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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 14:00 PM

Vegas Money Moves - Title Games

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It's championship weekend and both home teams are floating on the most key number in the NFL which has [...]s reluctant to move off it. It's a pair 3's in Sunday's NFC and AFC Championship games.

Cash talks, but books don't want to be put in a situation where they can get sided or middled by moving off of -3. But at the same time, they want to get to the right number as soon as possible because 75 percent of the volume is still to come Friday night through Sunday. With the handle being so much larger than previous games this season, being wrong on a move can be extremely costly. But staying on a number too long also has it's consequences. It's a double-edged sword and it can be quite a thrilling tightrope walk for the [...] when in the trenches.

The Saints started out as 3.5-point home favorites against the Rams in the NFC and have slowly been bet down to -3 (-120) at several bet shops. The Chiefs started out as 3-point home favorites against the Patriots in the AFC and a few books like Wynn, MGM and Caesars have inched upward to -3 (-120).

The sports book I like to monitor line movement in these big games the most is at the South Point because they use exclusively flat numbers. They never move the juice so everything is always -110 which usually has them having the best number in town when dealing with -3. They've already bounced on and off of Saints -3 to -3.5 on two separate occasions. They've been at -3 since Wednesday.

The South Point has yet to move the Chiefs off -3, but they have been dropping the total often from an opener of 59.5 on Sunday down to 55.5 on Wednesday. Their best scenario?

"Neither game landing 3 for sure," said South Point sports book director Chris Andrews. "We're probably going to need the Over in the Kansas City game."

There was an initial weather report Sunday that suggested Sunday's game in Kansas City could have artic-like conditions with a wind chill below zero degrees. But as of Friday, the forecast called for 31 degrees and winds at 9 mph. It's still cold, but maybe not the type of chill that inspired such a rush to bet the Under.

When they met in Week 6 in Foxborough, the Patriots won 43-40 as 3.5-point favorites. It was the Chiefs' first loss of the season. The total in that game was 59.5.

The Chiefs only allowing 17.4 ppg at home this season is something to think about before wagering, as is Bill Belichick game planning for a playoff game. It's also important to note that the Patriots only won three of eight road games. The last two losses came at Pittsburgh and at Miami. They also had bad losses early in the season at Jacksonville, at Detroit and then Week 10 at Tennessee which was a 34-10 beat down.

"In the AFC, sharps are on the Chiefs and the public is either laying -3 or taking the Patriots on the money-line," said CG Technology VP of risk management Jason Simbal who has the Patriots getting +145 on the money-line."

It sounds like CG Tech books might like a 2-point Chiefs win.

"It's hard to tell," said Simbal regarding their best scenario as of Friday. "Our futures are good on everyone and we're pretty even in both games. We will definitely need to keep the Rams game Under."

CG Tech books have the Rams-Saints total set at 57 but haven't moved much despite the risk.

William Hill sports books have the Rams getting 56 percent of the tickets written taking +3.5 and +3, but 51 percent of the cash is on the Saints. It's the same type of divide on the money-line as well with 74 percent of the tickets written taking the Rams and +160 while 82 percent of the actual cash is on the Saints -180. The total Over 57 is the preferred play as well.

William Hill has 54 percent of the tickets written and cash wagered on the Chiefs laying -3. On the money-line, 71 percent of the tickets are on the Patriots taking +135 while 53 percent of the cash is on the Chiefs -155. They're all over the Under as well in cash and tickets written.

Station Casinos sports books will be rooting for Saints to the Under and Patriots to the Over.

Best guess where the lines in each game go? I would guess the Chiefs get to -3.5 while the Saints stay at -3.

Also, there's a larger than usual assortment of props this week signifying the importance of each game while also getting in some practice for setting up over 300 Super Bowl props next week.

Roberts is a former Las Vegas sports book director that has been covering the sports betting industry for the last 14 years.

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