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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 14:00 PM

Super Bowl 53 Betting Update



The VegasInsider.com Super Bowl 53 Betting Update will provide daily posts over the next 13 days from Micah Roberts in Las Vegas for this year's NFL finale between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams, which is set for Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019 from Atlanta, Georgia.

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

SB53 FREE Picks and Props | Super Bowl 53 Line Moves | Super Bowl Betting History

Update - Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019 - 3:30 p.m. ET

I anticipated the Super Bowl line dropping before kickoff and that didn't happen. But it didn't get back to -3, either.

Every Las Vegas sports book is riding into the game with the Patriots -2.5 and a total of around 56. The best scenario for just about all of them is needing the [...] dream which is the Patriots winning by 1 or 2 points -- the favorite wins, but doesn't cover and the underdog money-line doesn't get there.

At least that's the best case at Caesars Palace, South Point, MGM Resorts, Atlantis-Reno, CG Technology and Station Casinos.

"The Patriots by 1 or 2 and 'under' is our best case," said Stations sports book director Jason McCormick. "The Patriots covering and going 'over' is our worst case."

William Hill's Nick Bogdanovich is booking the Super Bowl for the first time in six different jurisdictions and has to use three different systems. This morning he said: "Here (Nevada), we need the Patriots and there (everywhere else), we need the Rams. It's pretty even altogether."

Westgate Superbook VP Jay Kornegay said: "We'll need the Rams even though we're getting good L.A. action right now."

MGM Resorts sports book VP Jay Rood took a $2 million wager on the Rams money-line Thursday night, but he still needs the Rams to win for them to win on the day.

"The Patriots winning by 1 or 2 points would be epic for us and the Rams winning outright would end up being a really good day." Rood said. "The Patriots and Over is our worst decision. The way the action is going with tickets counts and cash kind of reminds me of the Seahawks-Broncos Super Bowl when everyone bet the Broncos non-stop."

The Seahawks 43-8 win over the Broncos produced a Nevada record with $19 million in win.

The Rams money is still driving up from Interstate-15, but maybe not the truckloads of cash I envisioned.

However, one book needs the Patriots. Wynn sports book director Doug Castaneda says their best scenario is a Patriots win.

Setting a win record is unlikely, but setting a Nevada state record for Super Bowl handle ($158 million) is still up in the air despite little optimism from operators earlier the week.

Enjoy the game and check back afterward as I'll have a recap of how Nevada did shortly after. And congratulations to all the other states with legal sports wagering. It's an exciting time and this is the biggest day of the year for the books. Soak it all in.

Update - Friday, Feb. 1, 2019 - 4:45 p.m. ET

The cash has come pouring into Las Vegas over the past 24 hours with a $2 million wager placed at MGM Resorts Thursday night and a $1.5 million wager Friday morning at William Hill.

MGM sports book VP Jay Rood confirmed the wager wouldn't say what side the $2 million bet was on, but they did move the money-line from Patriots -140/+130 down to -135/+115 while not moving the spread off Patriots -2.5. It could be just a coincidence, and I'm only speculating what may have been bet.

However, William Hill's head [...] Nick Bogdanovich did confirm their $1.5 million bet was on the Rams money-line which is now -140/+120.

Getting plus-money on a side that should be pick 'em obviously offer huge value for a couple people.

William Hill's overall risk on the Rams now, coupled with a few other intangibles, forced Bogdanovich to move the Patriots from -3 EVEN down to -2.5 flat, a number where they initially got all one-way Patriots money last week. They had been at -3 EVEN since last Friday.

Wynn Resorts dropped down to Patriots -2 yesterday but we're bumped back up to -2.5 Friday due to a house player on the Patriots. No word on the amount wagered, but it's likely in the high six-figure range.

With William Hill getting off Rams +3 -120, the only 3 left in town is at the Golden Nugget in downtown Las Vegas.

"We just took a nice bet on the Patriots just before you called laying -3 EVEN," said Nugget sports book director Tony Miller Friday afternoon. "We're still looking for Rams action, loaded overall at all numbers on the Patriots, and we've even had our VIP bettors jump on the Pats too. It's coming at us from all sides."

