NFL Playoff Lines

Dave Tuley's Vegas Beat

Monday December 31

LAS VEGAS – Sunday was a great day to watch pro football here in the sports books (but, hey, I don’t have to be provincial as it was a great day to watch it no matter where you were) as the NFL playoff berths fell into place.

The Texans lost 28-16 to the Colts in the early games to open the door for the Broncos to take home-field advantage in the AFC with the Patriots grabbing the other first-round bye while forcing the Texans to have to play an extra game this upcoming wild-card weekend.

In the NFC, the Bears won to eliminate the Giants but then the Vikings beat the Packers 37-34 to eliminate the Bears and grab the last-wild card spot while also knocking the Packers out of a first-round bye (and instead into a rematch in Green Bay this upcoming Saturday night). The 49ers took the second first-round bye with their 27-13 win over the Cardinals and join the Falcons with a week off. And the Redskins secured the last playoff berth with their 28-18 win over the Cowboys on Sunday night.

When all the dust (or recycled tire rubber) had settled, here were the adjusted future-book odds at the LVH –Las Vegas Hotel & Casinos (formerly the Las Vegas Hilton) with the Broncos and Patriots co-favorites at 5-2 to win the Super Bowl with the 49ers the top choice from the NFC at 9-2. The Seahawks are the co-fifth choice at 9-1 along with the Packers despite being a wild-card and having to go on the road. There’s a big drop-off to the Texans at 20-1.

ODDS TO WIN 2013 SUPER BOWL (courtesy of LVH SuperBook)
XLVII @ LOUISIANA SUPERDOME -- NEW ORLEANS, LA
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2013


Generic Super Bowl line: AFC -2.5 vs. NFC, over/under 51

BRONCOS 5-2
PATRIOTS 5-2
49ERS 9-2
FALCONS 6
PACKERS 9
SEAHAWKS 9
TEXANS 20
REDSKINS 25
RAVENS 25
BENGALS 50
VIKINGS 80
COLTS 100

2013 NFC CONFERENCE

49ERS 9-5
FALCONS 2
PACKERS 4
SEAHAWKS 4
REDSKINS 12
VIKINGS 40

2013 AFC CONFERENCE

BRONCOS 11-10
PATRIOTS 11-10
TEXANS 9
RAVENS 11
BENGALS 23
COLTS 45

Shortly after 3 p.m. Vegas time on Sunday (6 p.m. EST), when it was becoming clear that the Broncos and Patriots were indeed going to secure the top two seeds in the AFC, the sports books started posting lines on the AFC wild-card games. The Vikings-Packers line went up after their game was concluded, and the Seahawks-Redskins went up after the Skins’ game at night. Here’s how the early betting shaped the lines:

SATURDAY

Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans (-4.5, o/u 43.5)

4:30 p.m. EST/1:30 p.m. PST

This line opened Texans -5 both in Vegas and offshore. I saw as high as 5.5 and it went as low as 3.5 at one offshore book, but it quickly settled in the middle at 4.5. The LVH opened the total at 43.5 with some offshores at 44, but 43.5 was clearly the consensus by sunrise Monday.

Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (-8, o/u 46)

8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. PST

The LVH opened the Packers -7.5 but every other book in Vegas and most offshore books went with 8. As of Monday morning, the LVH was holding the line at 7.5 but the consensus was clearly 8 though some books employing the strategy of discouraging teaser play have moved it to 9 with huge vig to take the dog at that price. With very few exceptions, the over/under is looking solid at 46.

SUNDAY

Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens (-6.5, o/u 46.5)

1 p.m. EST/10 a.m. PST

This line opened Ravens -6.5 at most books and except for the MGM books in Vegas and some offshores going to 7 and charging a premium for those wanting to take the Colts +7, that’s pretty much where it has stayed. The over/under has also been solid at 46.5.

Seattle Seahawks (-2.5, o/u 45) at Washington Redskins

4:30 p.m. EST/1:30 p.m. PST

With the way the Seahawks ended the season, it was widely speculated that they could end up being the lone road favorite in the wild-card matchups. Some offshores went with pick-em and the William Hill books here in Nevada made the Seahawks a 1-point favorite, but it took just a matter of minutes to see that the money was flowing in on Seattle and the line went to 2 and then 2.5. As of Monday morning, we’re seeing some additional pressure that makes it look like this like will be 3 by the time this is posted at PredictionMachine.com. The total opened 44.5 at the LVH and 45 at most other books. It looked like it had settled at 45 but now with the line movement on the Seahawks we’re seeing this could also rise a half-point to 45.5.

Happy New Year’s to you and your family. Enjoy the full bowl schedule on Tuesday as well as the standalone games the rest of the week leading up to Monday’s BCS title game where the line has gone down from Alabama -10 to -9.5 vs. Notre Dame. See you next Monday on the “Vegas Beat” with a  recap of the wild-card games and a look ahead to the divisional playoff games.

Dave Tuley is an award-winning journalist who has covered the Las Vegas race & sports beat since 1998, first for the GamingToday newspaper in Vegas and has written for Daily Racing Form since 2000. Tuley started his own website, ViewFromVegas.com, in 2007 and has written for other websites, including ESPN.com. In 2006, he won "Best News Story" by the Professional Football Writers of America, the only time a gambling story has won a PFWA award. Tuley, 45, grew up in the Chicago suburbs and is married with children in Vegas. His roots can be seen in the names of his three children: daughters Jordyn and Peyton (named for Walter Payton, not Peyton Manning) and son Maddux. Dave can be followed on Twitter @ViewFromVegas.

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