Patrick Mahomes is so good …
(How good is he?)
He’s so good that … “If this was a regular season game, we’d have this game off the board,” said Johnny Avello, the director of the DraftKings Sportsbook. “But because of the magnitude of the game, and people anticipating what it means and wanting to get a bet down early, we put it up.”
Mahomes, of course, is the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback who is currently in the NFL’s concussion protocol, and as a result, the NFL betting world is laser-focused on his health.
On Tuesday, a “Schefter bomb” from ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter dropped, with sources telling him Mahomes had made “some big steps” in getting through the protocol, but that it’s too early to say if he’ll be able to take the field.
Chiefs’ QB Patrick Mahomes cleared certain steps Monday, “some big steps”, but he remains in the NFL’s concussion protocol with what is considered a concussion and it’s too early to say that he definitely will play in Sunday’s conference championship vs. the Bills, per sources.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 19, 2021
And the reigning Super Bowl MVP taking the field — or sitting out the AFC Championship against the Buffalo Bills — will have major consequences.
The line will move, one way or another
“We opened at -2.5, and if Mahomes plays, it will go up a bit, to 3.5, maybe four,” Avello said. “It will give the Chiefs a boost. Right now we’re leaning towards Mahomes playing, but slightly.”
And if he sits?
“It’s going to be a drastic move,” Avello said. “How much? I don’t know. Maybe even the Bills giving four points. Mahomes is a full seven point guy, he’s worth that kind of points. Is he worth the full seven in this game? He might. You’ll see a significant move if he’s ruled out.”
But just to give a taste of how up-in-the-air this situation is, not all bookmakers agree.
For instance, Andrew Mannino, one of the leads on the PointsBet trading team, thinks if Mahomes is ruled out, the line will tilt to the Bills, but barely.
“I think probably Bills -1, maybe -1.5,” Mannino said. “We’ve been seeing a lot of early action on Buffalo already, and if Mahomes is ruled out I think that will continue.”
Mannino — who opened with the Chiefs -3.5, whereas Avello went -2.5 — set his line with the anticipation Mahomes will be suiting up.
“We’ve been pretty confident he’s going to play,” he said. “Until he’s ruled out, we can only go by what we know, and so we’ve been operating under the assumption that he’s going to play.”
Settling in … for now
As of Wednesday morning, the two books had settled into agreement, with both of them having the Chiefs as three-point favorites. For now.
“This line is going to move one way or another,” Avello said. “It’s a spot that if you’re a bettor, you can take advantage of it if you knew what was going to happen.”
“But none of us know anything,” he said.
Awaiting further Schefter bombs, then.
In the meantime, Mahomes is expected to be on the practice field Wednesday, as players in the concussion protocol are allowed to be on the field in limited fashion.
Photo by Jay Biggerstaff / USA Today Sports