Vegas braces for the public betting against Michigan

Submitted by jamiemac on September 5th, 2008 at 10:41 AM

Michigan will attempt to get its first win of the season tomorrow against the Miami Ohio Redhawks and, despite last week's struggles, oddsmakers are factoring a comfy Wolverine win. They've installed Michigan as a 14-point tomorrow against Miami. My first thought is can Michigan even score 14 points? Wait, dont answer that.

Seriously, I'd just take two long marches down the field for TDs tomorrow just to prove the team can do it. Covering the spread or winning handily would be nothing but gravy. The line has not budged all week. Perhaps people aren't willing to fade the Wolverines just yet in the matchup because Miami was a disappointment in their opener versus Vandy. Playing at home, Miami was favored in the game and the line grew from -2 to -4 in the week leading up to the contest. A lot of people backed a MAC division favorite against an bottom tiered SEC team. A lot of people lost as Vandy outclassed Miami from start to finish.

The experts in the desert, however, are expecting the public to bet against Michigan all season long and have adjusted some of their lines accordingly. The site I use to get future lines had released over the summer a spot on three of Michigan's games, their road contests at Notre Dame, Penn State and Ohio State. Those lines remained largely unchanged in the lead up to the season opener. After opening week, the book took down all their future lines for the rest of the season and after a couple days of deliberation re-posted them to take into account new public perceptions after the first weekend of games. All three of Michigan's games on that board have changed dramatically. Lets take a look:

9/13 at Notre Dame. Opening Line, ND -3.5. Current Line, ND -8.5. Wow, i dont really know what to say here. A full 5-point leap in the spread. I about fell off my chair when I saw that. I am suspicious about this line as we dont even know what the Irish really has to offer yet this year. They are 20-point favorites in their opener tomorrow against San Diego State. If they struggle in that game, next week's line will probably come down a point or two. But, what if ND blows the doors off of the Aztecs tomorrow? They might be double digit favorites against Michigan when game week rolls around. From a betting standpoint, I like seeing Michigan the underdog in this matchup. The favorite has only covered the spread five times since the modern series resumed in 1978 and the underdog actually has a winning record straight up in this game in that time frame.  Let this sink in: Notre Dame has not played a game since ending their worst season ever with a 3-9 mark. Yet, in order to entice the public to bet Michigan next week, oddsmakers feel the need to install ND as almost a double digit favorite. Yikes!

10/18 at Penn St. Opening Line, PSU -9.5. Current Line, PSU -13. Much like the above logic: Michigan has not lost to PSU in a decade, but in order to entice people into dropping some cash on the Maize and Blue, oddsmakers have made them nearly 2 touchdown underdogs.

11/22 at OSU. Opening Line, OSU -14.5. Current Line, OSU -18. Like the PSU game, this line has jumped by 3.5 points. Right now, the oddsmakers are saying this looks to be the biggest mismatch in the hisotry of this great rivalry.

Other things of import:

We now have a line on the Michigan St-Michigan game to be played at the Big House on 10/25. Remarkably, Michigan is a 1-point favorite right now.

Next week's clash of titans between OSU and USC is off the board. Originally, USC was a 5-point favorite, but its reasonable to assume this game has been pulled from the board while the Beanie Wells' status remains a mystery.

The only other line I saw that differed much from the original line from over the summer was in the Florida-Georgia game in early November. Originally, Florida was favored by 1 point, but that line has jumped siginficantly to -4.5. The Bulldogs lost their top run stuffer for the season and that appears to have been enough for the oddsmakers to finally label one of these teams as a distinct favorite in the contest.

Otherwise, not the most groundbreaking news, but I figured some readers might like to see how the odds have shifted on Michigan games based on their opening result.



September 5th, 2008 at 11:03 AM ^

Here's the thing: spreads reflect expected betting tendencies, not the expected outcome of the game. I know you essentially said this, but OSU isn't favored by 18 points just because they're expected to blow our doors off; they're favored by 18 points because Vegas is desperate for anybody to bet on us for that game.


September 5th, 2008 at 11:49 AM ^

Thats the basic premise of what the oddsmakers do as well as the premise of my post. They're pumping these lines even higher to find somebody willing to back the Wolverines right now.

Bookies got destroyed on last week's game. Everyone was on Utah. Depending on when and where you started tracking lines, that game opened at -7 UM several weeks before the game, but it was -3 the morning off kickoff. Nobody bet Michigan and it did not really matter how much the line fell.

That said, I do think on several occassions, Vegas will set a line in hopes of attracting one-sided bets against the House. They know exactly what they're doing.


September 5th, 2008 at 11:03 AM ^

Quit holding out and give me some picks.

My ass is sore from the pounding I took last week. 19 point favorites and you are going to win by 18, Indiana? Really? Really?


