The Denver Broncos are world champions, having just defeated the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 by a score of 28–20. This incredible triumph secured $100 million in free money for the lucky fans who placed bets on the AFC Championship Game, especially since the odds of the defending champs winning were 16 to 1. What made this championship more exciting was that it came down to the last play, with the outcome seemingly in doubt until wide receiver Demaryius Thomas caught the game-winning touchdown pass from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
While most bookmakers and betting sites took the winnings from this game, Australia’s sportsbooks also profited from the AFC Championship Game. According to SportsBetting, the Broncos won the Patriots’ matchup by a full touchdown with odds of 19 to 1. While most states in Australia had strict legal limits on the amount of money that they could wager, online sportsbooks were not bothered by the small financial limits imposed by the states. This is because they were able to keep a small percentage as profit, which was legally allowable. So while the majority of the nation’s dollar was tied up in bets on the big game, a small fortune was made in other contests.
But just how much money were sportsbooks making off the Broncos? Let’s take a quick look at the odds, winnings, and profits for each site and bookmaker where you could place a wager on Denver during the 2017 NFL season.
Global Betting Sites
The global betting sites were the best placed to take advantage of the AFC Championship Game since they had access to a much larger audience. It’s likely that many of their regular UK and Australian customers were also playing the AFC Championship Game. And given that the Denver Broncos had a 16 to 1 chance of winning, it’s not difficult to see why.
Unsurprisingly, William Hill came out on top here with $16.7 million worth of winnings, followed by 5Dimes ($8.3 million), Bet365 ($7.7 million), and Paddy Power ($6.7 million).
One factor that could have tipped the scales even more in the global betting sites in favor of the Broncos was that New England was the only team to score more than 20 points in each of their three games. In fact, the Pats only had seven days to rest after the Falcons win in Week 3, and they were back on the field for a crucial rivalry game against the Broncos.
The local bookmakers were also well versed in the nuances of understanding the AFC Championship Game since it was being played in Minnesota. The odds of the Vikings beating the Broncos were only 4.3 to 1, but that was enough for them to make a small fortune from the game. Duluth, Minneapolis, and St. Paul are all within a few hours drive of the Twin Cities. So it’s not strange that many of the locals would have flocked to place their bets. Especially since the first round of the NFL playoffs was being played right in the area.
Here, you’ll find $16.7 million was wagered on the Broncos, with $16.7 million worth of winnings collected by LocalSportsbook.com. That’s a pretty penny for a couple of hours’ work.
It’s likely that some of the locals who placed bets on the Pats in Week 3 took the underdogs’ chances and jumped on the Broncos when they were 1.5 to 1. Since the defending champions were 16 to 1, many may have figured that the Patriots would only struggle to score a single touchdown against the AFC Championship Game opposition. But New England surprised everyone by scoring 21 points, including three touchdowns in the first half alone. This was enough to cause panic among the bookies who had backed the Broncos at evens. Perhaps some of them took the profit and ran, since they are now 5.9 to 1 underdogs in the next matchup against the Patriots.
The Overall Winner
Ultimately, it was the total combined winnings of the global and local betting sites that made the victory in Super Bowl 50 worthwhile. Since the AFC Championship Game had a combined total of $16.7 million in winnings, it seems only fair that the global and local betting sites share the wealth. In fact, since the average wager was only $110, it’s reasonable to assume that the total winnings for the fans who backed Denver were somewhere in the region of $26 million. Not bad for a few hours’ work.
The Patriots were the top paying team in the NFL this past season with an average of $21,300 per player. However, it’s important to note that this figure does not include the $26 million that the fans that backed Denver made in wagers on the AFC Championship Game. This puts the real cost of Antonio Brown and Jimmy Garoppolo’s visit to Minnesota at $52 million.