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Las Vegas oddsmakers like Colts in Super Bowl, early money on Saints

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

7-11 Bar and Grill owner Brad Huffman, center, celebrates with patrons after the New Orleans Saints beat the Minnesota Vikings in overtime on Jan. 24 to clinch their first Super Bowl berth.

Updated Sunday, Jan. 24, 2010 | 9:23 p.m.

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Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning (18) is seen on the field during the celebration after the Colts' 30-17 win over the New York Jets in the AFC Championship NFL football game Sunday, Jan 24, 2010, in Indianapolis. The Colts advance to the Super Bowl.

Click to enlarge photo

New Orleans Saints kicker Garrett Hartley (5) celebrates with his teammates after kicking the winning field goal during overtime in the NFC Championship NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2010. The Saints defeated the Vikings 31-28 to advance to the Super Bowl against the Indianapolis Colts.

The Indianapolis Colts are favored to win Super Bowl XLIV, according to Las Vegas oddsmakers, but early money wagered at Nevada sports books has been on the New Orleans Saints.

The Colts (16-2) opened as a 5.5-point favorite Sunday evening by Las Vegas Sports Consultants, the group that sets the betting line. It set the over-under total at 56 points.

Within one hour, however, the number was bet down to 4.5 points at the Las Vegas Hilton and Station Casinos properties. The Colts are favored by 4 points at MGM Mirage properties.

The total has been bet down to 55.5 points at Station Casinos.

The Colts are making their second trip to the Super Bowl in four seasons, having won Super Bowl XLI in 2007. They beat the New York Jets 30-17 on Sunday in the AFC championship game.

The Saints (15-3) advanced with a 31-28 overtime victory against the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship.

As New Orleans Saints kicker Garrett Hartley lined up for a field goal Sunday evening that would send the Saints to their first Super Bowl, a confident wind blew into 7-11 Bar and Grill, 2520 Arville St., which caters to Saints fans.

"Olay, olay, olay, olay," the black-and-gold-clad crowd sang.

Moments later, as the football drifted through the uprights at the Louisiana Superdome, there was no singing — only a rapturous roar followed by hugs, kisses and tears.

"I don't want to sleep for two or three days," Robert Vincent, a transplanted Louisianan said with watery eyes. "I don't want to wake up from this dream."

Hundreds of Saints fans shared the moment at 7-11 Bar and Grill as they have for every Saints game this season. The bar is owned and operated by Louisiana native Brad Huffman and his family.

"I can't even describe to you what this means," Huffman said. "I don't know when it will hit me."

The team that had no home five years ago after Hurricane Katrina ravaged its city and the Superdome overcame a slew of mistakes in the biggest game the Big Easy has ever seen.

"This is for everybody in this city," said coach Sean Payton, the architect of the Saints' turnaround. "This stadium used to have holes in it and used to be wet. It's not wet anymore. This is for the city of New Orleans."

Nevada typically handles $85 million to $95 million in Super Bowl wagers annually. It has more than 170 sports books.

The Super Bowl is Feb. 7 in Miami.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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