Oddsmakers expect Mahomes to play, keep Chiefs as Super Bowl favorites

  • Joined ESPN in 2014
  • Journalist covering gambling industry since 2008

For now, the Kansas City Chiefs remain the team to beat, but things could change quickly depending on the status of quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

The Chiefs begin the week as 3-point favorites over the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday in Kansas City. The line reflects oddsmakers’ expectations that Mahomes will play this week and be ready to go if Kansas City reaches the Super Bowl against either the Green Bay Packers or Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

In early Super Bowl lines at Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill, the Chiefs opened as 2.5-point favorites over either the Packers or Buccaneers in a potential matchup. Kansas City also has the best odds to win the Super Bowl at +200, followed by the Packers at +225, Bills (+300) and Buccaneers (+400) at William Hill.

Mahomes left Sunday’s playoff win over the Cleveland Browns in the third quarter after suffering a concussion. Kansas City coach Andy Reid told reporters after the game that Mahomes was “doing very well” and that he had “passed all the deals that he needed to pass.”

“We certainly expect Mahomes to play,” John Murray, executive director of the SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas, told ESPN on Sunday night. “We moved the line up to [Chiefs] -3 after reading some quotes from Andy Reid that sounded positive.”

The uncertainty surrounding Mahomes made it challenging for bookmakers to set a line on the AFC Championship Game. The opening lines ranged from Chiefs -4 to Bills -2.5, before setting at Kansas City -3 Monday morning.

If Mahomes is ruled out and backup Chad Henne starts against the Bills, Murray expects Buffalo to become the favorite. One oddsmaker at the SuperBook projected Buffalo to be as much as a 7-point favorite.

“That sounds a little extreme to me, but it gives you an idea just how much of a drop-off it is from Mahomes to Henne in terms of the point spread,” Murray said, adding that the majority of the early action was on the Bills, including a bet from a respected bettor. “Although, the biggest bet yet was $20,000 on the Chiefs -3 [even].” The early Super Bowl lines at William Hill featuring the Bills are tiny. The Packers are 1-point favorites over the Bills, while the point spread on a potential Bills-Buccaneers game opened at pick ’em.

Early Super Bowl LV matchup lines from Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill

Buccaneers vs. Chiefs (-2.5, 55)
Packers vs. Chiefs (-2.5, 56)
Buccaneers vs. Bills (Pk, 53.5)
Bills vs. Packers (-1, 54)

Super Bowl LV Odds to Win

Chiefs +200
Packers +225
Bills +300
Buccaneers +400

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