Just as they did four years earlier, the New York Giants scored a touchdown in the final minute to beat the Patriots and capture the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Ahmad Bradshaw was allowed to waltz into the end zone from six yards out with 57 seconds on the clock; the Patriots weren’t able to convert on a Hail Mary, making the final score, New York 21, New England 17
The similarities didn’t end there. The Giants were underdogs on both occasions, this time by three points. The under also cashed in on a total of 53 points – down from 55 at the open – the same total as Super Bowl XLII. Neither game was close to reaching those lofty numbers.
Just like four years ago, the public was on Big Blue. It wasn’t the same landslide of anti-Patriot sentiment we saw in the wake of Spygate, but 52% of bettors were on New York to make history repeat itself.
The real damage for oddsmakers came well before the final gun. The burgeoning Super Bowl props market went nuclear in the first quarter when Patriots QB Tom Brady heaved the ball downfield to nobody in particular while standing in his own end zone. Brady was called for intentional grounding – that’s a safety.
Scoring a safety of any kind is rare enough. Fewer than 10 are scored in a typical NFL season, making it a square prop bet to take YES +900 at the Super Bowl. With that said, casual bettors adore long shots. These bets are made more for entertainment than expected profit; at Super Bowl XLVI, they got both.
Now imagine the feeling of cashing in at 100-1. Those were the odds for the first score of the game being a Giants’ safety. Only one other Super Bowl opened with a safety: Super Bowl IX, where Minnesota Vikings QB Fran Tarkenton was sacked in the end zone by Pittsburgh Steelers DE Dwight “Mad Dog” White.
The Giants secured another fat payday for supporters on the futures market. Big Blue opened at 19-1 to win the Super Bowl, and dipped as low as 100-1 after losing to the Green Bay Packers in Week 13. The Giants were 6-6 at that point. Three wins in four games allowed them to squeak into the playoffs with an NFC Wild Card.
Even with the safety and the underdog Giants paying off, it was a positive day for bookmakers – not to mention the busiest day in sports betting history with over $10 Billion in action worldwide. The most active Super Bowl prop bet was the coin flip, which landed “heads” for the fourth year in a row. The National Anthem prop turned into a push when Kelly Clarkson wrapped up The Star-Spangled Banner in 1:34. We’ll see who gets the honors this February at the Superdome.