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Sharp bettors weigh in quickly on Super Bowl; two 6-figure wagers

Patrick Mahomes needed all of his magic to help send the Chiefs to their third Super Bowl in four years.

But sharp bettors don’t believe in magic. They’re banking on the Philadelphia Eagles to beat Kansas City in Super Bowl LVII for the franchise’s second NFL title in six years.

Less than 30 minutes after the Super Bowl line opened at pick’em at multiple sportsbooks, the Eagles emerged as consensus 1½-point favorites. Thirty minutes later, Philadelphia was up to -2½ at the Westgate SuperBook, BetMGM and Circa Sports, which opened the Chiefs -2½ before quickly flipping the favorite.

“I won’t be surprised if it goes to 3,” SuperBook vice president Jay Kornegay said. “We wanted to favor the Philadelphia side a bit just due to the injuries Kansas City is dealing with. I think Philadelphia is better and healthier.”

BetMGM took a $135,000 wager to win $100,000 on the Eagles on the money line (-135), and Caesars took a $110,000 bet on over the consensus total of 49½.

Caesars also took five straight bets of more than $50,000 — two on the Chiefs at pick’em and three on the Eagles -1.

“We had this as a tossup before. I’m a little surprised how the market swung so heavily to the Eagles,” Caesars assistant director of trading Adam Pullen said. “It’s all Eagles now. I guess they’re getting a lot of mileage out of their performance (Sunday).”

Philly special

Philadelphia whipped San Francisco 31-7 in the NFC title game, easily covering as a 2½-point favorite against a 49ers team that lost starting quarterback Brock Purdy to an elbow injury on their first possession and later lost fourth-string quarterback Josh Johnson to a concussion.

“The writing was on the wall when Purdy got injured,” Caesars vice president of trading Craig Mucklow said. “That was definitely a good result for the betting public. They were all over Philadelphia and the under.

“And once you see a starting quarterback go out, it’s one-way traffic on the in-play (wagering) as well.”

Las Vegas books won on futures as the 49ers, their largest Super Bowl liability, were eliminated.

“So we’ll take a short-term loss for the long-term gain,” Mucklow said. “That was our best outcome, a Chiefs-Eagles final.”

San Francisco fans and bettors can only wonder what might’ve been if coach Kyle Shanahan had thrown a challenge flag on Philadelphia’s opening TD drive when DeVonta Smith caught a 29-yard pass on fourth-and-3. Replays showed the ball hit the ground.

“I’m really surprised the 49ers didn’t question that,” Kornegay said. “Smith was telling the whole world he didn’t catch it.”

The game stayed under the total of 44½.

Bengals or bust

The betting public lost big on the Bengals, who were a popular pick as 1½-point underdogs after the line moved frequently during the week because of uncertainty surrounding Mahomes’ high ankle sprain.

Cincinnati rallied from 13-3 and 20-13 deficits to tie the thrilling AFC title game rematch before Kansas City took over at midfield with 30 seconds left.

Mahomes was missing three wide receivers to injuries and limping himself when he took off running on third-and-4. After barely gaining the first down, he was headed out of bounds when he took a late hit by Joseph Ossai. The 15-yard penalty set up Harrison Butker’s 45-yard field goal that lifted the Chiefs to a dramatic 23-20 win and cover.

The game also stayed under the total of 48½, much to the chagrin of most bettors, with the notable exception of a BetMGM gambler who won $1 million on under 49 (-120).

“Both outcomes were good for our side of the counter,” Red Rock Resort sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. “Keeping the Kansas City-Cincinnati game under was crucial.”

MGM Resorts director of trading Lamarr Mitchell said the book in Nevada won seven figures on the conference championships, most of it on the AFC.

Super handle

Books anticipate another massive amount of money wagered on the matchup of the NFL’s two highest-scoring teams after shattering the state record for Super Bowl betting handle last year with $179.8 million in wagers.

“It’s a great matchup,” Kornegay said. “With the Super Bowl being played in Arizona, basically down the street from us, we’re expecting a lot of Super Bowl attendees to possibly run through Vegas before they get to Glendale.”

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

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