After rallying for a spectacular win over the New England Patriots for the AFC championship, Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts were installed as big favorites to win Super Bowl XLI over the Chicago Bears.
The Colts opened off-shore as 6-point favorites and were quickly bet up to -7, which is the consensus line in Las Vegas. The over/under for the Super Bowl, which will be held in Miami on Feb. 4, was set at 49 points.
Obviously the Bears’ dominant 39-14 victory over the New Orleans Saints for the NFC title did little to ease concerns about the shaky play of Bears quarterback Rex Grossman, who completed 11 of 26 pass attempts for 144 yards and a touchdown.
"If I was a Bears fan I would worry a little bit if Grossman had to come from behind," said Jay Kornegay, race and sports book director of the Las Vegas Hilton. "But he was fortunate that his defense caused a lot of turnovers so that he wasn’t put in that position."
Chuck Esposito, assistant vice president of Caesars Palace sports book, made the Colts a 6.5-point favorite, giving a nod to the Bears’ defense, which had four takeaways from the Saints.
Others believe the game will be a high-scoring contest.
"I see it as a wide open game," said John Avello, director of race and sports operations at Wynn Las Vegas. "This is one of those games where you’ve got to score, you’ve got to put points up to win the big one."
Las Vegas bookmakers were preparing literally hundreds of proposition bets, on everything from interceptions by the quarterbacks to how many tackles Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher will make in the biggest sports betting event of the year.