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Submitted by Richie B. Oddsmakers Consensus on Friday, January 26, 2018 at 1:00 PM

Though Super Bowl 52 is still more than a week away, Las Vegas betting has already made national headlines. As I write this for you Friday morning Nevada time, the MGM has already taken in a multi-million dollar bet on the Eagles, and the South Point on Thursday received $500,000 on a money-line bet on Philadelphia to win outright.

Now, bets THAT big usually aren't from "sharp" sources. Those are rich bettors supporting their teams, bettors using some sharp handicapping principals to make what they consider to be a good investment.

Frankly, truly SHARP bettors want to know the status of Rob Gronkowski before putting any money down! They also know that Gronkowski getting cleared to play might cause the betting line to go back up toward +6 with a better moneyline return. No reason to bet "millions" now at +5 on a point spread or +165ish on the moneyline unless you're sure Gronkowski won't be able to play. (Maybe Gronkowski has very rich doctors who bet!).

Sharps are patient. Placing a big bet on an underdog more than a week before a Super Bowl is the opposite of patient.

What's obvious to me is that New England money is waiting to see if Gronkowski is cleared. The public typically loves betting the Patriots. That's made them money during the regular season, but cost them against Super Bowl pointspreads. New England's biggest win in regulation in the Belichick/Brady era has been four points. The Pats won by six in overtime a year ago after a big rally. Chalk lovers can be stubborn though. And, laying the points did ultimately work last year thanks to overtime. Squares WANT to bet the Patriots, but didn't want to bet this week's prices if he couldn't go. They'd rather lay -6 or even -7 with him than -4.5 or -5 without him.

That's why early Super Bowl betting this week has been so one-sided on the Eagles. There's no reason to bet the Pats yet! Who would take that risk without knowing Gronkowski's status? Rich (but impatient) bettors who love the Eagles either way have stepped up to take their shot.

This is how I expect things to play out over the next several days:

*The public will continue to wait for news on Gronkowski. Patriots money won't come in until he's cleared to play. Then, it might come in hand-over-fist, causing the line to rise back to where it opened around New England -6 (or even higher). If he's definitely ruled out by the middle of next week, the line might drop down closer to a field goal. The public would very likely lay three points with the Pats even with Gronkowski in street clothes. Sports books are hoping there's definitive word long before Super Bowl morning.

*The sharps generally like Philadelphia because this is a quality underdog capable of winning the game outright...and because New England isn't at full health because of Brady's wrist. Sharps are also waiting to get news on Gronkowski. They'd like to get at least +6 if he's going to play. But, they're also ready to bet the Eagles quickly at +5 or +4.5 if it looks like the big guy won't go.

*Both sharp and square constituencies liked the Over at early prices. The game is indoors, and we have two offenses that like to pass a lot. If Gronkowski is cleared, the total may climb to 49 or 50. Quants don't expect a defensive struggle. Though, an Under could happen if both offenses run a lot of clock with short passes. All math gradings I've seen are in the high 40's, peaking at 51 if Gronkowski is cleared.

You may have heard that props were posted across Las Vegas Thursday afternoon and evening. Sharps were lined up at the Westgate waiting for the board to light up. Sharps bet props early, and then late. They want to attack soft openers. Then, after the public has driven many of the options out of whack to create new opportunities, sharps come in to bet late right before kickoff. You've already missed those openers unless you live out here in the desert. See if you can find profitable possibilities next weekend that the public created for you by betting some of the props with misplaced enthusiasm.

Check out my Super Bowl / Basketball special here online.

I'll post a final Super Bowl 52 report a week from today. It will be fun to monitor the markets in the meantime. Don't forget that college basketball is my favorite sport to handicap and bet. You can purchase my BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions call the office at 1-888-777-4155. Be sure you ask about combination packages for all picks through March Madness and the NBA Playoffs when you call.

A big basketball weekend awaits, including a huge ACC battle matching two of the top four teams in the AP poll when Virginia visits Duke. I have several games circled for serious play once lines go up on the board. I hope you'll join online or by phone for those picks. Thanks for reading. See you again next week.

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