not make a habit of taking their largest bets from their sharpest customers.
• The tradition of dumping Gatorade on the Super Bowl-winning coach dates back 35 years, and people love to bet on it. Orange has been the most common color, used 33% of the time since Super Bowl XL, including with the Chiefs last year.
• Super Bowl favorites are 35-19 straight up and 27-25-2 against the spread.
• There have been 26 overs, 26 unders and one push in the Super Bowl (no over/under on Super Bowl I).
• The coin flip has landed on tails 29 times and heads 25 times.
• The largest bet on the Super Bowl coin flip as of Monday morning at FanDuel was $5,000 on heads (-103).
• There's big believer in Chiefs receiver Sammy Watkins in New Jersey. Last week, a bettor with William Hill in New Jersey placed three bets on Watkins, totaling $11,666 with a chance to win $399,990.
1) $6,666 on Watkins to score the first touchdown for Kansas City at 15-1. The bet would pay a net $99,990.
2) $4,000 on Watkins to score first touchdown of the game at 25-1. The bet would pay a net $100,000.
3) $1,000 on Watkins to be named Super Bowl MVP at 200-1. The bet would pay a net $200,000.
The early action
• There was a slight difference of opinion on the opening line at sportsbooks. The consensus opening number was Kansas City -3, but several sportsbooks, including the SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas, went a little higher, opening at Chiefs -3.5.
"Three weeks in a row now, where we opened up one of these Buccaneers games, the sharp guys just flooded us with Buccaneers bets," said John Murray, executive director of the SuperBook.
By the Monday after the matchup was set, the line had settled at Kansas City -3, with added vig to bet the favored Chiefs.
• In the first 24 hours at DraftKings, 77% of the point-spread bets and 78% of the money bet on the point spread was on the Chiefs.
• The over/under, which opened as high as 57.5, had been trimmed down to 56.5 on early action.
The key number: 3
• Three is the most common margin of victory and hence considered the most key number when betting on the NFL. Including the playoffs, 14.3% of games this season had a margin of victory of three. Three was the most common margin of victory in the 2020-21 season.
• Forty-one games had closing lines of -3 this season, including the playoffs. Teams favored by three went 25-16 straight-up and 20-21 against the spread this season.
• According to ESPN Stats & Information's database, 1,569 games have featured a point spread of -3 in the Super Bowl era. The winning percentage for the favorites in those games: 58.4%. The favorites' winning percentage against the spread in those games: 48.9%.
• Seven Super Bowls have had a closing point spread of -3. The favorites in those games are 4-3 straight-up and against the spread.
• Five Super Bowls have been decided by exactly three points.
• "I can't imagine it going to 2.5," Murray of the SuperBook said. "I could be wrong about that, but seems crazy to me. Kansas City was considered the best team in the league the whole way. I can't believe it would go under 3. To go to back to 3.5, it would just take bets from the right people, the most respected people. And they could move it right back up, if certain groups that we really respect came in and laid 3, we would say, 'OK, let's go back to 3.5, because that's what we thought it should be to begin with.'"
*ESPN Stats and Information researcher Kevin Haswell contributed to this article.