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CONFERENCE ROUND BETTING REVIEW
Conference Round Best Bets: 0-2 (-4.8 units)
Season Best Bet Record: 88-75 (+17.37 units) 54%
Betting Predators All Time Best Bet Record: 158-124 (+31.64 units) 56%
KC +7.5 / SF +8.5 (LOSS)
This game was blown up by San Fran’s quarterback injuries. Once Brock Purdy went down, we were behind the proverbial 8 ball. When Josh Johnson got hurt, we were drawing dead. Without a player on the active roster that could throw the ball, the 49ers had no means of matriculating the ball down the field. The Eagles did what they did best and leaned on the weaker team with the lead, busting our teaser before it even started.
CIN to Score 1st (LOSS)
The big handicap with CIN to score first was the fact that we anticipated them getting the opening kickoff. Once they did, we were live…for 2 minutes and 49 seconds. The Bengals had 5 plays on their opening possession for a total of 4 yards and were forced to punt. The Chiefs were able to get into field goal range and kick a 43 yard field goal to put the first points of the game on the board. In doing so, they killed our 2nd bet of the weekend and buried our most profitable angle of the season.
Early Super Bowl Thoughts
There was significant action on the openers at the conclusion of the AFC Conference Championship game. Several respected and leading indicator books saw their opening numbers of KC -2.5 and their total of 51 move out from underneath them due to a barrage of Philadelphia and under money. PHI -2.5 flashed for a bit before it was met with some resistance. The total crashed down to 49.5 but bottomed out there. Within a few minutes, the entire market seemed to settle at PHI -2 and a total straddling 49.5 and 50.
Why did some of the world's best NFL oddsmakers post such a “bad” opener? I quote "bad" because I’m not sure the first few minutes and limit bets truly matter to their bottom line in the grand scheme of things. The amount of money wagered will be a drop in the bucket come Super Bowl Sunday. So much of the opening action is merely price discovery, a means of taking the least amount of money to find the consensus market line. Ideally, the opener would match the market line, unless the sportsbook is willing to take a position.
Circa, a well respected sportsbook that takes five dimes on openers, opened KC -2.5 and 51. Can their opinion really be that off the market? I don’t think this is an easy question to answer. A vast majority of the immediate bets on Sunday night came from professional sports bettors, so we can assume it was sharp action. It is easy to see why. The Eagles were absolutely dominant again and have now outscored their postseason opponents 69-14. The Chiefs, a team held together by band-aids and athletic tape, narrowly stole a victory from the Bengals in a game many felt was heavily influenced by the refs. With Mahomes hobbled, Kelce fighting back spasms and only one wide receiver truly healthy, the Chiefs offense is decimated with injuries. There are legitimate concerns the offense will put up points with all of their ailments. I believe the overwhelming rash of KC’s injuries and the recent stellar play by the Eagles is why this number moved to PHI -2, but I don’t believe it is going to stay there.
After the divisional round, the Bengals saw money out of the gate. To no one’s surprise, the market reacted to the Mahomes ankle injury. After all, KC without Mahomes probably isn’t a playoff team. Eventually reports surfaced that he would play and practice, and the line started to shift back to KC. When KC’s head coach, Andy Reid, stated his injury wasn’t as bad as the one in 2019, KC became the favorite. This scenario seems eerily similar to the one we are currently in. Except this week, Mahomes and company have two weeks to get healthy.
The further we get away from the Conference Championship Round, the more this line leaks toward KC. With the leading indicator books showing KC support, I think we see a flipped favorite by game day.
By Steve Rieder
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