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49ers favored by Vegas books to win Super Bowl

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49ers favored by Vegas books to win Super Bowl

LAS VEGAS (AP) Sports books in Las Vegas made the San Francisco 49ers a favorite in the Super Bowl over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night based on the team's solid record and popularity with sports fans.

Oddsmakers gave the 49ers an early 4 1/2-point handicap and put the total score at 49 points for the Feb. 3 game in New Orleans. This means gamblers who bet on the Niners will collect only if they win by a margin of victory surpassing 4 1/2 points.

In addition to betting on the victor, fans can put money on whether the total points scored during the game will fall short of or exceed oddsmakers' predictions.

Jay Kornegay, race and sports book director at The LVH casino, said his book made the 49ers a 4 1/2-point favorite and quickly moved the line to 4 points as bettors gambled on the Ravens.

``The 49ers have been a sexy team all year,'' he said. ``The Ravens don't get a lot of respect from the public, but that bandwagon is getting a lot more supporters as we speak.''

The 49ers beat the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC title game Sunday afternoon, rallying in the second half after falling behind by 17 points. The Ravens defeated the New England Patriots for the AFC championship later that night, with Joe Flacco throwing three touchdown passes in just over 10 minutes.

Oddsmaker Benjamin Eckstein of America's Line said he made the 49ers a 4 1/2-point favorite to encourage action on both teams.

``San Francisco is what we call a very public team because they've been very good over the past couple years, and people just like to bet on them,'' said Eckstein, who provides betting lines to more than 100 newspapers in the U.S. and Canada. ``The 49ers have done very well against the spread this year, so they've made people a lot of money.''

The Super Bowl is the most popular betting event of the year in Las Vegas.

Last year, sports books made the New England Patriots three-point favorites to win the Super Bowl over the New York Giants, but the Giants won 21-17. Fans bet $93.9 million at Nevada casinos on the matchup- the most wagered in the past decade- and sports books made $5 million on the action, according to data from the Gaming Control Board.

Oddmakers say average fans bet far more money on the Super Bowl than professional bettors - making conventional wisdom all-important in setting betting lines.

``The Super Bowl is the one game all year where the public's money dominates the action,'' Kornegay said. ``That's why we have to gear this line toward the public perception.''

Johnny Avello, director of race and sports at Wynn Las Vegas, opened the 49ers as 5-point favorites. He said he expected heavy betting with a competitive underdog and a sibling rivalry narrative inspired by brothers John and Jim Harbaugh coaching the two teams.

``Baltimore's kind of dangerous. And you've got two brothers playing against each other. It makes for a good matchup,'' he said.

Avello said he planned to spend Monday watching footage from past games and devising what he said will likely exceed 200 proposition bets.

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Hannah Dreier can be reached athttp://twitter.com/hannahdreier .

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Ravens' options in a potential Matthew Judon trade

Ravens' options in a potential Matthew Judon trade

According to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Ravens have expressed interest in moving on from Matthew Judon through a trade this offseason. 

Judon, who isn’t under contract for next season, was tied for 19th in the league in sacks with 9.5 — a team-high. He was also the team-leader in quarterback hits with 33. The next best pass-rusher was Tyus Bowser, who registered 10. 

Lined up for a big payday, and with a high-priced franchise tag an option, the Ravens could lose their second pass-rusher in as many years on the free agent market should they elect to not pay Judon the elite pass-rusher money he’ll likely command.

Which brings the Ravens to the report from Schefter that indicated the team could move on from Judon, 27, through the sign-and-trade route. 

Should Judon, or the Ravens, walk away from the negotiating table in free agency, two options exist: The Ravens could either let him walk freely to another team and likely receive a 2021 third-round pick as compensation, or place the franchise tag on Judon. 

With the franchise tag option, the Ravens could keep him for a season and essentially kick the can down the road for a year, or trade him for a return that would likely be greater than the compensatory third, and more importantly, the help would be immediate. 

A few weeks ago, coach John Harbaugh said re-signing Judon would be, “pretty hard,” but that the team was going to try.  

But if the Ravens aren’t able, or are unwilling, to sign Judon, a potential blueprint for a future trade might have been laid out last year by the Chiefs. 

Last season, the Chiefs traded Dee Ford to the 49ers for a second-round pick just a month before they sent first and third-round picks to the Seahawks for Frank Clark and a third-round pick.

Ford had 13 sacks in 2018 and 29 quarterback hits while Clark had 13 as well and 27 quarterback hits. They both immediately signed long-term, expensive contracts with their new teams. 

Baltimore could make a move similar to that with Judon and get better, and more immediate, compensation for him and later add a pass-rusher with the draft capital than the team added.

The Ravens have just under 29 million dollars in cap space, meaning they’ve got the space to sign Judon to a long-term deal or keep him on the franchise tag, but they’d need to make some moves to be able to field a full roster. And that full roster, if Judon isn’t in Baltimore in 2020, needs pass-rushing help. 

Baltimore had 37 sacks as a team, and just over a quarter of them came from Judon. It also had 111 total quarterback hits, and 29.7 percent came from Judon. 

So the report that the Ravens could move Judon could play out, perhaps the most interesting aspect of a Judon trade would be the replacement the Ravens would need to have lined up.

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With big decision looming, Ravens guard Marshal Yanda mum on retirement plans

With big decision looming, Ravens guard Marshal Yanda mum on retirement plans

Ravens guard Marshal Yanda has a decision to make on his playing future, but he's in no rush to make it.

The 35-year-old is under contract with the Ravens through the 2020 season, but will take the next month or so to decide if he wants to continue playing or hang up the cleats.

"I'm going to take my time now," Yanda told Ravens.com regarding his future. "Done playing for the year, just take some time over the next month and basically just go with my heart and see how I feel."

The eight-time Pro Bowler was a vital piece in the NFL's best rushing attack in 2019. Yanda, the leader of the offensive line, started and played in 15 games this season for Baltimore, missing the regular-season finale as the Ravens rested multiple starters with the No. 1 seed already clinched.

Following Baltimore's upset divisional playoff loss to the Titans, a visibly disappointed Yanda refused to address his future, but he was definitely thinking about it then.

But if Sunday's Pro Bowl was the last time Yanda put on the pads, he didn't treat the game or experience any differently.

"Not necessarily," Yanda said if he cherished Sunday's Pro Bowl differently. "You're not in that frame of mind. I definitely didn't think about [my retirement decision] too much today, just because it was the Pro Bowl. It's more of a relaxed game, not like a really intense game.

"I didn't have those feelings as much as the Tennessee game," he continued." Yeah, it's a possibility. But those feelings were more in the Tennessee game."

Even at age 35, Yanda remains one of the best guards in the game. He's made the NFL's second-team All-Pro squad the past two seasons and has been a Pro Bowler every season since 2011, minus the 2017 season where he played just two games due to a season-ending ankle injury.

There's no debate: Baltimore would greatly benefit from Yanda returning.

"You want people that want you back," Yanda said. "You want to be playing very well when you end. Nobody wants to fade out; you want to go out strong."

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