The betting interest on the Jacksonville Jaguars in the offseason never really materialized in Las Vegas.
When the season kicked off in September, the Jaguars had attracted the fewest bets to win the Super Bowl of any team at multiple sportsbooks. There were more Super Bowl bets on the Cleveland Browns than the Jaguars, and twice as many at some places.
The Browns finished 0-16. The Jaguars face the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday.
Cleveland was eliminated from the playoffs after Week 12. At that point at William Hill's 100-plus Nevada sportsbooks, there were still more bets on the Browns to win the Super Bowl than there were on the Jaguars.
Some might jump to conclusions regarding the betting public's acumen, but veteran Las Vegas bookmaker Nick Bogdanovich says the interest in the Browns over the Jaguars likely has more to do with location and winter vacationing habits.
"People from cold-weather areas always come to Vegas in the offseason," said Bogdanovich, director of trading at William Hill. "The Vikings, the Packers, the Bears and the Browns are always bet crazy amounts. Those other teams, the Jaguars, the Saints, Miami, they never, year in and year out, accrue the same amount of tickets."
When the season began, the Jaguars were 100-1 Super Bowl long shots. They were coming off a disappointing 3-13 campaign in 2016, and quarterback Blake Bortles was under heavy criticism. Backing Jacksonville wasn't an attractive option for most, but a few were willing to take a stab on the Jaguars.
In May, a bettor at Las Vegas sportsbook operator CG Technology placed three futures bets on the Jaguars to win the Super Bowl. The bets totaled $3,200 and would net a $337,500 profit if Jacksonville pulls it off.
Back in February, a bettor at a William Hill sportsbook plunked down $990 on the Jaguars to win the Super Bowl at 100-1. That ticket is potentially worth $99,100, but first Jacksonville has to get past the New England Patriots.
New England quarterback Tom Brady showed up at practice Thursday wearing a red glove on his injured right throwing hand. The concern over Brady's hand generated a small flurry of bets on the Jaguars and made the point spread shrink. The line dropped from New England -8.5 to -7.5 Thursday at most sportsbooks.
On Friday, Brady said "We'll see," when asked about how confident he is that he will play Sunday.
Bogdanovich estimates, if Brady were to be ruled out, the line could drop to Patriots -3.
As of Thursday night, 53 percent of the money bet on the spread of the AFC Championship Game at William Hill was on New England.