After an NFL wild-card round in which all four underdogs covered and three won outright, perhaps it’s not a surprise that the divisional round is seeing some ‘dog money as well. Covers checks in on the line movement and action for the two Saturday games, with insights from Scott Shelton, sportsbook supervisor at The Mirage.
Kansas City is rested and ready after nabbing the AFC’s No. 1 seed and a playoff bye with a 12-4 SU record (9-6-1 ATS). In Week 17 of the regular season, the Chiefs rumbled to a 35-3 home victory over Oakland as 14.5-point favorites.
Indianapolis has been running hot for nearly three months, after a 1-5 SU and 2-4 ATS start. The sixth-seeded Colts (11-6 SU, 9-7-1 ATS) have won 10 of their last 11 games (7-3-1 ATS), including a 21-7 wild-card victory over No. 3 Houston as 2-point road underdogs.
MGM books in Vegas, as well as in New Jersey and Mississippi, had one thing in common on this 4:35 p.m. ET matchup.
“It’s all Colts in every region. And all the big bets are on the Colts,” Shelton said, specifically noting a $110,000 play Friday on Indianapolis +5.5 at The Borgata in New Jersey, which forced a line move to 5. “I thought about going to 4.5 (Friday night). I’m going there next if we take anything sizable on Indy.
“It’s just like last week. The public is on all four ‘dogs. It’s bizarre.”
Los Angeles matched New Orleans for the NFC’s best record, at 13-3 SU (7-8-1 ATS), but settled for the No. 2 seed on a tiebreaker. The Rams (13-3 SU, 7-8-1 ATS) finished the regular season with a 48-32 victory over San Francisco as 10.5-point home faves.
No. 4 seed Dallas is on a 7-1 SU and 6-2 ATS run entering this prime-time Saturday night contest, kicking off at 8:15 p.m. ET. The Cowboys (11-6 SU, 9-8 ATS) held off a solid Seattle squad in the wild-card round, winning 24-22 as 2.5-point home favorites.
The Mirage and other MGM books haven’t moved off the opening line of Rams -7, though the price has adjusted a couple times from the flat -110 to -120, which is where it was Saturday morning.
“The pointspread money is still in favor of the Rams. All the five-figure bets are on the Rams,” Shelton said. “But the ticket count is in favor of Dallas. The public is playing Dallas.”
Whether the line sticks all day will depend on a factor that’s been huge at MGM books in Vegas the past couple weeks: How the big casino players make their monster bets. Shelton indicated there are again some larger players in town this weekend, including one who put in a bunch of six-figure wagers last week.
“I think this could become a two-way-action game,” Shelton said. “It depends on what our high-end players play.”
Patrick Everson is a Las Vegas-based senior writer for Covers. Follow him on Twitter: @Covers_Vegas.