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Las Vegas oddsmakers make Tom Brady favorite to return to Patriots

Tom Brady said it’s “pretty unlikely” he’ll retire after his final pass Saturday night resulted in a pick-six in the Patriots’ 20-13 playoff loss to the Titans.

The 42-year-old quarterback will become a free agent in March, a fact that has many pundits speculating whether the New England sports icon will play for another team next season.

The Los Angeles Chargers have been mentioned as a possible destination for the California native. But we asked four Las Vegas bookmakers for odds on Brady’s next move and all expect him to return to the Patriots for his 21st season.

“I would make the odds that he’ll play for the Patriots minus 500 or he’ll retire,” said Ed Salmons, Westgate sportsbook vice president of risk. “He’s not going to the Chargers. That whole talk is nonsense. If he’s going to play, it’s going to be with the Patriots.”

Sunset Station sportsbook director Chuck Esposito agrees.

“There’s no chance (he plays for another team). I’d make him a big favorite to come back to the Patriots,” he said. “I know other players like (Joe) Montana, (Peyton) Manning and (Brett) Favre all finished with other teams. But the relationship between (Patriots owner Bob) Kraft and Brady is different.

“I think they’ll give him a two- or three-year deal. Their defense is still really good. They just need to improve their skill position players.”

New England settled for a field goal after having first-and-goal at the 1 late in the first half. It was shut out in the second half as Tennessee, led by Derrick Henry’s 182 rushing yards, held on for the win as 5-point underdogs in one of the weeekend’s worst games for bettors.

Divisional lines

The Titans, who have won and covered eight of 11 games since Ryan Tannehill took over as QB, are 9½-point underdogs at Baltimore at 1:35 p.m. Saturday after the line opened at 10.

“These (divisional playoff) lines, we put them up early and the goal is to try to see how high you can go,” Salmons said. “You’re going to need the ‘dogs in these games. That’s just how it works.”

The 49ers are 6½-point favorites over the Vikings in the 5:15 p.m. Saturday game after the line opened at 7.

“There’s wiseguy action on the ‘dogs Saturday,” Salmons said. “They’re looking to bet the key numbers (of 7 and 10).”

The Chiefs opened as 8-point favorites over the Texans in the 12:05 p.m. Sunday game, but the line quickly moved to 9½. An MGM Resorts bettor placed a $110,000 straight bet on Kansas City.

“(Chiefs coach) Andy Reid’s record after a bye is phenomenal,” Esposito said.

Including playoffs, Reid’s teams are 22-4 straight up following a bye and 17-9 ATS.

The Packers are 4-point favorites over the Seahawks in the 3:40 p.m. Sunday game after the line opened at 3½.

“We were as low as 2½ in the room and as high as 4½,” Salmons said. “It’s because Seattle’s banged up and has back-to-back (weeks of) travel now to the East Coast, which is tough.

“Green Bay had a bye week, but it’s had such a low power rating this year, a lot of our guys don’t like Green Bay. But a lot don’t like Seattle as well.”

In the best Wild Card game for bettors, Seattle beat the Eagles 17-9 on Sunday after closing as 1-point underdogs.

The Vikings’ 26-20 upset of the Saints as 7-point underdogs Sunday — coupled with the game going under 49½ — was the biggest winner of the weekend for the books.

“That was the biggest game win of the year for us,” The Mirage sportsbook director Jeff Stoneback said.

Saints tease bettors

Bettors were all over the Saints on teasers, lowering the line to 1 or pick. New Orleans cost MGM bettors a $150,000 five-team teaser and a $100,000 two-team teaser.

“That’s a quarter million right there,” Stoneback said. “Teasers are always really tough for us in the playoffs because the numbers are so tight and there are only a couple games.”

Whale tale

Stoneback said another MGM Resorts bettor lost a total of $330,000 on the Patriots a few hours after winning a total of $400,000 on the Texans, who erased a 16-0 second-half deficit in a dramatic 19-16 overtime win over the Buffalo Bills.

Stoneback estimated the same gambler won almost $400,000 betting on a bevy of bowl games culminating on New Year’s Day.

“It was action-packed and stressful. Every game he had went down to the wire and could’ve gone either way,” he said. “He had a big winner on Oregon. He was in for about $800,000 on the Rose Bowl. It looked like he’d lose the whole thing and Wisconsin would win. But he pulled that out.

“Every game was very exhausting for me.”

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Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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