Fox Sports Betting Analyst
Take one of the most popular players in the NFL, add arguably the most popular man on the planet, and what do you get?
Well, based on NFL betting data, you apparently get the “Swifties Effect.”
That’s right: Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce’s current flirtation with Taylor Swift is having a huge impact on NFL player props.
Adam Pullen of Caesars Sports and Johnny Avello of DraftKings Sportsbook break down the numbers since Travis’ relationship with Taylor became public.
First, it’s worth noting that Kelce Swift’s influence extends far beyond sports bettors. Pullen, Kaiser’s assistant director of transactions, learned this during Sunday night’s football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and New York Jets.
“You ask, is there a ‘Swift Effect’? My daughter is not a sports fan at all. But when I came home on Sunday night, she was watching the Chiefs vs. Jets game,” Pullen said.
Swift attended the show at MetLife Stadium and appeared in cutscenes during NBC’s broadcast. Kelce had nine catches for 60 yards but no touchdowns, a major setback for bettors as Kansas City narrowly lost 23-20.
Kells Pro Betting spends tons of tickets and money at sports betting sites across the country, whether it’s a player’s first touchdown, any time touchdown, over/under on catches or receiving yards. In fact, the usage of Kelce’s prop in the Chiefs-Jets game dwarfed the previous three weeks.
Swifties — a term that often refers to Swift’s tens of millions of fans — are certainly helping to drive the move.
“Certainly, as far as Kelce props are concerned, we’ve seen an increase in control. Last week alone (Chiefs vs. Jets), we doubled the control of props involving Kelce, which is Week 2 and Week 3 combined,” Pullen said.
Kelce missed Week 1 against the Lions with a minor knee injury.
Adding fuel to the fire
Avillo, director of sports betting operations at DraftKings, doesn’t deny the “Swifties effect.” But he points out that you can’t ignore Kelce himself.
“First of all, you have to understand that without Taylor Swift, Kelce is the popular betting choice. He’s the go-to player on Patrick Mahomes. Kelce is the first touchdown of the week/anytime touchdown/ One of the guys with the most touchdowns at any time,” Avillo said. “Now, you put Swift in an isolated game on Sunday night. That game was the most controlling of any game in the NFL this year.
“So Kelce’s prop is going to go through the roof.”
Indeed. DraftKings reports that the Kelce prop in the Chiefs-Jets game made twice as much money as the Kelce prop in the previous three games combined. To clarify, DraftKings offered the Kelce prop in week one and took typically good action on those props (but not Swifties action), but when Kelce was ruled out, the bet was returned.
Additionally, the props for Kelce’s longest reception and any time TD are the two most-bet player props in the DraftKings NFL Week 4 odds market in terms of stakes.
“Just for Sunday night’s football game against the Jets, the crowd was very enthusiastic and I think that had a lot to do with such a huge crowd,” Avillo said. “But Taylor has something extra. Is it attractive? Yes. She is a marketing machine and has a huge following.
“The most important thing is, maybe someone is watching a football game for the first time. She brings a new audience to the NFL.”
Obviously, this also brings a new audience to NFL betting.
Is Travis Kelce-Taylor Swift fandom good for the NFL?
Taylor tide ebbs, then rolls back
So, what happens next when the Chiefs take on the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET? This isn’t New York, and it’s not prime time. So far, Swift has not committed to participating.
“I think Kelce will have more normal action this week,” Avillo said.
However, in Week 6, Kelce and the Chiefs find themselves in prime time again, hosting the division rival Denver Broncos on Thursday Night Football.
“I think Thursday night’s game is going to be another big game,” Avillo said. “It’s going to be a huge game. I think all the numbers we did with the Kelce prop on the Jets, I’m not sure we’re going to hit those goals, but it’s going to be close.”
It’s worth noting that the Chiefs are 2-0 with Swift in the stands, albeit against the Bears and Jets.
“Chiefs fans are going to love it. When she’s there, the Chiefs win,” Avillo said.
Patrick Everson is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and a senior reporter for VegasInsider.com. He is the nation’s preeminent reporter on sports betting. He lives in Las Vegas and enjoys golfing in 110-degree heat. Follow him on Twitter: @PatrickE_Vegas.
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