I was also alerted on Twitter that if willing to drive towards Utah, there is Rams +3 -110 on the board at the Virgin River sports book in Mesquite.

The fun is just beginning.

Update - Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019 - 3:15 p.m. ET

Caesars Palace hasn't seen any large Super Bowl wagers yet, but sports book boss Jeff Davis knows it's coming.

"Nothing crazy bet yet, but I have been told that some of our bigger house players will be in town and they plan on making some wagers," said Davis.

The wager amounts expected by the whales are in the $500,000 to $1 million range. And then suddenly what the book had been game planning for the last 13 days flips and they're position on the game turns dramatically. Or the risk just got doubled or tripled one way sometimes forcing a move on the spread or money-line.

The Caesars line movement so far has been pretty quiet.

"We opened pick last Sunday night and we got all New England money quickly and it's been pretty one-way since getting us as high as -2.5 -115, but we're back at -2.5 -110," said Davis. "I have no desire to go to +3. I know money is waiting for +3 (flat); I think they're (sharp groups) just waiting to see how many books will go to +3 so they can then bet their Rams money."

Yes, it's an all-out wait game for Rams money and some sharps showed their hand early with South Point and William Hill when flashing +3 flat. The sharps can wait the books risk out, let them feel the sweat of the massive risk the public is building and then feast when the books cave. That scenario happens every big boxing match: the public piles on the underdog, sharps wait until the last moment to bet the cheap favorite.

The sharps wait game might backfire, however. There are carloads of cash coming from Los Angeles this weekend and they're going to balance out a lot of books, or at least shorten their Patriots risk.

Without knowing who his whales are going to play, Davis says he could see them closing Patriots -1.5 by the time the game kicks off.

Caesars biggest risk on the props besides the indexes with first score, MVP and that type of stuff is on Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski's receptions.

"We moved Edelman receptions from 6.5 Over -135 to 6.5 Over -170 and somebody laid that as well so we moved it to 7 Over -120 now. Gronkowski went from 3.5 Over -120 to 4 Over -115," Davis said.

Davis says their futures are in great position with both teams. Between Caesars and the MGM Resorts sports books, which is basically a monopoly of the strip, I would have no problem estimating that the two giants write up to 60 percent of all the future wagers in the state. They have the most rooms with the most daily guest turnover and certainly the most traffic. The ultimate lousy t-shirt gift for friends and family when returning home from Las Vegas is a $10 future wager on their team.

As for the rest of Las Vegas, not a lot has changed with the exception of Wynn Resorts dropping down to Patriots -2 Thursday morning.

"We're starting to see significant play on the Rams and we're just positioning ourselves for the weekend," said Wynn sports book director Doug Castaneda who initially opened the Rams -1. 

The total appears to be settling at 56.5 everywhere, as is the money-line split at -140/+120. The Westgate Superbook and Caesars both have -145/+125.

There's still a long way to go. MGM's Jay Rood estimated yesterday that 85 percent of the action he'll see on the Super Bowl will happen Friday through Sunday. Rood also said a few casino hosts have already made inquiries for their special guests (whales) in regards to making large bets up in the high six-figure range up to $1 million.

Update - Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019 - 4:45 p.m. ET

Nevada sports books have set handle records each of the past three Super Bowls, but passing $158 million this season could be difficult despite early optimism.

"We haven't had any of those big seven-figure wagers in town like we got last season, so I'm having my doubts about setting another record this year," said William Hill's head [...] Nick Bogdanovich.

William Hill is dealing the Super Bowl in five new regions this season, but the money coming in through those windows don't necessarily take action away from Nevada. That's new found money in places like New Jersey, Rhode Island, West Virginia and Mississippi with cash that would have likely been wagered illegally with a local bookie or sent elsewhere.

"Despite the early trends showing us trail last seasons record at this time last year, I can't say that our places in New Jersey and Mississippi are taking away any of our Las Vegas business," said MGM Resorts sports book VP Jay Rood. "There are variables for us being slightly down such as 'Bettor X' not dropping down his million dollar wagers, and lets also not forget that handle records were set in the state the past there years. If we get to $150 million, that's still a huge number."

If $150 million were bet in Nevada that would be No. 2 all-time behind last years $158 million.

