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Sportsbooks ‘destroyed’ Sunday; lines set for conference title games

Updated January 29, 2024 - 6:48 pm

The road to Las Vegas for Super Bowl 58 will go through Baltimore and San Francisco, which are favored in their respective conference championships to set up a showdown in the NFL title game at Allegiant Stadium.

Bettors should have plenty of money to wager on the Chiefs-Ravens AFC matchup and Lions-49ers NFC game after beating up sportsbooks Sunday.

“We really got destroyed on parlays, teasers and straight bets. Pretty much across the board,” Westgate SuperBook vice president Jay Kornegay said. “We got crushed.”

Bettors won big on Kansas City — which beat the Bills 27-24 to cover as a 2½-point underdog and cash on the money line — and Detroit, which defeated the Buccaneers 31-23 to cover as a 6-point favorite.

“The Chiefs were a popular bet getting points, plus the price on the money line,” Red Rock Resort sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. “But really the overs on both games definitely hurt as well.

“And if you look at the last three games, teasers covered all scenarios, which really hurt.”

Kansas City held on for the win after Buffalo kicker Tyler Bass missed a potential tying 44-yard field goal with 1:47 left that went wide right. The kick was a painful reminder of Scott Norwood’s missed 47-yard field goal attempt that went wide right at the end of Buffalo’s 20-19 loss to the Giants in the 1991 Super Bowl.

Lions bettors, including many who laid 6½ points, held on for a cover after Baker Mayfield’s 2-point conversion pass to Mike Evans fell incomplete following Mayfield’s 16-yard touchdown pass to Evans that cut Tampa Bay’s deficit to 31-23.

Bettors didn’t fare as well Saturday as San Francisco barely escaped with a 24-21 comeback win over Green Bay and failed to cover after closing as a 10½-point favorite (the line was at 9½ and 10 most of the week). The game also stayed under the total of 50½.

“We had a great day (Saturday) with the Packers and under, but we gave that back plus some (Sunday),” Kornegay said.

Baltimore blanked Houston 24-0 in the second half en route to a 34-10 win and cover as a 10-point favorite. The game pushed the closing total of 44 after it was at 43½ most of the week.

AFC, NFC lines

The Ravens are consensus 3½-point home favorites over the Chiefs in the AFC championship at noon Sunday. The consensus total is 44½.

The 49ers are consensus 7-point home favorites over the Lions in the NFC title game at 3:30 p.m. Sunday. The consensus total is 51, up three points from a lookahead line at Caesars on Saturday.

“The Lions gave up 23 to the Buccaneers. That might have something to do with the total,” Caesars assistant director of trading Adam Pullen said. “I think the Lions have got a shot. They’re not going to be intimidated. It’s not like the Niners looked great, and throw in Deebo Samuel’s injury, I think it’s going to be a very competitive game.

“It wouldn’t be a surprise at all to me to see the Lions here in the Super Bowl in Vegas.”

San Francisco was -6½ at the South Point on Sunday night.

Books expect solid two-way action on Chiefs-Ravens, which features a compelling matchup of former NFL MVP quarterbacks in Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson and Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes — playing in his sixth straight AFC title game.

Station Casinos is the only book with the Ravens at -3 (-120).

“It’s hard to ever go against the Chiefs, as good as Andy Reid and Mahomes are,” Esposito said. “But I thought Baltimore’s defense looked the best of all the teams that played (Saturday) and (Sunday).”

Caesars lost on the Lions but broke even on the Chiefs despite paying out two winning wagers of $200,000 on Kansas City on the money line (+126, +130) and straight bets of $240,000 and $137,000 on the Chiefs +3.

“It’s the Chiefs,” Caesars vice president of trading Craig Mucklow said. “The Ravens are the best team in football, but the Chiefs are the dynasty right now. If you’re a Ravens fan, you’d rather see Buffalo.”

Esposito noted that the Lions-49ers game pits a former No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft in Detroit quarterback Jared Goff against the last pick in the draft, aka “Mr. Irrelevant,” in San Francisco quarterback Brock Purdy.

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

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