VSiN.com senior reporter
LAS VEGAS – Super Sunday arrives with the Patriots as 4.5-point favorites over the Eagles with an over/under of 48.5 points after nearly two weeks of wild wagering.
However, sports books directors up and down the Strip as well as all over the state of Nevada have been saying that 80-90 percent of the wagering takes place over the huge Super Bowl Weekend, so a lot can still change before the 3:30 p.m. PT kickoff. The Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority estimates that 311,000 visitors are in town this weekend to fill 90% of the city’s 150,000 hotel rooms and all indications are that last year’s record handle of $138.5 million will be shattered.
During the third quarter of the Eagles’ 38-7 rout of the Vikings in the NFC Championship Game, sports books here in Nevada and offshore opened the Patriots between 5.5- and 7-point favorites. The higher spreads quickly disappeared and the line was a consensus Patriots -6 by the time the Eagles-Vikings game finished.
The early money continued to come in on the underdog Eagles that Sunday night and it became apparent that Patriots -5.5 was looking like the more likely spread. The over/under opened between 46.5 and 47.5 but got up to 48 at most books.
By Wednesday morning of the bye week, it was looking like things were settling down with the Patriots still mostly -5.5 and the money line around Patriots -200/Eagles plus-170 at most books and the over/under at 48. However, the day started with MGM’s Jay Rood coming on VSiN’s “A Numbers Game” show with Gill Alexander and saying he was in the process of taking a multi-million wager on the Eagles. Speculation ran rampant that it was the famous “Bettor X” from last year’s World Series. Rood wouldn’t say if it was a point-spread or money-line wager, but the fact is the MGM books were the first to drop to Patriots -4.5.
After most Nevada books put up their lists of proposition wagers on that Thursday and Friday, heavy wagering continued over the bye weekend with Boyd Gaming being the first to lower the line to Patriots -4. Several of the major books followed suit, including VSiN’s host hotel at the South Point as well as the Westgate SuperBook.
More sports book directors continued to come on VSiN to report that they’ve been seeing more money-line wagering than usual, again with most of the biggest wagers coming in on the Eagles. That caused some books to go as low at Patriots -170 on the money line to just with the game straight-up.
New England money started to show up Thursday and Friday as Super Bowl Weekend visitors began showing up in droves. Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski was cleared from concussion protocol on Thursday but the betting markets didn’t react immediately (note: most everyone assumed that Gronk, with two weeks to recover, was going to be able to play, so the market wasn’t expected to react as much as if he was declared out).
The last Patriot -4 disappeared at the Westgate on Friday afternoon as every Vegas books settled in at -4.5 over Friday and Saturday. The over/under has also been trending upward with 48.5 taking over as the most popular total though several books have since gone to 49.
At 5:55 a.m. PT Super Bowl morning, Caesars Palace was the first book to go back to Patriots -5, pretty much confirming what a lot of us have been predicting that the vast majority of the late money will come in on the favorite.
We’ll continue to monitor the evolution of the line all day Sunday on Twitter @ViewFromVegas, and also tune into VSiN’s programming all day Sunday starting at 11 a.m. ET/8 a.m. PT (basically a 7.5-hour pregame show before the in-game wagering show with Brent Musburger and His Guys in the Desert during the actual playing of the game) as our hosts and guests will obviously be reacting to any changes in the betting market.