Patriots a slight favourite over Rams in early Super Bowl odds

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) celebrates a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs. (Jeff Roberson/AP)

LAS VEGAS — Oddsmakers made the Super Bowl essentially a tossup in opening lines Sunday, though bettors quickly turned the New England Patriots into a slight favourite in what is expected to be the most heavily bet — at least legally — title game ever.

Early bets moved the line at many books so the Patriots were either one- or two-point favourites. The over-under was 58 at some books, 58.5 at others.

Bettors pounced on early lines at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook and William Hill chain that opened with the game as a tossup or the Rams a 1-point favourite. The early bets moved the line at most books in favour of the Patriots.

The Station Casinos chain opened the Patriots as a one-point pick, and it went to two points in early betting. Oddsmakers adjust betting lines to try and balance their action on both sides.

The rare disagreement among bookmakers came after two overtime conference championship games that drew heavy action in this city’s sports books.

The first Super Bowl since sports betting became legal outside Nevada is expected to draw record action in Nevada, and should blow past last year’s $158.6 million — itself a record — when the bets are tallied from a handful of states that now have sports betting.

Bookies wasted no time setting the line as the final seconds ticked off in New England’s dramatic win over Kansas City. Bettors then wasted no time testing the opinion of oddsmakers at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook as they went to the window to get down the first Super Bowl bets with the Rams initially listed as a one-point favourite.

"It’s just been electric," Westgate oddsmaker Jay Kornegay said. "We certainly expect to set a new record this year."

The point spread will likely fluctuate around the city in upcoming days as big bettors make their moves.

Nevada sports books won only 0.7 per cent of the last year’s handle for $1.17 million to narrowly avoid losing money on the Super Bowl for the third time in 28 years.

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