Vegas bookmakers backing Brady's Patriots in Super Bowl

MINNEAPOLIS, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Las Vegas casinos are joining the Tom Brady fan club since their share of what is expected to be a record year for Super Bowl wagers will increase if the quarterback's New England Patriots beat the Philadelphia Eagles.

The defending champion Patriots are 4-1/2 point favorites heading into the National Football League's championship game in Minneapolis, with the bulk of the bets still to come in ahead of Sunday's 6:30 p.m. ET (2330 GMT) kickoff.

For MGM Resorts International (MGM.N), which operates 10 sports books on the Las Vegas Strip, the early action has them pulling for the Patriots to win but not cover the spread.

Jay Rood, vice president of the race and sports book at MGM Resorts, said he was already seeing good money coming in and was optimistic that this year's Super Bowl wagers would be big.

"It's a great match-up and the Patriots fanbase brings out really strong players," Rood said in an interview.

"And gamblers are used to playing the Patriots during the regular season because they perform well during the regular season most of the time and that sort of familiarity is sort of comforting to a lot of players."

33 PHOTOS
Super Bowl LII WAGs: Wives and girlfriends of Patriots and Eagles players
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Super Bowl LII WAGs: Wives and girlfriends of Patriots and Eagles players

Camille Kostek, girlfriend of Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski

It’s widely reported that this former Patriots cheerleader has been dating Gronk on and off since 2015, one year after she left the team. Perhaps this was due to the NFL’s “no fraternization” rule, which forbids contact between players and cheerleaders outside games and other league events. Now, she’s working as a model and reportedly trying to break into broadcast journalism.

Photo credit: Instagram @camillekostek

Camille Kostek, girlfriend of Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski

Photo credit: Instagram @camillekostek

Julie Ertz, wife of Eagles tight end Zach Ertz

One half of a mega-athletic power couple, Julie Ertz nèe Johnson was a defender on the World Cup-winning U.S. women’s soccer team in 2015. The 25-year-old appeared in the viral headlines recently when she missed her husband’s NFC Championship game for a USWNT exhibition, only to cry tears of joy when she found out he’d be going to the Super Bowl. She also posed in ESPN’s Body Issue last summer.

Photo credit: Instagram @julieertz

Julie Ertz, wife of Eagles tight end Zach Ertz

Photo credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Marissa Van Noy, wife of Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy

Kyle Van Noy actually met his future wife in 2011 when she was just 18, a couple years before she was named Miss Utah USA in 2013. She almost won the national competition, too, placing as third runner-up and winning Miss Photogenic at the pageant.

Photo credit: REUTERS/Steve Marcus

Marissa Van Noy, wife of Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy

Photo credit: Instagram @realmarissavannoy

Viviana Volpicelli, girlfriend of Eagles receiver Nelson Agholor

Volpicelli is a beauty blogger and model who graduated from USC in 2017, a few years after Agholor did.

Photo Credit: Instagram @viviana_volpicelli

Viviana Volpicelli, girlfriend of Eagles receiver Nelson Agholor

Photo Credit: Instagram @viviana_volpicelli

Olivia Culpo, girlfriend of Patriots receiver Danny Amendola

Only a “pretty good-looking guy” like Danny Amendola (according to Tom Brady) could snag a lady like Culpo, a former Miss USA and Sports Illustrated model for the upcoming 2018 swimsuit issue. These two were first spotted together cuddling at Coachella in 2016.

Photo credit: Instagram @oliviaculpo

Olivia Culpo, girlfriend of Patriots receiver Danny Amendola

Photo credit: Instagram @oliviaculpo

Mackenzie Dempsey, fiancé of Patriots center David Andrews

Dempsey and Andrews are the classic football couple. They met while they were both attending the University of Georgia -- Andrews was a three-year starter at center, while Dempsey was a cheerleader. Even though Andrews graduated in spring 2015, he went back to Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga. in the fall to propose to Dempsey at the 50-yard line of the field they often shared.

