Vegas books aren’t waiting for another New England Patriots blowout loss to cause them more sleepless nights, so ahead of their AFC championship game against the Baltimore Ravens, the books, led by the LVH SuperBook, has posted the mighty Pats as a 10-point favorite in Foxborough over the weekend. Other books opened their lines at -9.5 with some even going to -9, an interesting number given that from the standpoint of Linemakers’ power rating, the Pats should only be, at the most, a 7.5-point favorite.
The rather inflated line seemed to have work with the early bets as initial money was plopped on the Ravens, causing that 10-point line to be moved down to 9.5 points.
That number really is worth some serious double-take considering that the Ravens have traditionally played the Patriots, whether the game is in New England or in Baltimore. Recent history has also been on the underdog’s side after the Ravens came within a dropped pass of beating the Patriots in Foxborough. And then there’s that controversial game earlier this year when the Ravens beat the Patriots, 31-30, on a last-second field goal that may or may not have counted. Give thanks to the replacement refs on that one.
Sure, the Patriots handled their business last week against the Houston Texans, covering a similar 9.5-point spread. But the Ravens offer a different set of fits for New England who will be without star tight end Rob Gronkowski. Curious line, to say the least, but one that can definitely swing either way depending on how bettors feel about Baltimore’s impressive run of late.
Over on the other conference, the San Francisco 49ers, fresh off of a dismantling of the Green Bay Packers, were initially penciled in as a 3-point favorite when they travel to the ATL. But that number quickly fluctuated, eventually settling on -4 after early money came in on the Atlanta Falcons, who, by the way, will be hosting the game in the Georgia Dome. The line isn’t all that surprising considering the kind of smack down the 49ers put on the Packers, in large part to the showcase performance quarterback Colin Kaepernick put on against the high-powered Packers. Combine that with the fragility and inconsistent play of the Falcons and the line seems right on the dot.
Nevertheless, both lines are still expected to move before kick-off this weekend, with small bets potentially accounting for the early sharp money that was already plopped down, forcing adjustments on both sides of the ledger. But as it is now, we’re thinking that the Pats-Ravens line could even drop to that 7.5 line with more Ravens money coming in during the week. As for the Niners-Falcons game, 4 seems to be a logical number and if there’s movement either way, we’re pegging a swing of just a half-point on either side.