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2/3/06 2:45 PM
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Oddessa
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Steelers drawing heavy action

Betting one-sided for Pittsburgh at -4; line could climb before kickoff

A perception exists that the Seattle Seahawks, despite an impressive resume that includes NFL rushing leader Shaun Alexander, are getting disrespected and overlooked in the Super Bowl.

That theory is reality at Las Vegas sports books, where the betting for Sunday's game has been one-sided in favor of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"There's just not a buzz about the Seahawks," MGM Mirage sports book director Robert Walker said.

The Steelers are 4-point favorites at the Mirage, and Walker said the line could be moving higher.

"It's still early as far as the betting goes," said Walker, who expects 80 percent of the game's action to show up in the next three days.

"If it goes to 4 1/2 and nobody buys it back, then the floodgates can open up. Once it gets to 4 1/2, it could easily go to 5 1/2. I won't completely discount that."

The line is 4 1/2 at Leroy's, the Palms and Station Casinos sports books. Almost every offshore book remains at 4.

Walker said there has been consistent two-way action on the total (47) and the money line (Steelers minus-180).

It's too soon to determine if Super Bowl wagering will approach last year's record handle of $90.8 million at Nevada sports books.

"I think it will be close to that," Walker said. "We're going to write a tremendous amount of action on this game."

It's difficult to predict the handle, Walker said, because he never knows how many six-figure wagers he will see.

In 2002, when St. Louis was a 14-point favorite over New England, Walker said he took a $4.6 million money-line bet on the Rams. The next year, when Oakland played Tampa Bay, Walker said the largest bet he took was $200,000.

In the past week, Walker said he has accepted only two "low six-figure bets," both on Pittsburgh.

"The majority of the big bets so far have come in on the Steelers," he said. "I would feel better if we took some big wagers on the Seahawks, and we haven't yet.

"I don't know who likes Seattle enough to come in and bet $500,000. We're at the mercy of the people who bet six or seven figures, and we'll see what they're going to do."

It's likely that the best result for the books, Walker said, will be for the Steelers to win but not cover the spread.

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