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Gaming Guru

Matt Youmans

Public heavily backing Broncos at sportsbooks

20 January 2014

After briefly being cast in the underdog role, Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos are Super Bowl favorites.

At most Las Vegas sports books, the Broncos are 1-point favorites over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2. The total opened 48. The Seahawks opened as slight favorites, but the line shifted after bettors showed strong support for the Broncos.

“The public sentiment is going to be with Denver,” South Point Hotel Casino and Spa oddsmaker Jimmy Vaccaro said. “It looks like an attack on Denver. It’s just Manning. I think that’s the rationale behind the Broncos money.”

Manning passed for 400 yards and two touchdowns to lead Denver, a 5-point favorite, to a 26-16 victory over New England in the AFC championship on Sunday.

Denver was favored in all 16 regular-season games and two playoff games. The Broncos closed as 1-point road favorites in a loss to the Patriots on Nov. 24.

The Seahawks closed as 3½-point favorites in their 23-17 comeback victory over San Francisco in the NFC title game.

“It’s going to be a contrast of styles, and that’s going to make it a very interesting matchup,” said LVH - Las Vegas Hotel and Casino sports book director Jay Kornegay, who opened Seattle as a 2-point favorite over Denver.

The LVH adjusted its opening line and moved to Broncos minus-1, and a few books posted minus-2.

The game has a shot to top last year’s Super Bowl-record wagering handle of $98.9 million at Nevada’s books.

“I think it could go over $100 million, just based on the great handle we’ve had all season,” MGM Resorts sports book director Jay Rood said.