Photo credit: Instagram @mackdemp26

Mackenzie Dempsey, fiancé of Patriots center David Andrews

Photo credit: Instagram @mackdemp26

Morissa Jenkins, wife of Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins

Morissa and Malcolm married and had a daughter, Elle, while he played for the New Orleans Saints between 2009-2013. The show-stopping pair once walked down the aisle together at the Saks Fifth Avenue Player Wives’ Association Charitable Fashion Show in 2014.

Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Morissa Jenkins, wife of Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins

Photo credit: Instagram @bellameaux

Ricki Noel Lander, girlfriend of Patriots owner Robert Kraft

The 38-year-old Lander and the 76-year-old Kraft have experienced some bizarre publicity attached to their May-December relationship, but they’re still going after more than five years of dating.

Photo credit: REUTERS/Gus Ruelas

Ricki Noel Lander, girlfriend of Patriots owner Robert Kraft

Photo credit: Noel Vasquez/GC Images

Ashley Boccio, wife of Patriots receiver Chris Hogan

This pair got engaged during a trip to New York in 2014, and tied the knot in July 2017. They have two Great Danes and welcomed their first children, twins Chase and Parker, to the family last year.

Photo credit: Instagram @chrishogan_15

Ashley Boccio, wife of Patriots receiver Chris Hogan

Photo credit: Instagram @chrishogan_15

Emily Stratton, girlfriend of Patriots punter Ryan Allen

Stratton works as a nurse and studied at the University of Portland.

Photo credit: Instagram @estratton

Emily Stratton, girlfriend of Patriots punter Ryan Allen

Photo credit: Instagram @estratton

Diana Civi, girlfriend of Patriots running back James White

Civi went to college with White at Wisconsin, where she earned a degree in general biology.  

Photo credit: Instagram @dianacivii

Diana Civi, girlfriend of Patriots running back James White

Photo credit: Instagram @dianacivii

Chelsey Walton, girlfriend of Patriots safety Nate Ebner

Ebner, a Patriots special teamer, met his girlfriend while they both attended Ohio State. Walton is a nutrition specialist, which might have helped Ebner when he rotated between representing the USA in the 2016 Olympics on the rugby team and playing in last year’s Super Bowl in a span of six months.

Photo credit: Instagram

Chelsey Walton, girlfriend of Patriots safety Nate Ebne

Photo credit: Instagram @chelseyjwalton

Sascha Smith, girlfriend of Eagles receiver Alshon Jeffery

Jeffery was previously engaged in 2014, as was Smith (to former NBA star Ben Gordon). But after the wideout seemed to endure a bit of a messy breakup with his former fiancée, he and Smith have mostly stayed out of the public eye -- Jeffery’s Instagram is private, a rarity for a high-profile athlete. They welcomed a daughter named Kaiya in 2017.

Photo credit: Instagram @calhounpresident

Terri Foles, wife of Eagles quarterback Nick Foles

These lovebirds got married after spending only two months engaged from February to April 2014. They both had already been dating for years, however, as athletes at the University of Arizona. Tori played volleyball while Nick led the Wildcats to one of the team’s most successful periods in recent memory. They welcomed their first child, a girl named Lily, in June of 2017.

Photo credit: Instagram

Terri Foles, wife of Eagles quarterback Nick Foles

Photo credit: Twitter

Melissa Uhrich, girlfriend of Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz

Unfortunately, Wentz won’t be playing in the Super Bowl due to his torn knee ligament. But it’s still worth highlighting his high school sweetheart, Melissa Uhrich. Despite attending different colleges in North Dakota, they only lived 4 miles apart. Even though Wentz plays in Philadelphia in the NFL now, they don’t live together because of their religious beliefs.

Photo credit: Twitter

Jeannie Pederson, wife of Eagles coach Doug Pederson

Jeannie and Doug met on a blind date at a Louisiana pizzeria in 1990, then married the next year when Jeannie was still a high school senior and Doug was a freshman in college. She then completed her nursing degree and played basketball at Louisiana College while he played quarterback professionally in Europe before eventually returning stateside and getting into coaching. They now have three boys named Joel, Josh and Drew.

