Mahomes injury impacts odds

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Patrick Mahomes missed the fourth quarter of the Chiefs’ 22-17 Divisional playoff win Sunday against the Browns and is still in concussion protocol heading into next week’s AFC Championship game against the visiting Bills.

Circa Sports tweeted out they opened the Bills -1, kind of a Mahomes half-in number. The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook opened the Chiefs -2.5 after initially stating -4 would be the opener before he was hurt. 

Backup QB Chad Henne made his first playoff pass attempt of his 13-year career and did just enough to run the clock out late — Browns cover +7.5 after being as high as +10.5. But Henne is no Mahomes. What’s Mahomes worth to the number? Is it 7 points, just below Aaron Rodgers?

South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews rated Mahomes’ value at 5 points. Las Vegas oddsmaker Kenny White says he’s worth 9 points, which would be higher than Rodgers. I’m in the middle.

What if Mahomes isn’t cleared to play? It’s out of the hands of the NFL and Chiefs now. It is a possibility and the notion should scare every bookmaker this week. It’s babysitting the injury news time again, the championship version. William Hill’s sportsbooks didn’t seem bothered much by it as they have the Chiefs as +200 favorites to win the Super Bowl followed by the Packers (+225), Bills (+300) and Buccaneers (+400).

The first thing that comes to mind when looking at those four teams is all the star quarterbacks playing. Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Mahomes, and Josh Allen, who is obviously the low man on the totem pole here, but it’s this week that can help put him in a higher category. Defensive linemen literally bounce off this oak tree Allen. These are the moments where legacies are born.

Could you imagine Allen finally giving Buffalo a Super Bowl after four previous losses in the ’90s? Or how about Brady winning the Super Bowl on his home field in Tampa? He’s playing in his 14th championship game. Both Rodgers and Mahomes will be fighting for their right to win their second Super Bowl. It’s the Final Four in the NFL and it’s the best show on TV.

The NFL gave us all what we wanted with the top two seeds advancing in the AFC, and Brady playing for a chance at making the Super Bowl at No. 1 seeded Green Bay.

Flashback: The Packers (-3) were up 10-0 in Week 5 at Tampa and then Rodgers got rattled and the Bucs went on a 38-0 run. Darndest thing I’ve ever seen with Rodgers.

The SuperBook opened the Packers Sunday night as 3.5-point favorites against the Bucs, who have now won six straight games. It’s supposed to be 20-something degrees at Lambeau Field on Sunday with a 33% chance of precipitation.

It was the Packers who helped bettors the most in the Divisional round with William Hill books having 81% of the money on them, the highest disparity among all four games over the weekend. Same thing at Station Casinos as well.

“The Packers were by far our most lopsided game of the weekend,” said Station’s sportsbook director Jason McCormick.

The Packers dominated the Rams No. 1 defense, 32-18. It was also the top leg in most teaser bets. The leading two-team teaser was Packers to Chiefs which cashed.

“We got crushed yesterday (Saturday) with both favorites covering,” said Nevada BetMGM director Jeff Stoneback of the Packers and Bills wins. “Everyone seemed to have the Packers. We had a 4-to-1 ticket count on the Packers.”

Sunday’s games featured the most fun line move of the weekend with the Chiefs line dropping from as high as -10.5 (BetMGM) to as low as -7.5 (Circa).

“We got a lot of sharp play on the Browns, but we had our big player on the Chiefs so it turned out to be a good game for us,” Stoneback said. “But we can give it all back if it comes Saints to the over.”

The Saints would lose, 30-20, at home to Brady and the Bucs in what is likely Drew Brees’ last game.

“The perfect outcome for us,” said Atlantis Reno sportsbook director Marc Nelson after the game. He said he had lots of Saints liability and teaser risk.

Both of Sunday’s games went 3-1 on teasers and Saturday was 5-2 with one of the sides pushing a 7-point teaser in the Rams loss. Three of the games stayed under, both favorites covered Saturday and both dogs covered Sunday.

The Bills come into Sunday’s game riding an eight-game win streak and covering the spread in nine of their last 10 games, I have them rated a full point lower than the Chiefs with Mahomes, and let’s give Arrowhead Stadium a value worth 1.5-points with fans. So 2.5 looks like a good number as the Chiefs are now 1-8 ATS in their last nine games.

Flashback: In Week 6, the Chiefs (-5.5) won 26-17 at Buffalo with Allen playing with an injured shoulder.

My favorite scenario would be Buffalo winning the whole thing. Four Super Bowl losses, a charitable and likable fan base, and a beast of a quarterback running an offense no one can stop the last two months

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