"We don't even have 10 percent of the action were expecting on the game," Rood said. "We'll have 85 percent of the action happen from Friday to Sunday and I'm expecting a lot of it to be Rams money."

Rood's expectation is why he hasn't messed with 3 and allowing Patriots money to pile on at -2.5 flat.

"This is too big of a financial decision with so much more to happen for us this weekend to even think about going to Patriots -3 at this juncture," Rood said regarding the most key number in the NFL.

Bogdanovich approached William Hill's game plan similarly but just wanted to get at the right number quicker, whatever it be.

"When we were at Patriots -2.5, it was all Patriots money and when we were at Rams +3-flat it was all Rams money, but when we went to -3 EVEN, we still got more Rams money but it's closer to being 50-50 action so that looks like the right number to me," Bogdanovich said.

William Hill was joined by Golden Nugget as the only 3 EVEN's in Las Vegas on Tuesday.

The Westgate Las Vegas Superbook is another book that doesn't want to cross into 3 territory and has stayed at -2.5 flat since Monday after the AFC and NFC Championship games.

"We have 76 percent of the tickets written on the Patriots and also 80 percent of the cash," said SuperBook oddsmaker Jeff Sherman," but it was a lot worse a few days ago with both at around 90 percent.

"On the total, 56 percent of the tickets written have come on the Over, but 85 percent of the cash is on the Under," said Sherman who was as high as 59 on opening night and is currently at 56.5.

Sherman gets lots of acclaim as the premier golf oddsmaker in Las Vegas and has four Super Bowl props tied to this weekend's Phoenix Open and three others with the European tour. The Superbook team posted over 400 props on Thursday and they've already taken in over $1.4 million in action.

"Usually we're at about 60 percent ratio of overall action on the props against the game action, but we're at about 55 percent so far this time," Sherman said.

Two of the more popular props bets have been on Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady.

"We went from Gronk receptions 3.5-flat to 4 Under -130 and his yards went from the high 40 to high 50's," Sherman said. "Tom Brady's passing yards went from 282.5 to 297.5."

The reason for such large changes is because the Superbook makes their own numbers when the majority of books simply post the market props floating around. Huge middle opportunities, as always.

As for the wagering on the game itself, Sherman is still shaking his head after 10 days of action.

"I'm surprised to see the line where it's at and I'm surprised to see the public jumping all over the Patriots because they bet both the Chargers and Chiefs against them in the playoffs," said Sherman who opened the Rams -1. "I guess they now are assured the Belichick-Brady combo in the playoffs is a tough combo to beat."

Is the public doing a little zigging when the Patriots are zagging? Is the public trailing a week too late on the Patriots? "Okay, I bet against Belichick and Brady twice and lost so now I'm on the Patriots in the Super Bowl," a typical Patriots bettor might say. They've pushed the number up and they still keep betting them.

It's almost as if the public is forgetting that underdogs are currently on a 17-4 run against the spread the past two seasons and the underdog has won eight of the last 11 Super Bowls outright.

"No big bets have come in yet," said Bogdanovich," but we did have a guy come in yesterday and bet the Rams +3 (-120) to win $120,000 and also to win $120,000 on the Over and then another $120,000 on a two-team teaser with the two."

What, no Rams-Over parlay hook-up as well?

Update - Monday, Jan. 28, 2019 - 3:00 p.m. ET

There's just one 3 left in Las Vegas and that's at the William Hill chain of sports books. After testing the waters over the weekend, both Station Casinos and Boyd Gaming learned enough at Rams +3 -120 that they wanted to start the second week of Super Bowl 53 betting at Patriots -2.5 -120.

Stations made their move at 7:30 a.m. PT on Monday and an hour later Boyd made their move. Both local neighborhood chain of books now know if they get in a jam at -2.5 again they've got an outlet to get some Rams money. William Hill's Nick Bogdanovich said they have evenly bet action on both sides at Rams +3 -120 and Patriots -3 EVEN.

Maybe 3 is the real number for this game despite most oddsmakers having this game a pick 'em last week before the championship games as well as after. But in what is the most wagered even of the year, it's the public that sets the number. In the regular season, the wise guys push it. In the Super Bowl, it's the public and so far they're not willing to take the Rams at anything but +3. I think the sharps who like the Rams have shown that's their deal too.

