LAS VEGAS — This is the fifth Super Bowl in which DraftKings has been conducting business, and Johnny Avello pointed to a simple reason as to why this one should top every previous iteration in handle, or gross money wagered.
“I like the way everything lines up in Arizona,” said the Las Vegas-based director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, which operates in 22 states.
With the rapid expansion of legal sports betting, record national handle for this year’s Super Bowl appears to be a no-brainer.
“Arizona is a [legalized] betting state, Philly is in a betting state, and Kansas is a betting state now,” Avello continued. We haven’t had that kind of lineup before. Mostly all the venues have been non-betting states, and all the teams in it have been non-betting states. So this lines up pretty well for me.”
However, as the late Meat Loaf sang, two outta three ain’t bad.
Forgive Avello a bit more than six miles, the distance from GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., to the Kansas state line.
Sports betting has not been legalized in Missouri, but it might be in play this calendar year. The Sunflower State legalized it in May.
Avello laughed at the idea of this Super Bowl nearly pulling off The Big Trifecta.
“I don’t know about that, but I like it. We’ll see how it works out, but I like what I’m seeing, as far as having all these things go our way.”
Early Super Bowl Betting Action
Avello saw the line on Super Bowl 57 open favoring the Kansas City Chiefs by about a point and a half, and it didn’t take much time for it to flip around to the Philadelphia Eagles by about a point and a half.
The Eagles are -125 on the DraftKings moneyline, and the Chiefs are +105.
Here are current odds from the best legal US sportsbooks for Chiefs vs. Eagles in Super Bowl 57.
NFL · Sun (2/12) @ 6:35pm ET
|State Farm Stadium, Glendale, AZ
Super Bowl Line Jumps the Fence in Light of Chiefs’ Injuries
Avello owed the flip in favorites to perceived roster strengths.
“People have different opinions on the Super Bowl line, what it should be, and why it should be what it is,” Avello said. “I think some of that early movement was based on the Chiefs’ roster.”
Cornerback L’Jarius Sneed (concussion protocol) played only four snaps in the AFC title game against the Cincinnati Bengals after recording six solo tackles and assisting on three others a week earlier against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Receivers Mecole Hardman (pelvis), JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee), and Justin Watson (illness), linebackers Willie Gay Jr. (toe) and Nick Bolton (ankle), and tailback Jerick McKinnon (ankle) are all dinged — to various degrees.
Tight end Travis Kelce supposedly has a tweaked back, and the day before the Bengals game, it had been reported that he might miss the AFC Championship Game.
But, voilà, he was pretty good against Cincinnati, catching seven of eight targeted passes for 78 yards and one touchdown. He had snatched two scoring receptions against the Jaguars after going six games without a TD catch.
Not bad for someone with an alleged sore back.
And then there’s quarterback Patrick Mahomes (Super Bowl 57 MVP odds), whose right ankle continued to visibly hobble him against Cincinnati. Still, he threw for 326 yards and two TDs.
In his past six games, Mahones has 12 touchdown passes and, of 210 throws, only one interception.
“Philly is more at full strength,” Avello said. “And I think some of the bettors thought that Philadelphia was, overall, maybe a stronger team in the power ratings and has had an easier time of it.
“The Eagles certainly didn’t have to exert as much energy as [Kansas City] did to win a game.”
Philadelphia leads the NFL with an average scoring margin of +9.9 points, which is 20.3 over its past three games. At +7.2, Kansas City is fourth; in its past three, that’s +9.3.
Big Super Bowl Bets at BetMGM
At BetMGM, which serves nine Strip properties, a six-figure moneyline wager on the Eagles on Sunday night has been the hottest wager so far.
Lamarr Mitchell, its director of trading, reports several five-figure bets, “but nothing too major.”
BetMGM, as has been typical in Vegas shops, opened Chiefs -1.5, moved to Eagles -2.5 on Sunday night, dialed back to Philly -2 on Monday, and Eagles -1.5 by Tuesday morning.
At the Westgate SuperBook, the highest odds that could have been had on Kansas City to win it all during the season were 12-to-1, 50-to-1 on Philadelphia.
