Colts big favorites over Bears by Vegas book makers

Updated: January 22, 2007, 12:57 AM ET
Associated Press

LAS VEGAS -- After rallying for a spectacular win and the AFC Championship Game, Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts are big favorites to win the Super Bowl over the Chicago Bears.

Manning's Colts are as much 7-point favorites with most Las Vegas bookmakers after a 38-34 win over the New England Patriots on Sunday.

The Bears' dominant 39-14 victory over the New Orleans Saints for the NFC title did nothing to ease concerns about the shaky arm of Bears quarterback Rex Grossman, who completed 11 of 26 pass attempts for 144 yards and a touchdown.

"If I was a Bears fan I would worry a little bit if Grossman had to come from behind," said Jay Kornegay, the race and sports book director of the Las Vegas Hilton. "But he was fortunate that his defense caused a lot of turnovers so that he wasn't put in that position."

Chuck Esposito, assistant vice president of Harrah's Entertainment Inc.'s Caesars Palace sports book, made the Colts 6.5-point favorites, giving a nod to the Bears' defense, which had four takeaways from the Saints.

The over/under line for the Super Bowl, in Miami on Feb. 4, was set at 49 or 49.5 points, meaning bookmakers expect a high-scoring game and the public to root for lots of points.

"I see it as a wide open game," said John Avello, director of race and sports operations at Wynn Las Vegas. "This is one of those games where you've got to score, you've got to put points up to win the big one."

Las Vegas bookmakers were preparing literally hundreds of proposition bets, on everything from interceptions by the quarterbacks to how many tackles Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher will make in the biggest sports betting event of the year.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press