CG Technology books have been at -2.5 flat (-110) since Tuesday and VP of risk management Jason Simbal says they have two-and-a-half times more tickets bet on the Patriots. They don't feel the heat yet of having to stress needing Rams money just like MGM books and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.

The second week of action will tell the story of what the right number is. Friday night will be the first big tell. All those cars driving up Interstate-15 from Southern California will be the story and in the past, they've generally sided with the underdog.

I still believe this game will flip with most of the books needing the Patriots by kickoff. Sounds crazy now, but this number might walk right down to pick 'em again.

The best money-line available is Patriots -135 at Boyd and +125 with the Rams at Wynn, Caesars Palace, and the Superbook. The total is dropping everywhere down to 56.5 with only a few 57's remaining.

Update - Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019 - 2:45 p.m. ET

Every Las Vegas sports book has their Super Bowl props posted and are ready for the stretch run of massive business next week hoping to set a state record in handle for the fourth straight year. It's still too early to tell if $158 million in handle like last season is within reach because they haven't even written 10 percent of what they're expected to overall.

The main concern after the first week of wagering is where in the heck is the Rams money? The South Point had a Patriots -3 flat that lasted only 17 minutes on Tuesday. Rams money came fast showing it's out there. They've been at -2.5 ever since.

Since then, three other books have moved to some variation of Patriots -3 and they're still there. Boyd Gaming went to -3 EVEN on Thursday, Station Casinos went to -3 EVEN Friday afternoon and William Hill went to -3 flat Friday night. I can understand why sharps may not want to lay -120 at +3 with the Rams, but why isn't Rams +3 flat at William Hill seen as attractive?

Station Casinos sports book director Jason McCormick said their move was just a large culmination of Patriots money that forced the move. I told him I thought he'd be down to -1.5 next weekend and he said: "I hope you're right."

I've been correct the last few years about the public flip in the Super Bowl from the first week of action to the second week. It happened last year with early Patriots money then flipping to the Eagles. It was all Carolina against the Broncos early and then Denver money flooded in forcing the books to root for Carolina.

I still feel the number is going to drop when all the Los Angeles money drives in next week, but all those 3's staying up for over a day is kind of alarming.

What usually happens is the first week is about what the public saw last. The Patriots and Tom Brady were amazing at Kansas City and the Rams made it due to a bad call. The following week is when they take the dog, and they've had so much success with them covering nine of the last 11 Super Bowls and winning eight outright.

Caesars Palace appears comfortable at -2.5 -115, a number they've been at since Tuesday. They dropped down to a city-low 56.5 on the total Saturday while most other books are 57. The Golden Nugget has been at -2.5 -120 since Thursday.

Update - Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019 - 2:45 p.m. ET

Boyd Gaming's local chain of Las Vegas books had all the risk they wanted on the Patriots from the first four days of Super Bowl 53 wagering and had to balance things out. Rather than mess around with the money-line to attract Rams money, on Thursday morning they made the bold move to get off of Patriots -2.5 -120 and move up to -3 EVEN.

Boyd is the second Las Vegas sports book to move up to -3. The South Point did it Tuesday and got enough action in 17 minutes to push them back down to -2.5. They use only flat numbers. Boyd book director Bob Scucci opened the game pick 'em on Sunday night and was at Patriots -2 within 40 minutes.

"We moved quickly as soon as we opened it," said Scucci. "Early indications have shown wise guys and the public are on the same side."

Scucci said his tickets counts are almost 3-to-1 in favor of the Patriots and he's taken multiple $25,000 wagers so far on the Patriots, but nothing too big yet.

"We had enough risk on the Patriots and I wanted to test the waters early to see if could get some Rams money and it's a little scary that since we went to -3 EVEN that we haven't seen anyone take the Rams (+3 -120)," he said.

He estimates that he's only seen about 5 percent of the overall action his chain of books will see, so there is a possibility of seeing Rams money arrive in the second week and walking the number down.

Scucci made comparisons to past Super Bowls he's booked in regards to moves off pick 'em.

