Jay Cutler's thumb injury and possible absence for the rest of the regular season caused a small downgrade in the Chicago Bears' future odds in Las Vegas, but it presented a major change for the team's game this weekend in Oakland.
Jay Kornegay, the director of the sports book at the Las Vegas Hilton, raised the team's odds at winning the NFC championship from 12-1 to 15-1, and from winning the Super Bowl from 25-1 to 30-1. MGM doubled its Super Bowl odds for the Bears from 13-1 to 25-1.
"It's not the end of the world for Bears fans," Kornegay wrote in an email. "It's a drop-off, but (replacement starter Caleb) Hanie is capable. He can move in the pocket (needed by any Chicago QB) and has a strong arm. In most cases he'll be dropping off passes to (Matt) Forte so it's a small downgrade in our eyes."
At the Hilton, the Bears opened as a "pick 'em" over the Oakland Raiders immediately after their 31-20 victory over San Diego (some sportsbooks had Raiders -1 ½), but once Cutler's injury was revealed, the line changed in a big way.
The Hilton quickly reposted the line at Oakland -3 ½ and it had gone up to 4 ½ by Monday afternoon. Other sportsbooks, as listed on vegasinsider.com, have a similar line, as do online sites.
"We have taken nothing but Raiders money since then," Kornegay said. "We think it's an over-reaction at this point."