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Early money favors New England over Seattle; line quickly adjusted to pick ’em for Super Bowl 49

Patriots Advance to Sixth Super Bowl

Matt Slocum / AP

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick holds the championship trophy after the AFC Championship game Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015, in Foxborough, Mass. The Patriots defeated the Indianapolis Colts 45-7 to advance to Super Bowl 49 against the Seattle Seahawks.

Updated Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015 | 7:41 p.m.

The early money in Las Vegas is being bet on the New England Patriots.

Within 30 minutes tonight of the betting number being posted for Super Bowl 49, and while New England was still putting the finishes touches on its blowout win against Indianapolis in the AFC Championship game, the line moved from the Patriots being a 2.5-point underdog against the Seattle Seahawks to the game being a pick'em.

More line movements will surely follow before the Feb. 1 game at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.

Defending Super Bowl champion Seattle opened as 2.5-point betting favorites at Westgate Las Vegas Superbook. Last year, Seattle closed as a 2.5-point underdog against the Denver, but won the franchise first’s championship with a 43-8 victory.

The over-under is 48.5.

The line was released late in the third quarter of the AFC Championship game with New England leading by five touchdowns. CG Technology also had Seattle minus-2.5, but has adjusted to a pick 'em.

“From the beginning of time, people bet what they see last,” said veteran bookmaker Nick Bogdanovich, the William Hill US Director of Trading. “Tonight, that was New England looking really good, and Seattle the luckiest team in the world to be there.”

Seattle, who rallied to beat Green Bay in overtime today to win the NFC Championship and punch its ticket to the Super Bowl, is playing to become the first back-to-back Super Bowl champions since New England in 2005.

While Tom Brady’s Patriots are making their sixth Super Bowl appearance since 2002, they haven’t won the big game since defeating Philadelphia in 2005 for their second straight title. They lost to the New York Giants in the 2012 and 2008 games, falling as 12-point favorites in 2008 when the Super Bowl was also played in Glendale.

Click to enlarge photo

Seattle Seahawks' Jermaine Kearse celebrates after catching the game-winning touchdown during overtime of the NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015, in Seattle. The Seahawks won 28-22 to advance to Super Bowl XLIX.

That result started a trend in Las Vegas of the underdog covering the spread. In six of the past seven Super Bowl games, the underdog has covered. Four times it has won straight up.

A record $119.4 million was wagered on last year’s game in Nevada, partially because of the matchup — Peyton Manning was an attractive draw for the recreational bettors — and also because the Southern Nevada economy found its way out of a recession.

With most of the money wagered on Manning, books profited a record $19.7 million last year. The previous best was $15.4 million in 2005.

Establishing a new wagering records will have to be accomplished without popular money line wagers.

"When the game is at a pick'em that takes the money line out of play," Bogdanovich said. "Money line is huge action, whether it's laying big money with the favorite or taking the underdog."

Seattle opened at 5-to-1 last February to win the Super Bowl at William Hill US. It had New England at 10-to-1. At one point during the season, the future odds for both dropped to 12-to-1.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 702-990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at

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