"We had the Ravens get pushed fast from pick 'em up to -3 and the Giants never showed up in that one (2001), but then we had all Denver action against Seattle going from pick 'em to -3 and the Broncos got blown out (2014), so you never know," he said about the early moves.

By the way, the Seahawks 43-8 win over the Broncos remains the best Super Bowl win ever for Nevada sports books at $19.3 million (16.5 percent).

Station Casinos local chain of books had almost the exact same betting patterns as Boyd except they went to Patriots -2.5 on Sunday night. Since then they've gone to -2.5 (-120). Caesars Palace has moved the Patriots to -2.5 -115. Every other book in Las Vegas is at -2.5 and the total is steady at 57.5.

Update - Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019 - 4:15 p.m. ET

For 18 minutes on Tuesday, Las Vegas bettors had the opportunity to jump on the first +3 offered on the Super Bowl. Word spread fast. "Let's get to the South Point, now. Hurry!" The Sharp groups did a mad dash to the book on South Las Vegas Blvd. And the South Point phone wagers lit up.

"I just wanted to test the waters to see if there was Rams money out there, and there certainly was," said South Point sports book director Chris Andrews. "I'm doing 10 different point spreads props tomorrow and I wanted to be sure what my base number was and today clearly revealed that Patriots -2.5 is the base number."

The South Point is the only book in Las Vegas to offer exclusively flat numbers. It's a credit to owner Michael Gaughan who mandates it. Former book director Bert Osborne, who worked 30 years under Gaughan, proved mathematically that it was a better business model to not move the juice to -120 or -130 on a key number. And Gaughan, the son of Las Vegas bookmaking pioneer Jackie Gaughan, didn't like the fact that the -120 attached to a number kept novice bettors away because they were intimidated by not knowing what it meant. It's old school and I love it.

So it wasn't much of a shock that after a day-and-a-half of Super Bowl 53 wagering the South Point was the first to jump into 3 territory, the most key margin of victory number in the NFL.

"I just wanted to see," said Andrews. "Are they going to take 3? How long will it take to move me off? I just wanted to see what they would do, not only for the props but also for reference over the next two weeks. I now know there's lots of Rams money loving +3."

Andrews said a couple bettors on the phone made multiple $2,000 wagers (phone limit) in the short span it was offered. Andrews usually takes two to three limit wagers, or a cumulative of the same, to get on or off of -3.

As for Gaughan, I can't stop praising him because he's an absolute genius that could teach some of the larger brands in town about customer service. He constantly gives value to his guests. He keeps his food prices and drinks down and sometimes on a whim he'll say every drink at the bar is $2 for the next two weeks. That's Patron, Woodford, Grey Goose and whatever high-end drink there is. No short pours, either.

Gaughan once offered the Bills-Redskins Super Bowl at -6.5, +7.5 and when he owned the Barbary Coast he posted his William "Refrigerator" Perry to score TD prop at on the marquee (opened 100/1). No casino did that. He welcomed it, embracing the sports book. He knew big events created spinoff action in the casino. He also started the first pro football contest, Pick the Pro's, in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas is awaiting what he'll do for this Super Bowl and on Thursday what everyone will see is a dime line on the money-line. The South Point currently has the Patriots -140 and Rams +120, so expect to see something like -135/+125.

And another amenity the Gaughan family brings to the table is Michael's son Brendan Gaughan helping out and writing tickets on Super Bowl Sunday. In case you don't know, Brendan Gaughan is a NASCAR driver who will be racing in the Daytona 500 Feb. 17. It's all hands ondeck for the Gaughan family.

In other Las Vegas news, Caesars Palace opened about 60 props on Monday and used a 20 cent split which was nice. Wynn and the Westgate Superbook joined the city by moving to -2.5. The total has dropped to 57.5 just about everywhere with the exception being 58 at William Hill and Boyd Gaming.

That's all I got. Until next time, cheers.

Update - Monday, Jan. 21, 2019 - 6:00 p.m. ET

Super Bowl 53 isn't until Feb. 3, but bettors were running to the windows on Sunday to bet the Patriots immediately after their overtime win at Kansas City as if it was about to kickoff. The early perception from bettors in Las Vegas is that they love New England. In the 'what we saw last' spectrum, it was the Patriots winning a tough game on the road against the No. 1 seed while the Los Angeles Rams got lucky with some awful officiating at New Orleans.

