Biggest Super Bowl Bets Ever Made
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Super Bowl 56 takes place on Sunday, February 13, with the entire sports world watching. Bettors will be coming out of the woodwork to make wagers at some of the top legitimate gambling sites on the internet. But will those bets come anywhere near the biggest Super Bowl bets ever?
In terms of real money betting, no sporting event can hold a candle to the Super Bowl. The 56th edition of the game comes up in just a few days from SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. And we’re expecting some major betting action to go down in the run-up to the game and even during it with live betting opportunities.
Most people will place a Super Bow bet or two and do so while putting just a few dollars or so at stake. Others might go with a barrage of wagers and a lot more money on the line. But there are certain folks out there who will go above and beyond with wagers that are serious business.
We’re guessing that some insane Super Bowl bets have never been publicized because they took place in private. But with sportsbooks and online gambling sites now all out in the open, more and more of these bets are becoming well-known. And we’re here to talk about those bets that will live on in sports betting history.
The Largest Super Bowl Bets
Take a look at some of the biggest Super Bowl bets ever. And when you settle in to watch the game and get nervous about your own bets, think about how these folks must have felt. Talk about big-game pressure!
Biggest of the Big
We can’t really say for sure what the biggest Super Bowl bet of all time has been because the action might have gone unreported. In terms of the largest bet that is on record by an individual gambler, you have to go back to Super Bowl 36 at the conclusion of the 2001-2002 season. And it turned out to be a losing wager.
For those who don’t recall, that game featured the Los Angeles Rams, the favorite, taking on the New England Patriots.
If you do the math, you can probably figure out that was the first Super Bowl appearance of a quarterback by the name of Tom Brady. At the time, he was still an upstart who had taken over the starting job for the Patriots and was largely considered an average player at best.
The legend began that night, as Brady led the Pats to a stunning 20-17 upset of the Rams. While much of the sports world was abuzz with excitement about the game, a bettor at the MGM in Las Vegas probably didn’t feel the same. That person lost a stunning $4.8 million wagering on the Rams on the moneyline.
Going to the Mattresses
What you’ll find when you research the biggest Super Bowl bets in history is that many of them come courtesy of what we’ll call repeat offenders. In other words, these folks tend to make these massive wagers as a kind of hobby, doing it often over the years. Among this small community, Jim McIngvale might as well be the mayor.
McIngvale is also known as “Mattress Mack” because he made his wealth as the owner of a furniture store. And he often times funds his huge bets with promotions at his store, almost as a way of hedging. It doesn’t always work, as evidenced by a $3 million-plus loss on a World Series bet on the Houston Astros in 2019.
But Mattress Mack was right on the money in last year’s Super Bowl when he jumped on board the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (there’s that Brady guy again), getting 3 ½ points from the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Bucs won outright, meaning McIngvale was able to cash in on a $3.46 million wager.
His profit ended up being somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.7 million.
Live Betting Bonanza
This example isn’t of a particularly large bet that was placed but instead of long odds that came to the fore during live betting on Super Bowl 51. That was a game that pitted (you guessed it) Tom Brady and the New England Patriots against the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons famously jumped out to a 28-3 lead on the stunned Pats.
With 4:14 left to go in the third quarter, the Patriots, who were favored to start the game, saw their live odds to win balloon to +1000. Even when they cut the lead to 28-9, the missed two-point conversion that they tried following their touchdown and the time that had elapsed on the clock didn’t convince oddsmakers of a comeback.
At that point, the odds were raised to +1600.
Of course, we all know what happened next. Brady and New England rallied to tie the game and send it to overtime, where they defeated the Falcons. Those who rolled the dice with, for example, a $100 bet on the Pats to win when the odds were at their highest walked away with a $1,600 profit, proving that you don’t necessarily need to put a ton at stake to be a huge Super Bowl winner.
The Books Roll the Dice
For our last example of a big Super Bowl bet, we’re going to shine the spotlight on a casino operator who tried to slip one by his patrons and had to sweat out a near disaster. In 1992, Michael Gaughan, who owned and operated a couple of Las Vegas casinos, decided on a plan to lure bettors to his establishments for Super Bowl 26. He would offer them not one, but two, point spreads on the game.
In one, the Buffalo Bills would be 6 ½ point underdogs to the Washington Redskins. And in the other, the line would be 7 ½. Bills bettors would take the 7 ½, Washington bettors would take the 6 ½, and many would try to “middle,” taking both sides and hoping the final margin of the game would be Washington by 7, in which case they’d win both wagers.
The estimate of how much Gaughan’s casinos would take a bath in if that were the outcome has been estimated at $10 million, an astronomical amount in 1992 money.
For a moment, when the Bills cut the lead to 14 in the third quarter, it looked like that could be a very real possibility. But the Redskins pulled away to win 37-24, and Gaughan’s casinos cleaned up in the process.
We hope that you’ve enjoyed this look back at the biggest Super Bowl bets ever. It will be interesting to see what kind of massive wagers go on the books for this year’s game. The way things have been progressing in recent years, anything is possible.