Quick Links

49ers favored by Vegas books to win Super Bowl

201301201749641659985-p2.jpeg

49ers favored by Vegas books to win Super Bowl

LAS VEGAS (AP) Sports books in Las Vegas made the San Francisco 49ers a favorite in the Super Bowl over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night based on the team's solid record and popularity with sports fans.

Oddsmakers gave the 49ers an early 4 1/2-point handicap and put the total score at 49 points for the Feb. 3 game in New Orleans. This means gamblers who bet on the Niners will collect only if they win by a margin of victory surpassing 4 1/2 points.

In addition to betting on the victor, fans can put money on whether the total points scored during the game will fall short of or exceed oddsmakers' predictions.

Jay Kornegay, race and sports book director at The LVH casino, said his book made the 49ers a 4 1/2-point favorite and quickly moved the line to 4 points as bettors gambled on the Ravens.

``The 49ers have been a sexy team all year,'' he said. ``The Ravens don't get a lot of respect from the public, but that bandwagon is getting a lot more supporters as we speak.''

The 49ers beat the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC title game Sunday afternoon, rallying in the second half after falling behind by 17 points. The Ravens defeated the New England Patriots for the AFC championship later that night, with Joe Flacco throwing three touchdown passes in just over 10 minutes.

Oddsmaker Benjamin Eckstein of America's Line said he made the 49ers a 4 1/2-point favorite to encourage action on both teams.

``San Francisco is what we call a very public team because they've been very good over the past couple years, and people just like to bet on them,'' said Eckstein, who provides betting lines to more than 100 newspapers in the U.S. and Canada. ``The 49ers have done very well against the spread this year, so they've made people a lot of money.''

The Super Bowl is the most popular betting event of the year in Las Vegas.

Last year, sports books made the New England Patriots three-point favorites to win the Super Bowl over the New York Giants, but the Giants won 21-17. Fans bet $93.9 million at Nevada casinos on the matchup- the most wagered in the past decade- and sports books made $5 million on the action, according to data from the Gaming Control Board.

Oddmakers say average fans bet far more money on the Super Bowl than professional bettors - making conventional wisdom all-important in setting betting lines.

``The Super Bowl is the one game all year where the public's money dominates the action,'' Kornegay said. ``That's why we have to gear this line toward the public perception.''

Johnny Avello, director of race and sports at Wynn Las Vegas, opened the 49ers as 5-point favorites. He said he expected heavy betting with a competitive underdog and a sibling rivalry narrative inspired by brothers John and Jim Harbaugh coaching the two teams.

``Baltimore's kind of dangerous. And you've got two brothers playing against each other. It makes for a good matchup,'' he said.

Avello said he planned to spend Monday watching footage from past games and devising what he said will likely exceed 200 proposition bets.

---

Hannah Dreier can be reached athttp://twitter.com/hannahdreier .

Quick Links

Ravens already pumped for Monday night matchup against Patriots

Ravens already pumped for Monday night matchup against Patriots

The Ravens have already turned their attention to beating the Patriots.

It didn’t take long for the Ravens (7-5) to put their most impressive win of the season behind them. Minutes after whipping the Dolphins, 38-6, the Ravens were already talking about their next game, a Monday night matchup against the Patriots (10-2) in Foxborough, Mass. on Dec. 12.

Asked if the Patriots game would be a measuring stick for the Ravens, cornerback Jimmy Smith didn’t shy away.

“Definitely,” Smith said. “I would say even more than the Dallas game, especially because they (the Patriots) are in the AFC. That’s who you’ve got to go through to get where we want to go.”

RELATED: Flacco-Mornhinweg meeting helps Ravens unleash offense

There is no love between the Ravens and Patriots, but they love competing against each other. It’s a rivalry with a great history, but the Ravens and Patriots haven’t faced each other since the 2014 divisional playoffs. In that memorable game, the Ravens suffered a heartbreaking 35-31 loss, after twice leading the Patriots by 14 points.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is having another terrific season, and even without star tight end Rob Gronkowski (season-ending back injury), the Patriots have other formidable weapons like running back LeGarrette Blount (957 yards rushing), wide receiver Julian Edelman (72 catches) and tight end Martellus Bennett (four touchdown catches).

This upcoming matchup will have huge playoff implications, especially for the Ravens, who are in a far more precarious position than the Patriots. The Ravens still control their playoff destiny, but if they don’t win the AFC North, the door to the post-season could be slammed in their face.

“We don’t have any choice but to keep winning,” Smith said. “At 7-5, we have to play our best football now.”

Against the Dolphins, the Ravens played their best game of the season. But already, they are looking forward to seeing the Patriots.

“Now we have to go up into a hostile place that we really enjoy playing,” said Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco. “It’s going to be another important game up there on a Monday night, and it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to it, big time.”

MORE: Dennis Pitta relieved after his two-touchdown performance against the Dolphins

Quick Links

Ruth's Chris 5 Sizzling Stats: What decided Ravens-Dolphins

Ruth's Chris 5 Sizzling Stats: What decided Ravens-Dolphins

Here are 5 Sizzling Stats, brought to you by Ruth's Chris, that helped to decide Ravens-Dolphins. 

36 -- Number of completions by Joe Flacco, a franchise record. He completed 36 of 47 passes.

381 -- The number of passing yards for Flacco on the day, his highest total of the season.

6 -- The number of points scored by Miami’s offense, the lowest total to which Baltimore has held an opponent to this season. The Ravens held Cleveland to seven points on two separate occasions, both Baltimore wins.

2 -- Touchdown receptions for Dennis Pitta, marking his first score since Week 14 of 2013. It was his first multi-touchdown game since Dec. 2012.

61 -- Rushing yards by Miami’s Jay Ajayi. His rushing average was 5.1 yards per carry, but he only carried the ball 12 times because of Baltimore’s early (and large) lead.