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Gaming Guru

Matt Youmans

Patriots attract early support in pick-em Super Bowl

19 January 2015

A Super Bowl betting line is similar to a presidential election, and after the early votes were counted Sunday night, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots won a majority of the public’s support.

Still, no consensus favorite was elected, and the polls will be open for two more weeks.

At most Las Vegas sports books, the line is pick-em for the New England-Seattle matchup in Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1 at Glendale, Ariz. At MGM Resorts, the Patriots are 1-point favorites. The consensus total is 48½.

“A pick-em Super Bowl would be great,” said Jay Rood, MGM’s sports book director at the Mirage. “I think the Patriots should be the favorites.”

Rood said tickets on New England were rolling in at a 5-to-1 ratio after the Patriots won the AFC championship in a 45-7 blowout of the Indianapolis Colts. Brady passed for three touchdowns in an impressive performance.

The Seahawks needed a miraculous comeback to defeat the Green Bay Packers 28-22 in overtime for the NFC championship.

“People like to bet what they saw last,” said Rood, who was monitoring the first rush of wagering. “We just took another big play on the Patriots minus-1. And there’s a six-figure bet on the Patriots.”

Early Sunday, Seattle was posted as a 2½-point favorite over the Patriots, but that line dropped soon after it was put up in lights.

“I think there is a chance of New England being the favorite within a couple of days,” Westgate Las Vegas sports book director Jay Kornegay said. “I thought Green Bay might be the second-best team in the league, with New England probably third. That’s why I think the line should be around 2½.

“I’m not a big believer in the Patriots. But I asked some people what they thought the line was going to be, and three out of four said the Patriots should be the favorites.”

Kornegay stuck with pick-em as the line, and South Point oddsmaker Jimmy Vaccaro briefly went to Patriots minus-1 before returning to pick-em.

“I’m going back and forth just to see where they are betting,” Vaccaro said. “This time last year, it was just a mad rush on Denver for the first eight hours. This is microscopic by comparison.”

The Seahawks closed as 2½-point underdogs in the Super Bowl last year, when they blasted the Broncos 43-8.

Nevada’s wagering handle on last year’s game was $119.4 million, the highest figure in Super Bowl history.

“I don’t think we’re going to beat last year’s record,” Vaccaro said. “I hope I’m wrong. I just don’t think we’ll get there. It will still be a big deal.”

Brady and the Patriots last won the Super Bowl in 2005, but lost in their most recent appearances in 2008 and 2012.