September 5th, 2008 at 11:37 AM ^

not sure if Brian would appreciate me turning his site into my picks

But, if you must know....i am taking Navy tonight +7 at Ball State. A fade Brady Hoke special.

And, I know I am also taking Georgia Tech +7 tomorrow at BC.

Otherwise, still looking at this weekend's card. Had Vandy last night and am 6-2 on the young season so of those losses was MSU last week. Foockers!!!!!


September 5th, 2008 at 11:40 AM ^

Just how bad is San Diego St? Last year's ND team could barely score 20 points let alone win by 20. Seriously, I don't get it. Can that OL block enough for the world to find out if Claussen can QB? Can they block enough to run at all? The only reason to believe the answer to any of these questions is 'yes' is because everyone is a year older. They certainly haven't demonstrated any competence. Getting better from experience hinges greatly on coaching. Weis has hardly demonstrated any ability to develop players. Frickin' 20 points? More than a TD against Michigan? I don't see it.

 Nice post though. Taking the Steelers in my terminator pool. It was either them or the Giants. While the Giants won that game was way closer than it should have been.

Go Blue Toledo

September 5th, 2008 at 3:57 PM ^

Ball State will win by at least 17...probably more like 30. Navy has a new head coach and Ball State has some serious prospects on the field for them. Plus its at ball state.....give the points, lock it up

Another general rule about betting lines. If you like a favorite then you want to take them early in the week. Squares (amateur idiots) will give the points later in the week, because they dont have the stones or intelligence to take points, which will drive the line up even higher getting closer to gametime. On the same token, Bet and underdog as late as possible, because in most cases there will be fluctuation in the line that will favor betting on the underdog.


September 5th, 2008 at 4:21 PM ^

Those are good rules of thumb.

We disagree on tonight's game. Navy may have a new coach, but he's leftover from the old regime and running the same offense. During the middies resurgence here in recent years, they have plugged new guys in and not skipped a beat. Often, they dont have many returning starters from the year before. This was a 3-point game last year, I expect another close one.

Here's one of my rules: Underdogs who out rush their opponent have an excellent rate of covering the spread. The key is determing who will out rush who and thats a hard thing to do.

But, not with Navy. They out rush everyone. And, they'll outgain BSU tonight on the ground from anywhere between 75 and 150 yards. Navy is 14-4 ATS as a dog, and I've been on them the whole time because of the whole rushing theory.

I see no reason to get off that train tonight.


September 5th, 2008 at 4:40 PM ^

You guys should do a weekly gambling thread. I love to bet on football, but that's because I'm a gambling addict. My strategy is to get drunk, get online at 3AM, and start betting. This is why I usually lose, except for the once every three years occurence where I hit a six team parlay or something.

Go Blue Toledo

September 6th, 2008 at 1:33 PM ^

That sounds BRILLIANT! I will definitely start doing that on either Thursday or Friday. Hopefully everybody else will chime in.  I also give a couple picks(GUARUNTEED WINNERS! HAHA) on the toolshed blog. Such as Ball St. BOO YA!

Go Blue Toledo

September 6th, 2008 at 1:24 PM ^

 Ball State is a solid team, I had no doubt they would cover...I was actually quite surprised it was that close.  Nate Davis never throws picks, especially against a team like Navy, so that made the game much closer than it should have been



September 7th, 2008 at 10:12 PM ^

Nice call.....dont spend the 10 bucks all in one place.

It was anybody's ball game. Navy left a lot of points on the board. Each team scored on their first three drives, but BSU got TDs and Navy had to settle for FGs in the red zone. Plus Navy failed on two different 4rth and shorts, the last one on the three when they were going in for the go ahead score, down 28-23 late in the 3rd Q.

I think thats where they miss Paul Johnson. He has a great system, but knew exactly what play to dial up and when. Navy failed in key spots, but moved the ball at will. I was very impressed with Nate Davis and his chemistry with his wideouts. They will give CMU a run for their money in the MAC.

Speaking of Paul Johnson, did you see his new team win outright. At least I called that. After kicking me while down, you could at least pull me back up by pointing that out. I also had UB. Watch out for those guys in MAC play this year. Two winning weeks to start the year!

old fan

September 6th, 2008 at 7:15 PM ^

What are the thoughts on the line after today's set of games. Notre Dame is anything but impressive. We didn't change too many minds either. I think it moves back to the original line. It is a pick em with the home field advantage moving it in thier favor. No way is it double digits after this game.


September 7th, 2008 at 10:37 PM ^ it would be irrelevant now to tell you what I think will happen, although I was leaning to what you said.

But....guess what? The line is carib sports, the only place I can find where you can get a wager down for next week's game.

UM -1 over ND!! Wow. Opened at ND -3.5. Spent a week at ND -8.5. Now, UM is favored. In case nobody sees this, I am posting a new diary for discussion.