Notre Dame – Michigan Line Surging Towards Irish Has Me Worried

Notre Dame opened up as a surprising four-point road underdog to the lower-ranked Michigan Wolverines this week.  That line, however, has been surging towards Notre Dame ever since opening, and the Irish are now favored in the content.  That is officially a five-point swing since opening, and I am officially worried now.

I, like most people, was surprised when Notre Dame opened as such a big underdog to a two-loss Michigan team ranked ten spots lower in the polls that also lost to Notre Dame in 2018 to open the season. What did Vegas know that we didn’t?  Logic suggested that Notre Dame would open as the favorite or, at worst, a slight underdog.  Home teams typically get three points for being the home team.  That means Vegas thought Michigan was a one-point favorite on a neutral field.

The line swinging this much tells us that all of the money is being placed on Notre Dame right now.  A line doesn’t move that much without significant money being placed on the side the line is moving towards.

So here is why I am worried.  Vegas is smarter than us.  A lot smarter than us.  Vegas doesn’t make Notre Dame a four-point underdog unless it expects that kind of line to result in significant cash being bet on Notre Dame.  And Vegas getting what they wanted, in this case, might not be good for Notre Dame.

It’s almost as if Vegas wanted a ton of money to be placed on Notre Dame because it’s confident that Michigan will win this outright.

Could I just be being irrationally worried again?  Perhaps.  But the last time I was worried when most Irish fans felt fine, my worries turned out to be warranted.  Many Notre Dame fans felt the Irish would blow out USC two weeks ago, but something about that game didn’t feel great to me.  Notre Dame ended up needing to hold on to win that one.

Now, Notre Dame has been great against the spread this year (5-1) while Michigan’s been pretty terrible against it for the last two years now.  They are 3-8 against the spread in their previous 11 games.  So again, the odds do appear to favor the Irish in this one.  Still, something about the line moving this much has me worried.

Notre Dame even has some built-in advantages this weekend with a bye week last week and being on fall break this week removing the NCAA mandated 20-hour limit on players’ practice time.  Even with that, I am having a hard time getting past this line.

Hopefully, I am just overly nervous given Notre Dame’s recent history at the Big House – it’s been a downright house of horrors for the Irish.  We’ll know soon enough with kickoff coming in just over 48 hours.  It’ll be interesting to see where the line ends up closing before then.  Maybe it was Vegas’s master plan all along to get the line to swing back to Notre Dame so that a lot of big, late money gets placed on the Wolverines?  Who knows.  All I know is, what Vegas wants, they usually get.

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  1. ND should have been favored in the first place so the opening line was pure crap. Rain or not , a loss means this program has taken a step back.

  2. Well, I too am worried about this game. And if Frank is worried that makes me worried as well. He’s been following the Irish in detail for a long time–probably almost as much as one of the coaches. So I think he may see things that those of us that don’t get into as much detail may not.

    That’s not to say he’s ‘right’ 100% of the time. Just that if he’s concerned I would be too.

    And I am. It’s Michigan. Like USC they always seem to play us tough, no matter what their season is like. And it’s at the Big House. ND needs to silence the house quick with a few quick scores.

    I think if it’s a close game the Big House might be enough to help Michigan to a win. ND needs to try to dominate in this game. Don’t be conservative this week. Go at them hard and do everything they can to put them away early. A close game is bad for the Irish.

    And ND needs to expect Michigan to come out swinging. They’ll find out soon enough how hard Michigan is going to fight. But expect a fight and if it’s not–all the better.

  3. That all could be true but traditionally the Vegas insiders will tell you that ND is typically the hardest team to create a line for because of the popularity of the school.
    To quote a notorious wise guy, “if a group of nuns is walking through a casino the only team they will ever bet on is the Irish.”
    The bigger concern is that Michigan is a desperate team and their coach is taking a lot of heat. This is really their only chance to salvage the season.
    I would not recommend the DVR for this one.

  4. Frank: Does super scary Vegas want to get “middled”? Because that’s exactly what they may get, unless our defense has a great day and Michigan can’t score, or our offense stalls for a quarter or two and our “D” can’t make up for it enough to keep us in the game. I don’t think I’d be philanticizing about either of those two possibilities saving my butt if I just offered a four 1/2 point cushion for bettors.

    BGC ’77 ’82

  5. Pedro where did you get your crystal ball at, kmart? The weather of any kind can be a factor good or bad but the Irish are only a few hours down the road from the skunk bears so they are use to this kind of weather. And by no means is Michigan assured any victory
    And about this targeting call did your crystal ball give you a name? Go put your milk money on Michigan but I will be putting mine on the Irish.

  6. Frank has nailed it here. Weather will be a huge factor, 50 degrees and rain throughout the game will relegate this one to a running and turnover contest. The Irish’s advantage in the passing game will be largely negated. Expect at least one bogus targeting call that removes one of our star defensive players. Also expect numerous bad calls go against the Irish. Michigan is assured a victory in this spot, unfortunately

    1. I have a PSU friend that hates Michigan probably just about as much as I do. He once had a funny picture of the refs all with Michigan hats on. I’ll never forget that Armanda Allen run (was it a TD–I don’t recall exactly but it was a great run) that they said he was out of bounds on—and you can see green between his foot and the sideline.

      And Michigan gets a lot of those kinds of calls. Probably because they’re a bunch of whiners. Whenever they lose a game they always complain about the officiating–kind of ironic I think.

  7. I dont think the Vegas line means a hill of beans.Two things imo will determine this game. How well Book plays and what kind of game does Long call. If Book and Long are clicking Notredame wins.If they dont most likely Michigan wins.I believe Notredame is the better more talented team but that doesn’t mean they are going to win.See Wisconsin vs Illinois for example.

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