As the sports books quickly adjusted their Super Bowl point-spread Sunday night, most moving from pick 'em up to -2.5, the folks that like the Rams just sat there waiting for the line to get higher and higher until the ultimate buy opportunity (+3) arrives. Think of Winthorpe and Valentine at the end of the movie Trading Places.

Wynn Las Vegas opened the Rams -1 and money forced them to Patriots -1.5, the lowest number in town along with the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook. Wynn book director Doug Castaneda says he thinks the money will eventually come in on the Rams so he's taking a stand early on. He's probably correct just because this story seems to be written the same every Super Bowl.

Here's the story: Bettors saw one team dominate or look amazing while the other team struggled or got lucky. They jump all over the team that dominated early on pushing the line upward, but then the second week of action comes. Fans from all over (especially Los Angelenos) drive or fly into town on Thursday, Friday or Saturday and bring all their cash with them. These people usually take the underdog because they've won with the underdog outright eight of the past 11 seasons.

Those bettors that don't understand the point-spread much but want action ask the ticket writer how it works. "How much do I win if I bet the Patriots to win," a novice bettor would say. The ticket writer says "You have to lay $140 to win $100 on the Patriots."

Bettor: "That doesn't sound very good, how about the Rams?"
Writer: "A bet on the Rams to win pays $120 plus your $100 back."
Bettor: "Yes, I like that. Give me the Rams for $100."

That type of transaction happens thousands of times at every sports book during Super Bowl weekend. And that money adds up large and eventually holds more weight cumulatively than sharp action. The Super Bowl is all about the public bettors.

The route that Wynn is taking is simply from reliving past Super Bowl trends. The Patriots got early action last year and then the public flipped the final weekend to Philadelphia and while the state set a record for Super Bowl handle with $158 million, the win was a tiny $1.1 million (0.7 percent) thanks to the Eagles winning outright. In 2016, bettors flipped to the Broncos side against the Panthers in the last weekend and were correct. In 2014, bettors flipped on the Seahawks side against Denver and won in blowout fashion.

Interestingly enough, three of the big shockers in recent Super Bowls saw the Patriots being upset, and one of those was in 2008 against the New York Giants, which was one of only two times Nevada books showed a loss in the pro football finale.

Anyway, I'm with Castaneda's philosophy as well. The masses will side with the underdog. The books will eventually be rooting for the Patriots in Super bowl 53.

The question now after only one day of wagering is how high the number will go. The books don't want to go to -3, but if the risk gets too high they'll have to and Rams money is waiting.

Station Casinos sports book director Jason McCormick, who opened the game pick 'em, tested the waters Monday while their limits are still low at $20,000 and moved the Patriots to -2.5 -120, twice. Each time he moved it he immediately got action on the Rams at +2.5 EVEN.

My first thought was why would large money show their hand for +2.5 EVEN when they can wait the books out and get +3. Sharp money knows what they're doing and there's always a plan. Do they think that's the best they're going to get? Or are they trying to show the book for $20,000 that +2.5 EVEN is attractive to hold them at -2.5 and then jump on the Patriots at -2.5-flat on Wednesday when the limits are raised to $100,000?

William Hill's Nick Bogdanovich thinks they'll eventually be at Patriots -3 while Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook VP Jay Kornegay thinks Patriots -2.5 -120 will be the peak.

By the way, both William Hill and the SuperBook will be releasing over 300 Super Bowl betting props on Thursday and both will be using 20 cents splits while most others in town will be using 30 cent splits. Pair those two places against each other on the openers and search for some chunky middles on prices and numbers. Both William Hill and the SuperBook do their own numbers.

I can't say I'll have a Super Bowl update daily, but that's the goal and when something happens with the numbers or I find something interesting, I'll definitely share with the VegasInsider.com audience.

Best of luck on your Super Bowl hunt. My advice is to wait on the Rams if you like them with the spread or money-line, but jump at both when +3 because I think it'll go down before the Super Bowl weekend begins.

Having said that you know what to do if you like the Patriots. Betting New England now -1.5 at Westgate or Wynn isn't a bad move.

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