At least one sportsbook is asking the NFL to investigate after large wagers were placed on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to win the Super Bowl at several Las Vegas sportsbooks on Thursday, three days prior to Tom Brady’s official comeback announcement.
According to reports, three separate sportsbooks took significant wagers on the Bucs on Thursday from what they described as an “educated” bettor. The first of the wagers was believed to have been made early Thursday morning at the Westgate SuperBook, when a new customer attempted to make a pair of $10,000 wagers on the Bucs to win the Super Bowl at 60-1 and to win the NFC at 30-1.
According to ESPN, the sportsbook allowed the person to wager $1,000, as per their house limits. They then lowered the Bucs’ lines to 25-1 to win it all, and 12-1 to win the NFC. That didn’t stop another “savvy” bettor from coming in to place two large wagers on the Bucs at those shortened odds.
Meanwhile, at around 3 p.m. at the South Point sportsbook, two over-the-counter bets from the same customer came in on the Buccaneers at 50-1, 30-1 and 25-1. The bettor was described as a “stranger” and the size of his bets were not disclosed. However, South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews did say that the bets added up to a “six-figure liability.”
And finally, on that same day at Circa Sports, a “significant” bet was placed on the Bucs to win the Super Bowl at 30-1.
And wouldn’t you know it? Just three days later, Tom Brady announced his comeback, causing Tampa’s betting lines at every sportsbook to drop significantly as a result. In fact, the Bucs were placed as low as 4-1 odds, which is where South Point moved them following the breaking news.
Was something fishy going on? Did these big Buccaneers backer have some inside information? Representatives from all three sportsbooks seem to think so. And one of them is even asking the NFL to look into the matter.
South Point’s Chris Andrews said , “I have a feeling that [the bettor] had good information.” While Circa Sports manager Chris Bennett added, “I would say confidently that this person knew that [Brady] was coming back.”
As for Westgate SuperBook vice president Jay Kornegay, he was perhaps the most outspoken, saying the following (via BroBible):
“There’s not a doubt in my mind that they knew he was coming back when they placed those wagers on Thursday. And these were not casual bettors. They would be categorized as educated bettors. It wasn’t a guy with a Tom Brady jersey at the counter. It was a player that we would describe as sharp. With that type of play and the announcement we heard [Sunday] that he was unretiring, there was information that was shared prior to his official announcement.
“There is no doubt in my mind that information leaked sometime in the middle of last week. This is concerning. I don’t think I’ve ever said the NFL really needs to investigate something. But this is something they need to look into and how it got out, because there are many books that took some sizable wagers in the middle of last week.”
Was this just a matter of a smart bettor playing on a hunch? Or did someone know about Tom Brady’s comeback before it was ever made public? At the moment no one knows for sure, and don’t count on the NFL doing much to help these sportsbooks by trying to find out the truth either.