Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers – Open: -4; Move: -4.5; Move: -4
With a Week 17 setback at San Francisco, Seattle lost a shot at a bye and home-field advantage this weekend, but still got the job done on Wild Card Weekend to advance. The fifth-seeded Seahawks (12-5 SU, 8-8-1 ATS) beat No. 4 Philadelphia 17-9 as 1-point road underdogs last Sunday.
No. 2 seed Green Bay enters this 6:40 p.m. ET kickoff on a five-game winning streak. In Week 17, the Packers (13-3 SU, 10-6 ATS) needed a win to lock up a bye and a home game this weekend, and they barely got it with a 23-20 victory over Detroit on a final-seconds field goal. The Pack fell well short of cashing as 13.5-point favorites.
“We went from 4.5 back to 4 off an $82,500 wager on Seahawks +4.5,” Shelton said of a Saturday night line move at The Mirage and other MGM books. “With that bet, we’re approaching 2/1 pointspread money on the Seahawks. Tickets are closer, 1.5/1 in favor of the Seahawks. There was professional play earlier on the Packers -4, and we went to -4.5 on that.”
Shelton couldn’t yet commit to what the book will need, because a large casino player who’s fired at will the past couple of weeks on bowl games and the NFL playoffs is likely to be involved today. That bettor put nearly $1.5 million in play on Saturday’s two playoff games and cleared nearly $700,000 in winnings.
“Right now, we need the home team,” Shelton said. “But we’re probably gonna need whomever that guy doesn’t bet.”
MGM books opened the total at 46, peaked at 47 and dialed back to 46 Saturday.
“That’s professional play on Under 47 and Under 46.5,” Shelton said. “They’re definitely playing the Under, and that’s weather-related.”
Indeed, it’s expected to be a frigid 21 degrees at kickoff, and it’ll feel like 15 degrees with the wind chill.
Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs – Open: -8; Move: -8.5; Move: -9.5; Move: -10
Houston put in some overtime on Wild Card Weekend to advance to this 3:05 p.m. ET AFC divisional clash. The fourth-seeded Texans (11-6 SU, 8-8-1 ATS) were held scoreless for nearly three quarters, falling behind No. 5 Buffalo 16-0, but rallied to tie it at 19. Deshaun Watson and Co. then squeaked out a 22-19 win and cover laying 2.5 points at home Jan. 4.
Kansas City finished the regular season with a flurry, going 6-0 SU and 5-0-1 ATS, nabbing the No. 2 seed and a bye after winning in Week 17 and seeing New England lose to Miami. The Chiefs (12-4 SU, 10-5-1 ATS) did their part by beating the Los Angeles Chargers 31-21, pushing as 10-point home favorites.
One regular MGM books bettor took the Chiefs -8 right out of the gate on the night of Jan. 4.
“He bet $110,000, and we went to -8.5,” Shelton said, noting an $80,000 bet on Chiefs -10 (+105) landed Saturday night. “The money is roughly 2/1 in favor of the Chiefs, but tickets are a lot closer. There are a couple hundred more tickets on the Chiefs, but a lot of tickets on both teams. We’re gonna need the Texans pretty good right now. But it could get flipped by that big bettor. He liked the Titans Saturday.”
Shelton said the total was seeing two-way play, opening at 49 and stretching to 52 by Saturday night before rebounding to 51. And thanks to the Titans’ upset of the Ravens, a ton of liability on the Chiefs got knocked out.
“We would’ve had serious exposure on moneyline parlays,” Shelton said. “Several-hundred thousand would be going to the Sunday games, but those parlays are already dead.”
Patrick Everson is a Las Vegas-based senior writer for Covers.com. Follow him on Twitter: @Covers_Vegas.