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Steady betting action still leans in Packers’ favor for Super Bowl

It almost seems it’s Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ destiny to win a Super Bowl in the same season that Brett Favre faded away.

A majority of bettors might be thinking that way, at least.

When the NFL season began, Favre’s comeback was the big story. Now at the end, it’s all about Rodgers and the Packers.

Green Bay remains a 2½-point favorite over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on Sunday, as Las Vegas sports books are seeing steady action tilted in the Packers’ favor.

“We’re still needing the Steelers,” MGM Resorts sports book director Jay Rood said.

A week ago, when almost all books were heavy on Green Bay money, Rood predicted late support for Pittsburgh would surface. The sides have become more balanced, he said, but a large percentage of the wagers will arrive today and Sunday.

The Nevada handle was $82.7 million for last year’s Super Bowl, far from the state-record $94.5 million bet on the 2006 game, which also involved the Steelers. The wagering pace of the past two weeks does not indicate the record could fall.

“It’s actually been kind of spooky slow the last couple days,” Rood said. “I’m hoping that’s due to the weather and travel plans being messed up as far as people getting here.”

Green Bay and Pittsburgh are two bet-on teams that are popular with the public, but some of the betting hesitation could be due to the matchup’s perplexity.

The Packers rewarded their backers late in the regular season and in three playoff games as Rodgers flashed a hot hand.

But flaws in the Steelers are just as hard to find, as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has won two Super Bowls and the Pittsburgh defense is as tough as any in the league.

“I’ve talked to a few friends and they’re torn on what to do. They’re usually pretty opinionated,” Rood said. “They’re having problems deciding which side they want to land on here. There’s a lot of that going around.”

If more Packers money arrives, Rood said, he’ll become more of a fan of Steelers safety Troy Polamalu. “I might have to go buy a Polamalu wig and wear it on Sunday,” he said.

MGM’s books, similar to most in Las Vegas, are offering Green Bay at minus-2½ (minus-120), with a total of 45. The money line is minus-145 on the Packers and plus-125 on Pittsburgh to win straight up.

South Point sports book director Bert Osborne moved his line from 2½ to 3 on Thursday afternoon, but it hit 3 only briefly because Steelers money flooded in at the key number. About 17 percent of NFL games landed on 3 this season.

“I’m not quite ready to do that,” Rood said of moving to 3. “We’re taking enough on Pittsburgh on the money line where I feel comfortable in the spot we’re in right now.”

Contact reporter Matt Youmans at myoumans@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2907.

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