Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:51 AM
Vegas Money Moves - Championship Games
Bettors backing off the Chiefs -- again
If you told me back in September that the Chiefs would go 14-2 in the regular season, quarterback Patrick Mahomes was healthy, and they would be only -3 at home in the AFC Championship Game, I wouldn't hesitate to bet the defending Super Bowl champions.
But that’s the scenario we’re looking at this week even with news coming Friday that Mahomes had passed concussion protocol and will start on Sunday.
A couple of Nevada books are -3.5 but the majority are all still -3.
Mahomes was lost midway through the third quarter last week in the Chiefs' 22-17 home win over the Divisional Rond with a concussion and oddsmakers and bookmakers made his value to the number as low as 5 points and as high as -points, but started the game at -2.5 with the possibility he might not play.
But nobody believed he wouldn’t play and posted the number that way. And so far with a full week of action, the game is being bet very even everywhere.
“Right now, straight bets on the point-spread is pretty even,” William Hill’s Nick Bogdanovich said.
“We’re a little high on Bills money-line (+155), but that’s to be expected. I think this one will be a two-way action game as well. I do think Mahomes will play and that this game will go back up when they announce it. It’ll get to 3.5, 4 tops. But I still think there will be Bills money because the Chiefs haven’t covered a game in so long.”
The Chiefs have won 24 of the last 25 starts Mahomes has made, but they’ve covered just once in their last nine games. Bettors want so badly to bet the Chiefs, but they’re tired of losing every week with them on the spread.
“We posted the Chiefs -4 before Mahomes got injured and then reposted -2.5 afterward and were bumped up to -3, but not really any sharp plays either way on the game,” said Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook VP Jay Kornegay.
The Bills have won their last eight games and have gone 9-1 against the spread (ATS) in their last 10. The public has noticed and has been happy taking the points this week.
William Hill books have had 53% of the tickets written on Buffalo as well as 56% of the cash.
The total has dropped from 54.5 down to 54.
The Bills average score this season was 31-23, or 54, and they’ve gone over in their last four games as the underdog. They also went over in 12 of their 18 games this season.
It’s the No. 1 and No. 2 offenses in the NFL hooking up for a trip to the Super Bowl.
Pressing the Packers
The first game on Sunday will have Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers hooking up in the playoffs for the first time ever. It’s the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Green Bay Packers.
“Sharps took Tampa Bay at +4.5, +4, and +3.5 and when we went to 3 we started seeing Packers money,” Kornegay said. “We’re up to Packers -3.5 now.”
Jason Scott of BetMGM said they’ve taken a couple of six-figure bets on the Packers (-3) and they’re currently at -3.5 -120, the highest number out there. William Hill is heavy on the Packers as well and sits at -3.5 flat.
“We took a couple of big bets on the Packers, so we’re pretty high on them right now,” said Bogdanovich.
“But it’s still so early, you never know what’s going to happen in this game. Tampa’s drawn a lot of love all year long, and people will like taking 3.5 as opposed to 3. I still don’t think it’ll be a big decision one way or the other.”
Bogdanovich may be exaggerating a bit on the risk because they’re loaded with Packers risk with 78% of the tickets on the Packers and 83% of the cash. By the time this game kicks off, every book will be rooting for the Bucs.
The SuperBook dropped the Packers money-line down to -180/+160.
There’s a possibility of snow with game time temperatures forecasted to be 25 degrees, but the SuperBook total has gone up from 51 to 51.5.
The Bucs have won their last six (4-2 ATS) and scored 30+ points in their last five games but the competition could be questioned with five games against losing teams and the other versus a beat-up Drew Brees-led New Orleans team.
Meanwhile, the Packers have won their last seven (5-2 ATS) and the strength of their opponents isn't great either.
The pair met in Week 6 on Oct. 18 at Tampa Bay and the Bucs gave the Packers a 10-0 lead before reeling off 38 unanswered points.
They rattled quarterback Aaron Rodgers, as he appeared to check out mentally the rest of the game.
Green Bay closed as a short favorite (-2.5) in that loss after starting the season with a 4-0 record.
Roberts is a former Las Vegas sports book director that has been covering the sports betting industry for the last 16 years.