One of the things you always here on sports talk radio is the phrase “the line is telling me something.”
While there might be sound fiscal reasons behind the phrase, there are a couple of things wrong with that reasoning.
Take the Temple football opener at Notre Dame for instance.
The game opened way back in February with the Irish as a 6.5 favorite. Even one of the Notre Dame websites had a headline we published here: “Irish open as ONLY a touchdown favorite over Temple.”
It is now 15 points, mostly moved by a John Q. Public that sees the brand “Notre Dame” as good and “Temple” as bad. A century of mostly success on one hand, failure on the other, has set the perception in stone, although in the last decade the Owls have started to chip away at the rock. It’s a big rock and there’s more chipping to do.
That’s the first problem with what the line tells you.
The second is that the people in Vegas cannot know how good or bad either team can be.
Temple is coming off a 10-4 season, while Notre Dame is coming off a 4-8 one. Different schedules for sure, but one of the four losses Temple had was at the Big 10 champion by a touchdown in a game where the Owls had 120 yards in penalties. While many of those yards were self-inflicted, a good number of them were the result of very bad calls—the replay showed Dion Dawkins clearly blocking from the side (legal) on a touchdown pass to Marshall Ellick, a play that was called back due to a block in the back (illegal). Unfortunately, holding calls are not reviewable or the Owls might be the only G5 champion with a win over a P5 champion last year.
That would have done a lot to change the perceptions of the bettors for this game.
Vegas does not know how, say, for sake of argument Anthony Russo or Logan Marchi are because they never took bets on Archbishop Wood or St. Paul’s (Conn.).
Vegas does not know what Collins’ famed “Mayhem” defense will look like.
They could find out on Sept. 2. (In all fairness, either way.)
That’s why another betting phrase comes to mind first when thinking about how the Owls play in this one.
Notre Dame has more to lose and will play tighter than Temple, which will take this loosey goosey attitude into the game. Whether that leads to more fumbles and interceptions going Temple’s way is yet to be determined but that’s one thing the line cannot tell you today.
So, right now, 53 days before the game, no matter how loud that line yells in your ear, the best policy is not to listen.
Wednesday: Marketing Mayhem