Oddsmakers Reflect On Tumultuous Betting Relationship With Tom Brady Upon Retirement

Brady was polarizing in both wins and losses for bookmakers


Feb 1, 2022

Editor’s note: This story originally was published Feb. 1, 2022. It has been repurposed in the wake of Tom Brady’s retirement announcement on Feb. 1, 2023.

Tom Brady has been a polarizing figure for American bookmakers for more than two decades.

Odds are good that most people who managed money in Las Vegas risk rooms were on the wrong side of a Brady-fueled decision. Like when the sportsbooks were basically counting their money in Super Bowl XLIX when Marshawn Lynch was about to rumble over the goal line for the game-winning touchdown. Or perhaps when Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons jumped out to a 28-3 lead only to inexplicably lose Super Bowl LI.

Not all results were bad, though.

Brady’s first Super Bowl victory was a boon for plenty of bookies in the desert. Remember, most bettors were happy to lay almost two touchdowns with the “Greatest Show on Turf.” When the Patriots upset the St. Louis Rams 20-17 in Super Bowl XXXVI, most sportsbooks rejoiced.

“The Patriots’ upsetting the St. Louis Rams was just an amazing result for our shop,” said Robert Walker, who managed the legendary MGM and Mirage sportsbooks when Brady broke onto the scene. “We took a $4.6 million Rams moneyline bet at the Mirage. The bosses were very happy.”

Walker is just one of many sportsbook figures that could tell stories for days about rooting for or against Brady behind the counter. I rounded up six other betting buddies for their favorite memories pertaining to the most successful NFL quarterback of all-time.

Here are their stories:

Jay Kornegay, Executive Vice President at SuperBook Sports
“We cursed Tom Brady’s name more than any other quarterback over the last two decades. Over the years, there were definitely some haters in the back room. All that had to be put aside when making numbers. It wasn’t the easiest thing to do for some.

“It was a great feeling when Brady came through for us, but when he beat us, it was ‘that frickin’ Brady did it again.’ We won some, lost some and overall it was the definition of a love-hate relationship.”

Aaron Kessler, former Sportsbook Director at Golden Nugget
“We knew we were going to need whoever he was playing most of the time.”

Dave Sharapan, former Las Vegas oddsmaker
“Couple things. One, it felt the like book rooted against him every week for two decades. Regular season, yeah, but postseason, man, those divisional playoffs just felt like an ATM for bettors.

“Two, that undefeated season was one I?ll never forget. It was incredible. We had to actually stop the parlays side and total because the spreads were too high and the totals were too low. That happens in college football all the time — total has to be three times the spread is the rule we used, seems pretty commonplace now — but it rarely happened in NFL. Them losing that Super Bowl (to the New York Giants) was still one of the biggest losses I’ve ever seen.

“The public turned on Brady and the Patriots for that one. We were cashing tickets until Thursday that week and I literally wore a path in the carpet to the cage refilling the tills. It was us and the wise guys finally needing Tom Brady and they lost.”

Matt Youmans, Host at VSiN
“Tom Brady was money after a loss. I should say the Brady-Belichick combo was money in certain spots, usually after a loss or in the underdog role. As a football bettor, you’re looking for a quarterback you believe in and can count on. Brady was as reliable as it gets. You just knew in some spots he would deliver and he almost always did. I have seen very few players like that.”

Matt Metcalf, Sportsbook Director at Circa
“As a bookmaker and bettor, I think the Patriots in the Super Bowl was always a boring experience for me. I preferred other teams from a matchup and a props perspective, but that probably speaks to the incredible dominance they had over that period. Brady, for lack of a better word, was boring to me, which I guess is what made him great.”

Chris Andrews, Sportsbook Director at South Point
“I don’t hate Tom Brady nearly as bad as others bookmakers do. He doesn’t owe me any money at all. I had him correct way more often than wrong.

“He won some really big games for us. I loved him in the first Super Bowl against St. Louis. And he saved my ass when I needed him to score a touchdown against Atlanta in overtime. If they kicked a field goal, I would’ve gotten murdered. If they won by six, I was golden. I needed Tom Brady to get a touchdown and he took care of business. Those were huge decisions.

“He beat me plenty of times along the way, but I was smart enough to be on the right side more than not.”

Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images

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