Friday, January 22, 2010

AFC-NFC Championship Game Line Moves From Las Vegas

by Micah Roberts

Action has been good thus far in Las Vegas Sports Books for this weekends Championship games, but the sharp money hasn’t shown its hand yet. Most of the action coming in has been small money from the public with a wide array of opinions.

Ticket counts at a few different properties indicate the type of betting patterns and action that will magnify about 90% more over the weekend, but it’s a good sample ratio of what’s to come, minus the sharp money.

The Colts are trending at about a 9-to-5 edge in overall tickets written. Some books are reporting that this game is similar to what we see every year in the Super Bowl, laying the points with the favorite and taking the money line with the 'dog.

Over at the Las Vegas Hilton, they opened the game Sunday with the Colts a 7-point favorite and a standard money line of Colts minus-330 with a very generous take back of plus-270. As the game moved to 7 ½, so did the money line, peaking at -400/+330.

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Here's a few tidbits of past history regarding the Championship games:

Since 1970, 62% of all games (78) have been won by 11 points or more showing that when it comes down to all the marbles, one team goes for the throat while the other plays beneath the level that got them there.

In reference to Championship game points spreads and how those teams have finished that are similar to this weeks lines, you can see that the Colts have history on their side, not just winning, but covering the spread as well. Teams that were favored by 7 to 9.5-points are 14-4 against the spread.

Things are a little more competitive with the Vikings-Saints game, and how history relates to that spread. Teams that have been have been favored by 3.5 to 6.5-points in this round have gone 12-12-2 against the spread. The tightness of the number and team rating, minus the standard 3-point home-field advantage, basically make these pick 'em games.

In New Orleans case, the home field advantage -- one of the leagues better home edges -- is worth an extra half-point. So essentially the game is a tossup between the two best teams in the NFC, being played in a hostile environment. The big questions is, how much of a difference will the crowd make?

Overall, home teams vs the spread are 44-32-2 all-time. 

Current Line Through Friday Afternoon offered by the Las Vegas Hilton SuperBook
Minnesota Vikings +3.5 @ New Orleans Saints - Over/Under Total 52
New York Jets +7.5 @ Indianapolis Colts - O/U Total 39.5

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