Covers talks about where the action is and where it might go with Aaron Kessler, sportsbook supervisor and oddsmaker for the Golden Nugget in downtown Las Vegas, and Scott Cooley, odds consultant for offshore sportsbook Bookmaker.eu.
New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons – Open: +3; Move: +3 (-105); Move: +3; Move: +3 (-105); Move: +3
It’s no surprise that New England (16-2 SU, 15-3 ATS) is seeing a little more cash than Atlanta (13-5 SU, 12-6 ATS) for Sunday’s clash in Houston, which kicks off at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time. But at the key number of 3, there still hasn’t been enough Patriots money to consider moving off that number, so the Golden Nugget – much like everywhere else – is just making modest adjustments to the price.
“We moved to Patriots -3 (-115) for quite a while,” Kessler said Friday afternoon, noting that price stuck for five days before going back to the standard rate of -110 on Monday afternoon. “We’re back at 3 flat right now, same as everyone else. We’re in a pretty good position. We want to stay where we’re at. We need the Falcons a little bit, nothing major. We’re not lopsided, just a little more money on the Patriots. But we won’t really know who we need until Sunday.”
That said, Kessler isn’t expecting a move off the key number.
“It’s hard to say, but I don’t really think it’s gonna come off 3. But I’ve been wrong before,” he said.
Bookmaker.eu has stayed on 3 as well, but has seen a little more fluctuation in the price and may be a little heavier on New England than the Golden Nugget. The Patriots’ price was as high as -115 and as low as even money, while Atlanta was as high as -120 and as low as -105. Currently, it’s Patriots -3 (-105)/Falcons +3 (-115).
“We’re still at almost 60 percent of the handle on New England, and 65 percent of the ticket count is tilted toward that side,” Cooley said. “The public is fairly divided as far as to which side they are on, and the majority of the sharps thus far are on Atlanta. It’s tough to tell, but there is probably a 30 to 40 percent chance we’ll move off the key number. It just depends where the wiseguys are when limits are raised to the next level Saturday.”
The total is set to go off at a Super Bowl-record high. The Golden Nugget opened at 58 on Jan. 22 and within a day was at 59, where the number remains today.
“We’re a little high on the over, but it’s still fairly early. Tomorrow is when we’ll really see the crowds start to come in,” Kessler said. “I think the sharps are mostly waiting and seeing what happens when the public comes in, then hit the under.”
Bookmaker.eu opened at 58.5, took a couple trips down to 58 but went back to 58.5 Thursday.
“The over is getting almost 75 percent of the total money, and all of the squares are on the over,” Cooley said, though he doesn’t think the total will go much higher over the weekend. “We don’t expect the total to reach 60.”
Patrick Everson is a Las Vegas-based senior writer for Covers. Follow him on Twitter: @Covers_Vegas.