USA Today Sports

AFC Championship action report: Line mistake makes for one wild ride

There are two huge conference championship matchups on the NFL board this Sunday, with the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos battling for the AFC title, and the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks mixing it up for the NFC crown.

We talk with Michael Stewart, an oddsmaker with CarbonSports.ag, about the action coming in the AFC Championship Game, the drastic line move that occurred shortly after posting this spread, and where he sees the line landing coming kickoff.

New England Patriots at Denver Broncos – Open: -7, Move: -4.5, Move: -5.5


The Brady vs. Manning media blitz was overshadowed – at least in the sports betting industry – by the massive line movement this spread saw once it hit the market. Books opened New England as high as a touchdown underdog after thumping Indianapolis in the Divisional Round and took instant action on the road team, pushing this spread as many as 2.5 points.

“We literally wrote 50 bets to zero bets at that number,” Stewart says of the touchdown opener and action on the Patriots. “No question, we hung a bad opening number because we saw nothing but one-way action.”

Stewart admits the spread was off but is baffled by how far bettors have driven this spread, and the amount on money on New England at the mid-week mark. He points out that the Broncos were double-digit favorites in six of their eight home games during the regular season and easily covered those single-digit home spreads versus Baltimore and Kansas City.

“Bottom line, this team has been dominant at home and while I admit we opened with a bad number of 7, all the money we booked on the Patriots is surprising to me and my crew,” he says. “We’ve gone from needing the Broncos’ opponent in every single game this year, to all of a sudden seeing everyone fading the Broncos here. It is amazing to me.”

Once the spread dropped to Denver –4.5, action started to show up on the home side. Stewart says sharp money came in Monday afternoon and commanded a move to Broncos -5. Another hit from wiseguys forced books to tack on a half point Wednesday morning.

“This is by far one of the more interesting games we’ve booked in recent memory, as the public is supporting the dog and the wiseguys are on the favorite,” Stewart tells Covers. “The public drove this number down and now the sharps are driving it back up. So far 75 percent of the action is on the Patriots and, while sharp money is on the favorite, I don’t think we’ll get back to -6 because of our exposure on the Patriots is already significant enough.”

The total for Sunday’s AFC Championship Game isn’t as volatile as the spread, but has seen its share of adjustments. The number opened 55 and with 70 percent of total wagers siding with the Over, the book has since moved to 56. But Stewart believes this line isn’t done moving yet and could see major sharp influence before Sunday’s game.

“I suspect the wiseguys are waiting for this total to go even higher and I expect their patience will pay off because we’re going to eventually get to 56.5 and maybe, maybe even 57 as we get closer to kickoff,” he says.

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Posted by oldtexx
11 months ago

Damn, I love the reverse side of "bad numbers"......
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Posted by tomnolan
11 months ago

sharps, squares, wiseguys its all a bunch of BS. the art of making a line is all about perception. its how the general public sees it. its all smoking mirrors. my heart says new England and my wallet says Denver. my heart says the 49ers but my wallet says the seahawks!
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Posted by Cholokev
11 months ago

Bill Walters? Ever heard of him? He is what you would call a sharp! You fools and your conspiracy,and media created theory's are full of sh$t! Your nothing more than a degenerate loser who blames his crappy handicapping on conspiracys, and the media trying to fool me! Stop gambling you whiner! Your not cut out for it so quit? Believe it or not there are professional sports gambler who make millions a year and change pointspreads with a single bet. Buck up boy....or get out the game b$tch..
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Posted by dude1618
11 months ago

Brady's will be fine by Sunday. I've got the same flu, and so does half the state of MA. Its aweful for two days, then its manageable, and Brady is in better health than any of us.
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Posted by rubberneck
11 months ago

sharps are the books making 10% vig
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Posted by BIGfnPOO
11 months ago

i think brady is all fkd up and denver wins...under
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Posted by dachill36
11 months ago

Bc they have runners u moe
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Posted by penguins1503
11 months ago

"Oh we made a line mistake" really! and you are going to come out and admit it to the public yeah right! and I got a beach property in VEGAS i'm trying to sell.
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Posted by kengoone
11 months ago

All the sharp $ was on NE+7 and 6.5 early. The reason for the take back yesterday is Brady has the flu and missed practice
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Posted by JohnnyJet0023
11 months ago

Someone help me out here.....I thought "sharp" money comes in early and "square" money comes in late. How are the "sharps" supporting the favorite, if it was early money that moved the line down from 7?
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Posted by chillinmcm
11 months ago

got 6.5 I'm good with that number
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Posted by Spitdudes
11 months ago

The Patriots lost to Miami and was outplayed by Cleveland down the stretch... Denver is ready and will roll.
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Posted by oldtexx
11 months ago

bettors that believe "no sharps", will continue to stumble in the dark........."sharps, and/or wiseguys" exist in all walks of life, which most certainly includes sports betting..
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Posted by bradyballs
11 months ago

Also no one cares because its mid week. Either youre in early or you wait.
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Posted by bradyballs
11 months ago

ALSO, How did denver do against #7 last week? Won by 7, when it got tight I saw a few 3 and outs. But they did win at home or lost after bye week. Pats won, as usual then played a good ravens team that always play each other tight. er then a nunz mbers c unt on a SUNDAY! Seriously Manning never beat FLA at Ten. Hes at 20% vs brady? He throws ducks. Good dude it seems. But #12 has got the arm and just a better QB all around. Pats can score in 15 seconds like the broncos. Maybe San Diego (sux) beat them or denver beat themselves. Over take it will hit 60-63 Money Line pats all day at 2 and a hook. Got in at line opening time. Not surprised to see drop, thought would be 3/1/2
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Posted by bradyballs
11 months ago

I saw Casino too. Give Pats the points. Thanks Manning and Welker, same as Jeter and Rivera as clutch. And I hate the yanks but those are 2 clutch vs Ducks
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Posted by darien123
11 months ago

its just bullshiiit to make people feel special
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Posted by Cholokev
11 months ago

You really don't know anything about gambling if you think wise guys and sharps don't exist ! C'mon mass hole.........
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Posted by sports_Network
11 months ago

NO, it's you who doesn't know a thing, based on your own commentary, exist where? who are they? can you name one? maybe your mis-informed, or read covers to much, and believe everything in print, these terms are media generated to capture attention, what the true term would be 'a whale' when you read an article like this, your not getting information, to the contrary, your being 'set up' this is nothing more than a marketing scheme perpertrated by carbonsports.ag exlusively, with Jason Logan as the stooge, wake up to the realities of how covers operates, and how they make their money with this website....
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Posted by MRSARATOGA
11 months ago

Always amazed by the over usage of the terms "sharps" and "wiseguys". In reality no such things.
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Posted by sports_Network
11 months ago

never once heard the termonology used at any LV sportsbook in the past years, or present, "he's a sharp, he's a wiseguy" (the term wiseguy is catagorized as a 'made' guy, involved in ethnic organized crime, with absolutely nothing to do with sports betting. it's clearly a media thing, generated towards dramatics, nothing more...
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Top Response

Posted by sports_Network
11 months ago

"NO, it's you who doesn't know a thing, based on your own commentary, exist where? who are they? can you name one? maybe your mis-informed, or read covers to much, and believe everything in print, these terms are media generated to capture attention, ..."