Vegas has already posted some interesting lines for a few prominent games on the ND schedule next year. I like reading Phil Steele and all the preview magazines, but I'm always curious to see how we stack up in the sportsbooks. The handicappers out there usually have a pretty good read on things.
Check these out courtesy of the Golden Nugget. As always, for entertainment purposes only!
Notre Dame -17
Obviously, these are subject to change, but I am SHOCKED by a few of these lines.
Nevada - Starting with the Nevada game, I know Nevada is a similar team to the Hawaii team that we ran off the field last year, but that 17 number looks extremely high for that opening game. I honestly thought the line for the Nevada game was going to be something like -6.5 with a lot of people betting Nevada on the moneyline.
Could I see us blowing them out?? Yes, no question. The formula is going to be very similar to Hawaii. Blow their doors open offensively with the aerial attack and get a ton of pressure on Kaepernick with aggressive blitz packages. If that happened, we could easily jump out on them 21-3 in the second quarter and cruise to an easy cover.
But man, I've seen us look shaky so many times in recent years that I'm a little leery of that line. Isn't it equally likely that we'll be trailing 21-20 midway through the 3rd quarter while the team looks lifeless on the sideline and every fan in the stadium is in a full-fledged panic?? My feeling on a betting line is that you shouldn't be a 17 point favorite when there's a legitimate possibility that you might lose the game.
Anyway, I could see us covering the -17, but that line seems a little high.
Michigan - The Michigan line is also interesting because I'm surprised that the line is so low. Considering that we beat Michigan by 18 points last year, I didn't think that the line would only be 3.5 right now.
I'm trying to decide if Michigan is getting a ton of respect here or if we are getting too little respect. If the consensus is that ND is poised to win 9-10 games next year, what does that mean Vegas thinks Michigan will do?? Do they think they are a 7-8 win team even with a freshman quarterback??
I know the game is at the Big House and that you generally throw out the records and past results in the ND-Michigan game, but I thought this line would in the 6-7 range for now with the possibility that it would drop to 3.5 if Michigan looked good in the opening game. Having it at 3.5 for now lends me to believe that it could conceivably drift towards a pick em game by kickoff.
If you are feeling good about that game for the Irish, you might want to jump on that bet now.
Michigan State - Another pretty high line at home for us against a program that has given us fits for years. I know MSU is rebuilding, but I'm expecting that game to be a war yet again this year.
USC - No big shock that we're a double digit dog to USC even though the game is in South Bend. We didn't get a first down until the 3rd quarter last year against them and looked like a high school team for the most part. I think we were around 13-14 point underdogs in the 2005 game as well, so it's not like this is the first time we've ever been a double digit underdog at home to USC before. What was the line right before kickoff in that 2005 game?? 13.5??
I think we're going to have a good team this year, but even I don't think we'll have a USC-caliber squad. Could we beat them at home?? Absolutely we could. USC always goes through a midseason swoon, and it could easily happen when they show up in South Bend in October. But they're still USC, and they are pretty much double digit favorites against everyone they play. If USC shows up with their "A" game, we could easily get blown out even at home.
Honestly, I hope this line stays around 10 all the way up until game time. I would rather go into the game as a huge dog and use it as motivation for that game. Maybe USC will show up a little flat while we are sky high looking to make a statement to the nation.
If USC is undefeated coming into South Bend and ND is undefeated as well, it will be interesting to see what the line is. I could see it dropping into the 6-7 range, but could also see it staying at 10. If it's still at 10, pencil me in for betting on the Irish. And pencil me in for camping out for College Gameday!!
BC - 7 points seems about right considering all the personnel losses BC has had. Still makes me nervous though coming off an emotional game with USC and our history against BC in recent years. I can't remember the last time we actually played well against BC.
Pitt - Whoa! Where is all the respect for Pitt coming from?? I didn't expect to see us as a dog to anyone but USC as we head into the season. Did the Golden Nugget miss the memo that Shady McCoy is no longer a Pitt Panther?? I know we lost to them last year, but Pitt has lost quite a few talented players. Maybe there's a lot more confidence in Dave Wannstedt than I thought.
That's another game that looks like a great betting opportunity now if you think the Irish are poised for a big season.
So there's an early look at the Vegas odds for now. Judging by their early odds, I'd say they are pretty bullish on the Irish this year with the caveat that we could slip up to someone like Michigan or Pitt if we don't come out ready to play. Sounds about right to me.