Vegas sportsbook directors expect huge action within three or four days of the game to be played on Sunday, Feb. 12, at State Farm Stadium in Arizona.
DraftKings also witnessed an inflow of Chiefs cash on Monday night and Tuesday.
“Where we were getting Philly money, now we’re getting Chiefs money,” Avello said. “That’s kind of what we expected. You can make an argument for both sides; doesn’t seem as if either team should be favored by three.
“I think you’re going to see a few more moves. Where is this game going? It could flip back from Eagles -1 to Chiefs -1, or it could go to Eagles -2 or -2.5. The total itself moved up initially, now it’s at 49.5.”
After Super Wild Card Weekend, the NFL playoffs have delivered all Under total action.
“A Super Bowl total normally is 57, 54.5,” Avello said, “but not this one.”
How Chiefs and Eagles Reached Super Bowl 57
Philadelphia has blasted two playoff foes by a combined score of 69-14, while the Chiefs’ two victories have been by one-score margins.
Both quarterbacks might not be 100 percent, although the Eagles’ Jalen Hurts (right throwing shoulder) appears to be in better shape than the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes (right ankle).
In his previous six games, Mahomes has thrown for at least 300 yards three times, and he has 12 TD passes with a lone pick. He ran it in for two scores but has operated differently on the ground with that ankle tweak.
In his past two games, he’s taken off six times for only 16 total yards.
That’s where Hurts can keep the edge in Philly’s favor.
In his previous eight games, Hurts has 10 TD passes and three throws picked off by foes. In two of those games, he threw for more than 300 yards.
However, Hurts has eight touchdown runs in that span. In 91 total runs, he’s accumulated 479 yards, or 60 per game. In two playoff tilts, he’s run 20 times for 73 yards, with a TD in each game.
Only three of Kansas City’s past 10 games have finished Over their totals, while five of the past six Philly games have ended Under. That could be motivating punters toward Under in Arizona.
In points-per-play margin over their past three games, the Eagles (0.244) are first, and the Chiefs (0.150) are second. Away from home during the season, Kansas City rated first (0.148) and Philadelphia second (0.099).
Philly, however, has tightened its defensive screws on opposing quarterbacks lately, allowing them a scant 4.1 yards per throw, which is tops in the league over the past three games. The KC defense is sixth at 5.4.
Does that mean the Eagles might clamp down on tight end Travis Kelce if — somehow — he’s able to walk much less play? He might require Paul Pierce’s wheelchair to transport him from the locker room to the State Farm Stadium turf.
In two playoff games, Kelce has been targeted by Mahomes with 25 passes. Kelce caught 21 for 176 yards and three touchdowns. Isiah Pacheco has run 22 times in KC’s two postseason games for 131 yards.
For Philadelphia, Miles Sanders has been steady on the ground in the postseason, with 28 carries for 132 yards and two TDs. In receiving, AJ Brown (seven catches for 50 yards) and DeVonta Smith (8, 97, 1) have underwhelmed.
Finally, these two quarterbacks have played each other professionally once when the Chiefs went to Philly on Oct. 3, 2021, and won, 42-30.
Hurts, in his first full season as an NFL starter, went 32-for-48 for 387 yards and two TD passes. One went to tight end Dallas Goedert, who caught all five of his targeted passes for 56 yards and the score.
Tailback Kenneth Gainwell had a TD run. He might be the one to watch on Feb. 12, as the second-year standout from Memphis has run 26 times for 160 yards and one touchdown in Philly’s two playoff games.
Mahomes was 24-for-30 for 278 yards, five TD passes, and one interception in that 2021 game against the Eagles. But three of those scoring throws went to Tyreek Hill, who had 11 receptions for 186 yards — and spent this past season in Miami.
For more of whatever it might be worth, there were points by both teams in every quarter. That prop might be worth a value-stab come kickoff in Arizona.
Place a bet on the Super Bowl and get a refund if it loses. BetMGM is offering to credit your account the amount of your first bet should it not win. Click here and use promo code TODAY at BetMGM Sportsbook.