Las Vegas Odds Gone Wrong On Notre Dame's Season
In early June, the Las Vegas oddsmakers released their opening lines for Notre Dame's 2014 season- much to the surprise of many considering the despair on several games.
The obvious gaps that jumped off the page were the 21 point spread over Purdue and of course the underdog canyon of +24 to defending national champs Florida State.
Also of concern and foder for debate for many, was placing the Irish in the underdog role in 4 games at a combined spread of 44.5 points.
That would place the Irish on the negative in each by 11 points, or nearly 2 touchdowns.
Someone forgot to do their homework or simply understand the power the Irish bring to the table regardless of who they face, or the perception heading into each season. The Irish face teams that always play up to them- like Purdue. And in any year, Notre Dame has been known to lose to a Tulsa and wax a top ranked Sooner team in Norman.
Those that follow the Irish tooth and nail, from National Signing Day to the Blue and Gold game- would obviously have a little more input to argue odds and the underdog role. But this year's line's merited some concern if you were a betting person and you relied solely on lines and didn't do a little homework.
And even though Notre Dame had a few kinks to work out, talent alone existed and a 2 loss season was possible and well within reach. The defense was a question mark under newly acquired Brian VanGorder, but most saw the raw talent and possibility several highly sought after incoming freshman could play this year.
And of major importance in all this remains the item of the 5 players suspended on the year. 2 players projected to play major roles in the success the Irish could have this season.
KeiVarae Russell and Davaris Daniels were to be key contributors at their respective positions. Russell was toughted as one of the top corners in the nation and Daniels was coming off a big year and looked to spark an uptick in offensive output with the return of Everett Golson.
The Irish have managed without these players fairly well, but the possibilities for the entire year with atleast Daniels and Russell and the addition of Ishaq Williams would have added more depth and options overall.
With Russell in the lineup against the Noles, assuming he remained healthy all year- Everett Golson's heroics would have never been of concern late or even needed.
Here are the opening lines going into this season and the results up to the Florida State game with the final spread difference:
Aug. 30(-21) Rice
Home openers for any college powerhouse generally means a soft win or someone your fans get to see throttled to kick the season off. Heading into 2014, the Irish would face one of few double digit win teams from 2013-the Rice Owls. About the only thing uncertain during this game was if it would pour down rain early or at all. Some rain fell late, as did Rice.
Final Score: ND 48 Rice 17 (cover +10)
Sept. 6 (-3) Michigan
The rivalry came to end for a short window, as did the Wolverine season. Vegas got it's first mega miss, although no person called this blowout. Notre Dame not only would cover, but also had a late pick 6 absolved with a late flag- something that would rear itself later in the season.
Final Score: ND 31 Michigan 0 (cover + 28)
Sept. 13 (-21) vs. Purdue
The in-state rival and Shamrock Series contest turned out like many Irish-Boilermaker games lately. Although many may have seen the Irish as heavy favorites, the first head scratching line of the year appears here. Looking at history, many would understand that Purdue has played the Irish tough over the years. And -21 was steep no matter the circumstances. The game was close from start to finish, and the Irish would not cover.
Final Score: ND 30 Purdue 14 (no cover -5)
Sept. 27 (-5.5) vs. Syracuse
Another contest where Notre Dame would normally run away from a team like Syracuse. Most would remember the last time the two met at the end of Charlie Weis's career. The Orange pulled off the upset and all-world recruit Manti Teo received a few snowballs unintentionally from angry fans. No snow this evening.
Final Score: ND 31 Syracuse 15 (cover +10.5)
Oct. 4 (+6) Stanford
In what was to be Notre Dame's 1st loss in 2014, the magic of Everett Golson salvaged the season for the Irish with a late touchdown to tight end Ben Koyack. A cold, rainy day saw the traditional rivals spar like Ali and Frazier. Notre Dame would evade the defeat, and erase the spread altogether.
Final Score: ND 17 Stanford 14 (beat the spread +9)
Oct. 11 (-2.5) North Carolina
If looking ahead could ever be eraticated from our vocabulary, this game didn't help. Or did it? The Tar Heels caught the Irish in a perfect spot and played possibly their best game of the year. Notre Dame had trouble all day stopping North Carolina, but the Tar Heels equally couldn't adjust to the Irish offense. Some late gimme's had by the Heels made the final appear closer, but this was over mid 4th quarter. It may have been that early morning bucket of cold water for the Irish.
Final Score: ND 50 North Carolina 43 (cover +4.5)
Oct. 18 (+24) at FSU
And here we are: the big one. This was never supposed to be close, and for that matter- a win for the Irish. Perhaps one of the most absurd lines in recent memory, someone either overestimated the power of the champs or failed to scope out the Irish within reason. What turned out to be the the greatest game of the year in college football, and an instant classic- the Irish had a late flag negate a remarkable drive by Golson to pull off the upset. While the smoke is still hanging over the decisions made by the refs, Notre Dame stamped itself as a team to contend for a final playoff spot.
Final Score: ND 27 FSU 31(cover +20)
Plus/+ 77 Overall
Heading into 2014:
-Notre Dame overall was a -23 favorite combining all closing lines of 7 games
-Notre Dame would/could have been(based on closing lines) a 6 point favorite in each game
-Notre Dame thus far (based on actual results) would be an 11 point favorite in all 7 games
Nov. 1 (-3) at Navy
Nov. 8 (+4.5) at Arizona State
Nov. 15 (-8) Northwestern
Nov. 22 (-8) Louisville
Nov. 29 (+10) at USC
Out of the remaining games for the Irish this season, the 1 game that will stay close where lines are concerned is the Arizona State game on the road. Should the Irish remain healthy, and the Sun Devils get back Taylor Kelly- this line should remain the same or go down. The road slugfest against the Noles will factor into the opinion that Notre Dame is a good road team no matter the venue- and this will be some venue. That result(Florida State) will keep the line from trending up in favor of Arizona State- but they could remain the favorite.
The USC game will hinge entirely on where Notre Dame is. USC remains an up and down team, and more drama has engulfed the Trojans with former player Lendall White disrupting, or attempting to impede- anything Pat Haden is trying to achieve. His Twiiter comments won't detract from the actual ongoins within the program, but with the NCAA infractions coming to a close and an end in sight- the last thing USC needs is outside interference at any magnitude. Expect USC to put it all together, and if the Irish come in to L.A. having won their last 4, the line should sway in favor of the Irish- but not much. USC by 10 will not remain.
The ending lines of Navy and Northwestern should rise.
Louisville is scary today. A tough defense coming into South Bend, on senior day- stinks on ice. It may go down, but assured will not rise. Weather could factor into how big a favorite the Irish are with the late November date.