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Early money heavily on Kansas City Chiefs to repeat as Super Bowl champions

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Minutes after beating Baltimore 17-10 on Sunday to clinch a spot in the Super Bowl, Travis Kelce had a message to send.

"The Chiefs are still the Chiefs,” Kelce said.

Bettors agree.

The early money is heavily on Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City to repeat as Super Bowl champions when the Chiefs face the San Francisco 49ers on Feb. 11. That caused sportsbooks to drop the opening number that favored the Niners by 2 or 2 1/2 points to 1 or 1 1/2 points.

FanDuel Sportsbook opened the Niners as 2 1/2-point favorites, and that number was 1 1/2 on Wednesday.

Caesars Sportsbook had San Francisco as a 3-point favorite last week in a hypothetical matchup with the Chiefs. But then Kansas City followed a 27-24 upset victory over Buffalo by shutting down Lamar Jackson as Kelce dominated and Taylor Swift cheered from a stadium suite.

The 49ers had to rally from 24-7 down at home to beat Detroit 34-31. That was the second week in a row San Francisco had to come back to win after previously defeating Green Bay 24-21.

“So they haven’t looked good,” said Adam Pullen, Caesars assistant trading director. “Jackson had a few errors, but I think the Chiefs had a more impressive win. So I think that led to us opening at 2, opening even lower than what we predicted the week before. The money's been pretty steady on the Chiefs so far, so we're at 1 1/2."

BetMGM public relations manager John Ewing said 71% of the bets and 78% of the money has come on the Chiefs on the betting spread, pushing the number on the 49ers from 2-point favorites to just a point. It was even more pronounced on the money line, with 84% of the bets and 79% of the money going to KC.

Surprised?

“No, not given the recent play by Kansas City as underdogs here in the last two games in the postseason, winning both of those and looking good doing it," Ewing said. “So we are not surprised that they’re getting the action right now.”

PROS STILL CARRY THE DAY

Professional bettors, otherwise known as sharps, affect betting lines for all sports. The casual gambler? Not so much.

But the Super Bowl is one event where the casuals make up a much larger share of the money.

It still doesn't matter.

“Public money won't move the line," Ewing said. “Generally, the public likes to bet with their heart."

LAS VEGAS' SUPER DEBUT

Pullen moved to Las Vegas in 1990 shortly after UNLV's basketball team won the national championship and the city was all about the Rebels.

The Super Bowl being in Vegas wasn't on anyone's radar at that time.

“It's come a long way from being just UNLV Runnin' Rebel basketball and boxing to what it is now hosting every major sporting event,” Pullen said. “So, yeah, that's pretty crazy.”

GOING BIG

A Michigan bettor put $1 million at Caesars on the 49ers on the money line at minus-120. Another bettor at that sportsbook placed $100,000 on the coin toss to come up tails at minus-105.

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AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL