2015 Super Bowl Point Spread : Early Movement (archival article)

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The point spread for Super Bowl XLIX moved 3.5 points at MGM Resorts on Sunday night, as the Patriots pulled away from the Colts to secure the AFC title.

The Las Vegas sports book operator, along with many others in town, opened the Seahawks as 2.5-point favorites during the third quarter of New England’s 45-7 victory. By the late fourth quarter, the Pats were the 1-point favorite.

“We opened (Seattle) -2.5, but I knew it was the wrong side, and I just kept dropping it down little by little even though we didn’t get much action on it,” Jay Rood, MGM Resorts VP of race and sports, told The Linemakers’ Micah Roberts. “The more I was thinking about it, the more I thought New England should be favored, and the bulk of the action we took on it — about $10,000 — has been on the Patriots -1.”

The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook opened Seattle -2.5, but the shop was dealing the game at a pick ‘em less than a half-hour later, according to assistant manager Jeff Sherman’s Twitter feed.

William Hill U.S. moved to a pick ‘em on Sunday night as well, director of trading Nick Bogdanovich told The Linemakers on Sporting News in a text message. The shop was offering an advanced line of Seattle -3 vs. New England last week.

Super Bowl XLIX is set for Sunday, Feb. 1 in Glendale, Ariz.

That the spread moved immediately in New England’s direction is not a surprise. Early line moves are typically prompted by money from professional bettors. But with Vegas books packed with public bettors for Championship Sunday, the cumulative smaller wagers have a greater impact. Public bettors, of course, tend to base their wagers on what they most-recently witnessed — and that was the Pats blowing out the Colts and the Seahawks coming away with a very fortunate win over the Packers.

“The books want to get to the right number as quickly as they can,” said The Linemakers’ Roberts. “This will be the biggest bet game of the year, where the public has more influence on the number than the wise guys. In most cases with the public, they go by what they saw last, and in this case, it was Seattle struggling at home and committing five turnovers and the Patriots rolling to a blowout win. I think the public will side with the Patriots early on.”

Early wagering on last year’s Super Bowl was similar, as Seattle opened as a short favorite but Denver was bet to a favorite within a few hours on Championship Sunday.

Said Tony Miller at the Golden Nugget, “We haven’t taken any big action on the game yet, just a bunch of guys putting some small parlays on it before they head out of town.”

Miller said he believes Seattle -3 is the proper number, but he adjusted to what he saw in the market.

“With -2s being out there and -1.5 at the Mirage, I opened -2.5 just to be at the highest number, but the (odds) screen is jumping right now,” Miller said. “I’m looking at a few books down to -1 right now, so I’m moving to -2 and I’ll still be high.”

Five minutes later, Miller took a bet large enough (not a limit wager) to drop even further, to -1, to put him in line with most of the other books around town. But the number would continue to drop, and pick ‘em was the consensus line by the time the AFC game ended.

The total opened between 48.5 and 49.5.

On sale: The Wynn is enticing bettors in Vegas with a special offer of -105 vigorish on side bets, exec VP for Race & Sports John Avello told The Linemakers on Sporting News in a text on Sunday night. Gamblers usually have to lay -110.

High bar: Nevada sports books handled a record $119.4 million in wagers on last year’s Super Bowl, which shattered the previous mark of $98.9 set the previous year. They also won $19.6 million, another record.


Early Predictions for the 2018 NBA Playoffs

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We are not yet at the All-Star Break in the NBA, so it might not be the most opportune time to start talking about the playoffs. There are some teams that are definitely going to be part of the postseason, and we can probably guess at the top 3 in each of the two conferences. Things get a little tougher after that, as the battle for playoff spots in the lower half of each conference tends to get seriously heated, especially in the second half of the season. Injuries and streaky runs can have a major impact on how things might end up playing out, and there are still an awful lot of games ahead of us. Despite all of that, we are still going to take an early look at the playoffs and how things might go.

Eastern Conference Prediction:

The Boston Celtics have a 1.5 game lead over the Toronto Raptors at the top. The Cleveland Cavaliers are in third and appear to be in a bit of a freefall, which would suggest that the current top 2 will be the ones gunning it out for the Eastern Conference crown. The Celtics have done enough to keep Toronto at bay all season long, and we like them to continue doing so. Cleveland will right the ship in the second half, but whether or not they can catch Toronto remains to be seen. We like Washington to leapfrog Miami into 4th.
Miami will drop, but only to 5th, with the remaining three playoff spots filled by Milwaukee, Indiana, and Philadelphia, in that order. Getting to the playoffs would be big for the 76ers, but they would be on to a beating in round one. Toronto would have their hands full with Indiana, but will win, while the Cavaliers will get past the Bucks. The Washington/Miami series would be a coin flip, with the edge going to the Wizards.
Boston move on, and then we think we get the real surprise of the playoffs with the Raptors taking out the Cavaliers. Let’s go with the Celtics to represent the East in the NBA Finals.

Western Conference Prediction:

As usual, no-one is touching the Golden State Warriors on top, and it’s tough to imagine anyone getting past the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs in second and third. Oklahoma City appear to be getting hot, which is why we think they move on up into the #4 seed, pipping out the Minnesota Timberwolves in the process and dropping them to #5.
We don’t see much in the way of change as the standings are now, which means the New Orleans Pelicans and Portland Trail Blazers in #6 and #7, respectively. We worry about the Denver Nuggets being able to hold on to the final spot, especially given how brutal they are on the road, so let’s take the LA Clippers in the #8 spot.
We don’t see any of the top 3 teams going down in the opening round, and we also like OKC to move on. The Spurs have lost a step as we see it, which is why we think we are destined for a Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors Western Conference Final. The Warriors move on after an epic battle and win the NBA Finals in 5 over the Celtics.

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