House Money


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.”

The horror.

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.

House Money.

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


16 thoughts on “House Money

  1. Another loss from 2016 was a humilating season opening loss at home to Army , 28-13.
    Let’s stop obsessing about Notre Dame and lets start worrying about beating USF, Houston, Tulsa and Navy , so we can get back to a AAC championship game.

  2. Actually Mike, I think Temple has a lot to lose by having so much to gain. It could add pressure on them. Hopefully, ND will feel more pressure. It’s up to the coaching staff to have the players loosey-goosey for the game. My worst fear is Temple gets blown out. Then I vascilate to feeling they have a really good chance to win. A close loss won’t be a moral victory but it will at least keep the Owls in good standing and give them some confidence. Either way is Nova a catch game?

  3. The line moved I believe because Wimbush, the 5 star qb who de-committed from PSU likely looks phenomenal. Couple that with a top ten receiving corps and offensive line, an experienced coach, home field advantage, and a bad taste in ND’s mouth from last season versus a team that has to play on the road with a new coach and qb, lost several NFL draft picks, and its last game to an average WF team, the line is not surprising at all.

    • Additionally , Notre Dame’s new DC is Mike Elko. Elko was Wake Forest’s DC last season . Wake Forest shut down Temple’s offense in the 1st half of last year’s Military Bowl.

      • To George: That’s true but had TU not lost its coaches and not been forced to go with Foley, who appeared not to be ready for the game as he ran no plays behind Dawkins and called plays that played into WF’s hands, they would have performed much better. It was clear that WF had its linemen penetrating on every play and I can’t recall TU resorting to play action, draws, or screens to beat what WF was doing. I’m not blaming Foley because he was given a job without having a full complement of coaches for a significant period of time before the bowl game something WF did not have to deal with.

    • The key to Temple winning this game is the O Line. If Armstead, Gardner and Wright can establish the run game early behind the O Line, then Temple will be in this game. You can count on Notre Dame coming after Temple with a pass rush defense , especially with an inexperience QB .

      • That’s why a bubble screen to a guy like Isaiah Wright could be one of many effective counters Dave Patenaude has in mind for that over-pursuit.

  4. Maybe ND will be looking ahead to the game the next week with UGA.

  5. What makes me the most nervous is that this really sets the beginning tone for the season. A win here will get a collective sigh of relief from the fan base, and a loss leaves us only with questions.

    Still, I miss Bradshaw’s scheduling. Put us up against titans (not say ND is one) and I’ll take losing to a P5 over beating SB any day of the week.

  6. If you recall a comment by the Old Ball Coach while at USC about playing UGA early in the season: “Georgia always seems to have to suspend players for a few games in September. What better time to play them.”

    ND has experienced some of that phenomena over the years as well.

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