Vegas Money Moves
January 19, 2013
By Micah Roberts
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When the numbers opened up last Sunday for this weeks Conference Championship games, most of those in the know agreed that the favored teams spread were too high, but only one side was bet accordingly.
The LVH opened the Patriots as 10-point favorites over the Ravens and immediately got bet down to 9.5. This was considered a game that should be maybe only Patriots -7.5 considering all their recent history and the level of play the Ravens have come with the last two weeks where we saw Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs and Ed Reed all on the field for the first together this season.
Over in the NFC, the 49ers opened a very high three-point favorite, but rather than immediately take the value with the points, bettors quickly ran the game up to -4 on Sunday night and eventually -4.5 on Monday. It was a classic example of bettors believing more about what they saw last.
On Saturday night, they had just seen one of the most amazing QB performances in the playoffs by Colin Kaepernick, and his 49ers happened to destroy a respected Packers squad.
As for the Falcons, the entire betting world saw them almost blow a 20-0 halftime lead against the Seahawks on Sunday and hang on in dramatic fashion with a late field goal, 30-28. The 49ers looked sensational and the Falcons looked like the same team that never seemed to wow us all season.
So the sports book already knew what way the betting was going to go and figured it would be better to think high and come down. But when they posted Falcons -3, a number off by at least two points from their ratings, they had to be surprised to see the flood gates open with 49ers money. It was apparent, they just wanted the Super-Niners, regardless of the number.
The threshold for the madness in the 49ers number movement was apparently 4.5, because that's the point that attracted large Falcons money. The small 49ers money is still piling in but many sports books have been reluctant to move the number, despite a large risk.
The Patriots number has been dropping steadily all week, down to a new low of -7.5 on Friday. The large money has all been on the Ravens, but what has been surprising is that the small public money is also liking the Ravens.
The Patriots have been one of the most popular public teams this season, but now they're jumping ship. The regular Joe Public bettor always loves to take the favorite, but in this instance they're on the dog and with very same logic.
These two teams have a nice history together with several close games. The Patriots have won four of the past six meetings, but never won by more than six points in any of those games. The Ravens bet the Patriots in Week 3, 31-30, and have covered the last two playoffs games against the Patriots. Last seasons AFC Championship game went down to the wire with the seven-point underdog Ravens losing, 23-20.
The Super Bowl the public wants to see is the Patriots and 49ers hooking up, a Ravens-Falcons big game would be dreadful, but of course, would still be bet.
Here's a look at the opening Super Bowl numbers William Hill posted on the four possible matchups:
Patriots -2 vs. 49ers, total 49
Patriots -6 vs. Falcons, total 51 ½
49ers -4 vs. Ravens, total: 46 ½
Falcons PK vs. Ravens, total 49 ½