Photo credit: Instagram

Linda Holliday, girlfriend of Patriots coach Bill Belichick

You’d likely never guess if you knew Bill Belichick’s personality, but he reportedly met his longtime girlfriend -- who’s 11 years younger than he is -- in a Florida nightclub in 2007. The old-school coach then apparently sent her flowers the next day, and the rest is history.

Photo credit: Instagram @lindaholliday_

Linda Holliday, girlfriend of Patriots coach Bill Belichick

Photo credit: Instagram @lindaholliday_

Gisele Bundchen, wife of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady

Brady and Bundchen have been dating since 2006, having long reigned as an NFL power couple. Brady tied the knot with the Brazilian model in 2009 and they now have two kids together. Bundchen reportedly wants Brady to retire, but for now, she’s still queen of the NFL WAGs.

Photo credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Gisele Bundchen, wife of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady

Photo credit: Instagram @gisele

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The $138.5 million in Super Bowl bets that was wagered in Nevada's sports books last year easily surpassed the previous high of $132.5 million set the previous year, according to the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

This year's match-up, featuring a Patriots team seeking their third title in four seasons, and an Eagles outfit seeking their first Super Bowl, is expected to set a new mark for betting on the championship game in Nevada.

"It's a good match-up," said Mike Lawton, senior research analyst for the Nevada Gaming Control Board. "Obviously the Patriots are going to attract a lot of attention, so are the Eagles. The economy is doing good and that's going to help."

Aside from more traditional bets, gamblers can take a chance on proposition bets, like deciding which team will score first, whether a player will leave the game with a concussion and what color liquid will be poured on the winning coach.

Among some of the more unique proposition bets are how many times U.S. President Donald Trump will tweet during the game, how long Pink will take to sing the national anthem and how many times Brady's supermodel wife Gisele Bundchen will be shown during the live broadcast. (Reporting by Frank Pingue; Editing by John O'Brien)

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Tom Brady at Super Bowl Opening Night
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Tom Brady at Super Bowl Opening Night
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 29: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) answers questions during Super Bowl LII Opening Night on January 29, 2018, at the Xcel Energy Center in Minneapolis, MN. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ST PAUL, MN - JANUARY 29: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots waves to the media during SuperBowl LII Media Day at Xcel Energy Center on January 29, 2018 in St Paul, Minnesota. Super Bowl LII will be played between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles on February 4. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
ST PAUL, MN - JANUARY 29: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots speaks to the media during SuperBowl LII Media Day at Xcel Energy Center on January 29, 2018 in St Paul, Minnesota. Super Bowl LII will be played between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles on February 4. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 29: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) answers questions during Super Bowl LII Opening Night on January 29, 2018, at the Xcel Energy Center in Minneapolis, MN. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ST PAUL, MN - JANUARY 29: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots and head coach Doug Pederson of the Philadelphia Eagles shake hands during Super Bowl Media Day at Xcel Energy Center on January 29, 2018 in St Paul, Minnesota. Super Bowl LII will be played between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles on February 4. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
ST PAUL, MN - JANUARY 29: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots speaks to the media during SuperBowl LII Media Day at Xcel Energy Center on January 29, 2018 in St Paul, Minnesota. Super Bowl LII will be played between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles on February 4. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
ST PAUL, MN - JANUARY 29: Nick Foles #9 of the Philadelphia Eagles and Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots answer questions during Super Bowl Media Day at Xcel Energy Center on January 29, 2018 in St Paul, Minnesota. Super Bowl LII will be played between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles on February 4. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (R)) and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles share the stage for an interview during Super Bowl Opening Night at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S. January 29, 2018 REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Jan 29, 2018; St. Paul, MN, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) addresses the media during Super Bowl LII Opening Night at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 29, 2018; St. Paul, MN, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady waves to the crowd from the stage during Super Bowl LII Opening Night at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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