AFC Championship Game Odds: How Sportsbooks Approached Patrick Mahomes’ Injury

AFC Championship Game Odds: How Sportsbooks Approached Patrick Mahomes’ Injury article feature image
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Jamie Squire/Getty Images. Pictured: Patrick Mahomes.

During the fourth quarter of the Chiefs-Browns game, there were meetings both in person and virtual taking place all over Las Vegas.

At what number should they open the AFC Championship Game?

It was a complex decision.

The Chiefs’ star quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, was knocked out of the game and was likely going to have to clear the concussion protocol. The difference between Mahomes playing and his backup Chad Henne playing was worth five to six points.

At the Circa in downtown Las Vegas, the one worry was getting pounded by Bills money.

“We wanted the first money we took to be on the Chiefs,” the Circa’s Chris Bennett said.

Opening number? Bills -2.5.

Three miles away, at the Superbook, the conversation was completely different.

“We thought Mahomes was going to be fine,” the Superbook’s Eric Osterman said. “And we just thought there was no way the Chiefs or the NFL wouldn’t have Mahomes out there. And we were mostly concerned about a flood of Chiefs money.”

Opening number? Bills +3.

“You have anything between -2.5 and +2.5, there’s not an important number in there,” Osterman said. “We thought three would give Chiefs backers some pause.”

And it did. The market, from the very beginning, thought that Mahomes would play.

Within minutes, the Circa number had met the Superbook’s number — and sure enough Mahomes cleared Concussion Protocol and will play.

At almost every sportsbook, the line hasn’t moved and there’s equal action on both sides of the spread, with a bit more exposure on the Bills because of more of a moneyline play.

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