Not surprisingly, Patriots coach Bill Belichick downplayed the cut on Tom Brady’s throwing hand, which reportedly required 12 stitches, after the quarterback led New England to a 24-20 comeback win over the Jaguars in Sunday’s AFC championship.
“He’s a tough guy,” Belichick said. “But we’re not talking about open-heart surgery.”
A pair of William Hill sports book bettors weren’t raving about Brady or the Patriots, either, after losing two wagers on them as 7-point favorites that totaled $750,000.
One William Hill bettor lost a $250,000 wager he placed Saturday in Southern Nevada. Another lost a $500,000 bet he placed on Sunday at William Hill’s location at the Baha Mar Resort in the Bahamas.
It was that kind of day for bettors and that kind of day for the sports books, which won big as both underdogs covered on Championship Sunday and New England won but didn’t cover.
Underdogs 9-1 in playoffs
The Philadelphia Eagles whipped the Minnesota Vikings 38-7 in the NFC title game as 3-point home underdogs for the second consecutive week as ’dogs improved to 9-1 in the playoffs.
“We had the best day of the year for us,” Westgate sports book manager Ed Salmons said. “For a non-Super Bowl, it was one of the best days we’ve ever had.”
Two $25,000 futures tickets lose
The Westgate’s profits on Super Bowl futures helped make the day a big winner.
But it was a loser for the William Hill bettor who wagered $25,650 on Jacksonville on Saturday at 7-1 odds to win the Super Bowl and for the one who wagered $25,000 on the Vikings on Jan. 10 at 13-4 odds to win the NFL title.
Wynn Las Vegas bettor’s big day
It was an amazing day for the Wynn Las Vegas sports book bettor who swept the board, winning all four of his six-figure wagers on Jacksonville, the Jaguars-Patriots under (45½) and on the Eagles in the first half and the game.
“It’s hard to overcome that,” Wynn Las Vegas sports book director Johnny Avello said. “The ’dogs are doing great in the NFL, but our big players play ’dogs.”
The Jaguars led 14-3 in the first half and 20-10 with less than nine minutes left before Brady rallied the Patriots with two touchdown passes to Danny Amendola, who caught the game-winner on a toe-tapping catch in the back of the end zone with 2:48 left. But the cover was never in doubt for Jacksonville, which closed as a 7½- to 8-point underdog.
Minnesota took a 7-0 lead on its opening drive at Philadelphia, but Case Keenum threw a pick-six on its next possession and the Vikings never recovered.
Nick Foles was sensational, throwing for 352 yards and three touchdowns to send the Eagles to their third Super Bowl and first since 2005, when they lost 24-21 to the Patriots.
Super Bowl line
New England opened as a 5½-point favorite over Philadelphia and the total is 48. William Hill opened the Pats as a 5-point favorite while Wynn Las Vegas opened them as 6½-point favorites before it was promptly bet down to 6.
“We took quite a bit of money at plus-6½,” Avello said. “It was all wiseguys because we were probably the only 6½. They just kept betting it. They were probably arbitraging it.”
The Patriots are minus-230 on the money line and the Eagles are plus-195.
New England is in its eighth Super Bowl with Belichick and Brady and can join the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2) as the only teams with six Super Bowl titles with a win.
The Patriots erased a 28-3 third-quarter deficit en route to a 34-28 overtime comeback win over Atlanta in Super Bowl LI.
Pats play close Super Bowls
That six-point win was New England’s largest margin of victory in its previous seven appearances. The other six were decided by four points or fewer.
Salmons and Bogdanovich both expect a close game.
“There’s no reason it shouldn’t be,” Bogdanovich said. “I know who has the better defense and that’s Philadelphia. If Foles plays like this, there’s no reason (the Eagles) aren’t going to be around.”
Record handle expected
MGM Resorts sports book director Jay Rood said he expects an incredible betting handle on the game and a large influx of visitors from the fan bases.
“Philadelphia fans are going to want to get out of the cold and they’re not going to go to another cold venue,” he said. “I expect them to hop on a plane and come to Vegas. Minnesota probably won’t be the most welcoming environment after (Sunday).”