After several days of erratic line movement in sports betting, the points spread on the AFC Championship Game had settled Friday morning with the Kansas City Chiefs listed as a consensus favorite by 1.5 points over the Cincinnati Bengals.
Kansas City went from favorite to underdog and back to favorite over the course of the week, with each update on Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ ankle injury triggering cash rushes on one or the other. other teams in sports betting. Mahomes, who was diagnosed with a sprained ankle in Saturday’s division win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, was listed as a full participant in practice this week.
«I feel like I can still do a lot, but we’ll see as we get closer and closer,» Mahomes said Thursday. «We’ll see during the game. You can’t do exactly what it’s going to be like in those moments of the game. All I can do is prepare myself in the best way possible, and then when we go into the game, you hope the adrenaline kicks in and you can make those throws when you need to.»
The Bengals, who opened up to a 3-point underdog, drew most of the action early in the week. The SuperBook said only two bets were taken on the Chiefs in the first two hours after the line was posted on Sunday, which made the Bengals quickly become the betting favorite.
Cincinnati became a 3-point favorite, albeit briefly, Tuesday at Caesars Sportsbook in Nevada. Caesars moved the Bengals to -3 for about five minutes on Tuesday afternoon before quickly bringing them down to -2.5.
Max Meyer, editorial content writer for Caesars Sportsbook, told CBS Sports that the move to the Bengals -3 was «just to test the waters.»
«The waters have certainly been tested, as a lot of sharp action [on the Chiefs] came in at +3,» Meyer told the network.
Chris Andrews, a former Las Vegas bettor and director of sports betting at South Point Casino, said he also saw increased interest in the Chiefs from bettors on Tuesday.
«I remember saying [Tuesday] that there had to be some sort of relationship that [Mahomes] looks pretty good,» Andrews told ESPN on Thursday. «Yesterday they showed this clip and it seemed to be doing well, and the floodgates opened after that.»
The point spread remained mostly around -1 and -2, with either team favored for much of the week. Over the past five seasons, including the playoffs, 9% of games have ended with a winning margin of less than three, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
The Chiefs have been favored in 14 straight playoff games, the longest such streak in the Super Bowl era.
In the NFC Championship Game, the Philadelphia Eagles were a growing 2.5-point favorite over the San Francisco 49ers on Friday.
«We could get to [Eagles] -3,» Andrews said. «I think there’s a good chance it will happen, but I also think if we get to 3, the 49ers guys will step in right away.»