Patriots vs Chiefs : No. 2 seed New England is in the rare role of playoff underdog for the later of the two conference title clashes, with a 6:40 p.m. ET kickoff. In the divisional round, the Patriots (12-5 SU, 10-7 ATS) rolled to a massive 35-7 halftime lead against the Los Angeles Chargers and eased to a 41-28 victory laying 3.5 points at home.
Likewise, No. 1 seed Kansas City had little trouble in the divisional round. The Chiefs (13-4 SU, 10-6-1 ATS) built a 24-7 halftime advantage against Indianapolis en route to a 31-13 victory as 4-point home favorites.
These two teams had a memorable mid-October meeting, with New England winning a shootout 43-40 as 3.5-point home chalk.
MGM sportsbooks, including The Mirage, have taken monster bets on both sides: a $500,000 wager Friday night on Patriots moneyline at +750; and one player spreading $470,000 over four wagers on the Chiefs -3, at prices ranging from -110 to -120, with the latest $120,000 coming in Saturday night. That hiked the price to -125.
“With the Chiefs on the pointspread, we’re a mid-six-figure loser, and with the Patriots on the moneyline, we’re a mid-six-figure loser,” Shelton said. “We can’t lose both of those, but we have a chance to win both.”
That would require a Chiefs win and a Patriots cover, of course. Shelton said another bettor also came in Friday night with a $170,000 moneyline bet on the Chiefs at -170, and a $100,000 play on K.C. to win the Super Bowl at +240.
Not to be forgotten, the total opened at 57 and dipped to 55 on weather concerns, before rebounding to 56.
“We’re a low-six-figure loser to the Under, believe it or not. It’s because of the weather, but the weather is looking better, so we’re apt to take some Over money now,” Shelton said.
NFC Championship Game
Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints – Open: -3; Move: -3.5; Move: -3
New Orleans is the No. 1 seed in the NFC, but hasn’t seen much pointspread success of late, dropping four in a row and five of six against the oddsmakers. The Saints (14-3 SU, 10-7 ATS) climbed out of a 14-0 first-quarter hole against Philadelphia in the divisional round, holding the Eagles scoreless the rest of the way in a 20-14 victory as 8.5-point home faves.
No. 2 seed Los Angeles grinded its way into this 3:05 p.m. ET meeting for the NFC crown. Behind running backs Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson, the Rams (14-3 SU, 8-8-1 ATS) racked up 273 rushing yards against No. 4 Dallas in a 30-22 win giving 7.5 points at home.
These two teams also met in the regular season, with the Saints claiming a 45-35 Week 9 victory as 1.5-point home underdogs.
The same bettor who took the Patriots for $500,000 on the moneyline also took Over 57 in this contest for another $500,000, the largest bet MGM books have ever seen on a total. And a separate bettor put $125,000 on the Over late Saturday night, moving the total to 57.5.
“We need the Under,” Shelton said, though MGM books did get a little help with a low-6-figure bet on Under 57.5. “If we get the Under, we cut down the nets on that game. If it goes Over, we get our heads kicked in. We can’t get bailed out by either side.”
Pointspread and moneyline action for Rams-Saints isn’t quite as thrilling as it is in the AFC title tilt.
“This game is boring by comparison,” Shelton said. “I’ve never seen a ticket count and money count so close on the pointspread. Right now, the worst-case scenario is the Saints winning by 3.”
That would also mean the Saints continue to weigh heavy on MGM books, as the largest remaining Super Bowl futures liability.
“We’d like to get rid of the Saints. We’re a seven-figure loser to them in Mississippi,” Shelton said, noting the Rams outright and the Under would be a major winner for MGM.