Books see home as edge in fi­nal four

Las Vegas Review-Journal - - SPORTS -

IT was still early in the sec­ond quar­ter of the Pa­tri­ots-charg­ers game Sun­day morn­ing when the West­gate sports book posted theopen­ing­line­fortheafc ti­tle game be­tween New Eng­land and Kansas City.

Thep­a­tri­otswere­build­ing a 35-7 half­time lead over

Los An­ge­les when the Chiefs were in­stalled as 3-point fa­vorites over New Eng­land next Sun­day at Ar­row­head Sta­dium.

“Jeff wanted to put that line up half­way through the first quar­ter,” Ed Sal­mons said of fel­low West­gate sports book man­ager Jeff Sher­man.

Theopen­ing­to­talof59 was quickly bet down to

57½ for the re­match of the Pa­tri­ots’ 43-40 win over the Chiefs in Week 6 in Foxbor­ough, Mas­sachusetts.

“It’s just go­ing to be a lit­tle slower track,” Sal­mons said.

Las Ve­gas odd­s­mak­ers also ex­pect plenty of points in the NFC cham­pi­onship game. Mo­ments af­ter a late in­ter­cep­tion pre­served their 20-14 di­vi­sional-round win over the Ea­gles, the Saints opened as 3½-point (even) home fa­vorites over the Rams with a to­tal of 57.

An­other re­match: New Or­leans beat L.A. 45-35 at the Su­per­dome in Week 9.

“It was sort of like the Rams got hum­bled down there the first time around, but they’re hit­ting on all cylin­ders right now,” Wil­liam Hill sports book direc­tor

Nick Bog­danovich said. “I think the Rams are live.”

Sal­mons also leans to the Rams get­ting 3½.

“I think that’ll be a field goal game,” he said. “I could def­i­nitely see the Rams win­ning, just be­cause they lost there the first time.

“But it’s tough to play in New Or­leans with the noise there.”

Early ac­tion on Pats

The West­gate took $15,000 in early money on the Pa­tri­ots (+3) over the Chiefs, in­clud­ing one $10,000 straight bet.

“I would def­i­nitely lean to the Pa­tri­ots. It’s ob­vi­ous lis­ten­ing to (Tom) Brady that the Pa­tri­ots are play­ing with a chip on their shoul­der,” Sal­mons said. “And it’s Andy Reid in a pres­sure game. I just don’t see a game where (Bill) Belichick is go­ing to al­low the Chiefs to go crazy with the scor­ing.”

Af­ter New Eng­land whipped the Charg­ers 41-28, Brady said on CBS that “I know ev­ery­one thinks we suck and you know, can’t win any games. So we’ll see. It’ll be fun.”

Bizarro bet­tors

The bet­ting pub­lic turned the di­vi­sional round of the NFL play­offs into a bizarro world, back­ing the un­der­dogs in a big way on a week­end in which all four fa­vorites won and three of them cov­ered.

“This week re­ally sur­prised me,” Sal­mons said. “I was shocked they liked the Colts the way they did, and I was shocked they liked the Charg­ers the way they did.”

Bet­tors lost big on the Charg­ers — who closed as 3½-point un­der­dogs af­ter the line opened at 4½ — and lost even more Satur­day on the Colts, who closed as 4½-point ’dogs af­ter the line opened at 5½ in a 3113 loss to the Chiefs.

The Rams cov­ered as 7½-point fa­vorites over the Cow­boys in Satur­day’s Todd Dewey Re­view-jour­nal

30-22 win. The Saints, lay­ing nine points, were the only fa­vorite that didn’t cover.

“It’s amaz­ing that three of the teams they bet on all year — the Rams, the Pa­tri­ots and the Chiefs — they bet against for some rea­son this week­end,” said Ja­son Sim­bal, CG Tech­nol­ogy sports book direc­tor. “We needed the Pats pretty big. It’s so rare when we need them that it was nice be­ing able to root for them

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