Patriots open as 3.5-point faves, but SB line not holding

Jan 22, 2012 |
Patriots open as 3.5-point faves, but SB line not holding
Eli's Giants got the better of Brady's Pats in 2008.
Eli's Giants got the better of Brady's Pats in 2008.



Caesars Palace opening line: Patriots -3.5, 55.5; Moved to -3

MGM Mirage opening line: Patriots -3.5, 55.5; Moved to -3.5 (even) opening line:
Patriots -3.5, 54; Moved to -3 (-115), 55

Cantor Gaming opening line: Patriots -3 (-115), 53.5; Total moved to 54.5 opening line: Patriots -3 (-120), 55.5

Lucky’s opening line:
Patriots -3.5 (even), 55

Las Vegas Hotel & Casino opening line: Patriots -3, 53.5

As soon as MGM Mirage opened the Patriots as 3.5-point favorites Sunday night, the book took a six-figure bet on New England followed by substantial professional money on the Giants.

Sportsbook manager Jay Rood hoped the two-way action was a sign of things to come.

But the book soon moved to Pats -3.5 (even), part of a trend that saw most lines shrinking toward 3.

At Caesars Palace, Giants money immediately cut the line from 3.5 to 3.

“We anticipated we’d see some New England money since they’ve been a pretty public side, but it was almost like a feast of sharks,” senior sports analyst Todd Fuhrman told “The casual gamblers and some professionals came in and grabbed the hook.”

Fuhrman believes the line will settle at 3 everywhere. So underdog players who can find 3.5 – the few 4s out there Sunday night are long gone -- should act fast.

“Three is exactly the right number to get two-way action on this game,” Fuhrman said. “If you go to 2.5, Patriots money will come flooding in. At 3.5 you’ll have nothing but Giants money.”

Rood didn’t want to post 3 initially because the game could easily end in a push. Plus, there were some 4s around when MGM Mirage opened its line.

“You book so much action on this, a push is pretty anti-climactic and financially it’s not a good situation when we’re going to do a very significant portion of our business for the year on this game,” Rood said.

“Win or lose, we want to have a decision. Ultimately, if the market pushes it to 3 or 4, it is what it is. But I wanted to open it so it would be a decision one way or the other.”

Rood expects to take a lot of Giants money through Monday from bettors who cashed with them Sunday.

“They’re rolling some of those tickets over before they leave town,” he said.

Cantor Gaming opened at -3 (-115) and drew Patriots money only because many books opened at 3.5.

Sportsbook director Mike Colbert believes the wrong team is favored.

“I just think the Giants are the better team,” he said. “I think they’ll run right through New England and defensively they’ll pressure Brady. And they already won in New England this season.”

Cantor operates multiple Vegas sportsbooks, including at the M Resort and the Venetian.

Like other book directors, Colbert is thrilled with the matchup.

“It will be tremendous two-way action,” he said, predicting the line will close at 3 flat. “We know the whole state of New York is going to be in Vegas and we know there’s a ton of support for the Patriots. This is absolutely the ideal Super Bowl.”

The public will be on both sides, Colbert said, but sharps "will do whatever they can to get 3.5 or 4 with the Giants.”

Lucky’s oddsmaker Jimmy Vaccaro expects heavy money line action on the Giants. So he opened his at Patriots -150 and Giants +130. Other books had the Giants at +135 or +140.

“When it comes to a dog in the Super Bowl, people love to bet the money line if that’s the team they’re rooting for,” he said. “Because of that, the money line on the favorite will close at a little bit of a bargain.”

While the spread looks straightforward and most expect it to close at 3, Vaccaro said he’s seen strange things happen in 37 years in the business.

“These games have a life of their own,” he said. “You think you can figure one out, but sometimes you’re left shaking your head.”

Total could be second highest ever

The total ranges from 53.5 to 55.5 at most books. A closing total of 55.5 would be the second-highest in Super Bowl history, behind only the 57 for the 2010 Saints-Colts matchup. The first Giants-Pats Super Bowl closed at 55.

Everyone will be calling this one "The Rematch," so get used to it.

New York spoiled the Patriots’ perfect 2007 season in Super Bowl XLII, winning 17-14. The Giants have 14 players remaining from that game, the Patriots seven.

In fact, the last two times Eli Manning faced the Pats, he led a last-minute touchdown drive to beat them.

It happened most recently Nov. 6 in Foxborough, the Giants winning 24-20 on Manning’s 1-yard scoring pass to Jake Ballard with 15 seconds left.

In their stunning Super Bowl upset four years ago, the Giants sacked Tom Brady five times and disrupted New England’s record-setting offense. Manning threw a 13-yard TD to Plaxico Burress with 35 seconds to go – four plays after David Tyree trapped Manning’s third-down pass against his helmet for a 32-yard gain.

Super Bowl Fact Sheet

The under is 5-2 in the last five Super Bowls.

The underdog has won four of the last 10 Super Bowls outright (6-4 ATS).

New York is 7-1 ATS in its last eight games, while New England is 4-4 ATS.

In two playoff games, New England has been penalized three times for a total of 25 yards.

The Giants have covered three straight against the Patriots (2-1 SU).

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