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Vegas bookies favor 49ers by 4.5 points

Vegas bookies favor 49ers by 4.5 points

LAS VEGAS (AP) If the Baltimore Ravens are to become Super Bowl champions, they'll have to beat the odds again to do it.

Bookmakers in this gambling city mostly have the San Francisco 49ers 4.5-point favorites over the Ravens in the Super Bowl, amid expectations this could be the heaviest bet title game ever.

``It's a monster matchup, brother versus brother,'' William Hill oddsmaker Jimmy Vaccaro said. ``I believe it will top last year's Super Bowl handle and could go higher.''

Some sports books didn't even wait until the clock ran out in the Ravens win over the New England Patriots to set the line. At the LVH sports book, a line favoring the 49ers by 4.5 points was put up just before the 2-minute warning, and bettors didn't waste any time to get money down on the game.

``We've got money coming in as we speak, it looks like it will be good on both sides,'' said LVH book director Jay Kornegay. ``These teams mirror each other, but the 49ers are a bit more sexy now than the Ravens.''

At William Hill, which operates 75 betting parlors in Nevada, oddsmakers opened the game with the 49ers a 5-point favorite, as did some other books. But it was quickly bet down to 4.5 points, a line that seemed to be holding in the early betting.

``We had what I consider a large bet come in at 5 points and moved down from there,'' said Vaccaro, who said he believes the line will hold between 4 and 4 1/2 points until close to the day of the game.

Baltimore already is the first underdog of more than a touchdown to win both the division and championship playoff rounds. The Ravens were 7.5-point underdogs to the Patriots before beating them 28-13 to win the AFC title game.

``The Ravens are the hot team now but they're not getting a lot of support from the public,'' Kornegay said. ``These are very similar teams, both can run the ball well, play smash mouth football and have two quarterbacks playing very good football.''

Last year's game between the New York Giants and the Patriots drew $93.9 million in wagers in Nevada, just under the record $94.5 million bet in 2006 when the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Seattle Seahawks 21-10. Those who follow the betting industry closely say hundreds of millions of dollars - possibly even billions - will be bet on the game by the time the offshore sports books and illegal bookmakers take in their share.

Like the LVH, some books in Las Vegas opened the game at 4.5 points, while others put their number up at 5. Most of the major Las Vegas sports books were at 4.5 points, with a few listing the 49ers at 4 points Sunday night.

The over/under, where bettors can wager on whether the two teams will combine for more or less points than the posted number, was at 49 points at most books.

Point spreads fluctuate on games, especially the most heavily bet ones, according to how much oddsmakers take on each team. A big bet on one team can sometimes send a line moving a half point one way or another, though most movement normally takes place in the days just before the game.

Nevada oddsmakers also post hundreds of proposition bets on the game, everything from who will win the coin flip to which quarterback will have more passing yards. Those bets aren't expected to be posted fully until later in the week.

Vaccaro said the proximity of the 49ers to Nevada should boost betting on the game.

Casinos have lost once only once on the Super Bowl the last 10 years, in 2008 when bettors gambled $92 million and casinos lost $2.57 million as the Giants beat New England, 17-14.

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'No words will repair the damage that has been done': Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti donates $1 million to fund Baltimore-area social justice reform

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'No words will repair the damage that has been done': Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti donates $1 million to fund Baltimore-area social justice reform

Ravens’ owner Steve Bisciotti and the team announced a commitment of $1 million to Baltimore-area programs. 

Bisciotti, through The Stephen and Renee Bisciotti Foundation and the Ravens, combined to donate the money after a group of former and current Ravens decide which local organizations should receive the money.

“There is nothing I can say to ease the pain felt by African-American communities across our country,” Bisciotti said in a statement from the organization. “No words will repair the damage that has been done.”

The decision came on the heels of another murder of an African-American man, George Floyd, by police in Minnesota. 

“Like many people, I am sickened, disheartened and shaken by the acts of racism that continue to overwhelm our society,” Bisciotti continued. “The most recent killing, involving George Floyd, is yet another tragic example of the discrimination that African-Americans face each day.”

The team did not announce who is on the committee of players to determine where the funds should be allocated. 

“Now, more than ever, we must all strengthen our pursuit of positive change, as we stand with peaceful protestors around the country,” Bisciotti said. “We must all seek to understand by listening better and learning more. We must all discover new ways to unite. We must all work to break the cycle of systematic racial injustice.”

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Ravens will be right there with the Chiefs in 2020, according to Peter King

Ravens will be right there with the Chiefs in 2020, according to Peter King

Everybody wants to be number one, but sometimes being number two is still a compliment; especially for the Baltimore Ravens.

With the release of NBC Sports Peter King’s 2020 NFL Power Rankings, the Ravens find themselves sitting behind only one team in the league, the Kansas City Chiefs. It makes sense, right? The Chiefs are the defending NFL Super Bowl champs.

Like the Chiefs, the Ravens are one of the most exciting teams in the league to watch, and they won their division with their own MVP quarterback, Lamar Jackson. But unlike them, the Ravens finished the 2019 regular season at 14-2, good for two more wins than the Chiefs. So how do the Chiefs manage to sit atop King’s Power Rankings? It’s simple…the Super Bowl!

Had it not been for the streaking Tennessee Titans, led by the Bo Jackson reincarnate Derrick Henry, who laid the Ravens season to rest with a 28-12 drubbing in the AFC Divisional Playoffs, we might have caught lightning in a bottle for the conference championship game. Fate had something different in mind. 

The Titans would go on to face the Chiefs in the AFC Conference Championship with a Super Bowl victory for the Chiefs, soon thereafter. The Ravens season would come to an end. They now find themselves searching for a new approach in order to unseat the Chiefs for the Lombardi Trophy. 

According to King’s report, the Ravens must first hope that quarterback Lamar Jackson improves; if that’s even possible given his MVP performance from last season. In addition, replacing newly-retired guard Marshall Yanda with comparable talent must remain a high priority. Either of the Ravens fourth-round picks, guards Ben Powers or Ben Bredeson, should address that. However, in-home improvements might not be sufficient enough to maintain the gap between the Ravens and the rest of the AFC North division.

The return of a healthy Ben Roethlisberger to the Steelers and the addition of first-overall pick Joe Burrow to the Bengals should result in a more competitive division. In response, the Ravens have continued bolstering their defense with the addition of defensive end Calais Campbell who was acquired in an off-season trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

And yet the gifts keep coming. The Ravens' 2020 NFL schedule is favorable, particularly down the stretch with their final five games against teams that didn’t make the playoffs last season. Talk about finishing in stride!

All things considered, King predicts the Ravens finishing the 2020 regular season at 13-3, and that is good enough to land them at number two on his 2020 Power Rankings.

We are now only two months and a handful of days from the Baltimore Ravens pre-season home-opener on August 14th against the Buffalo Bills.

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