Vegas like the 2011 Irish


I can count on zero fingers the amount of times that I’ve won money wagering on Notre Dame football, but some early betting lines on the college football season are out and it looks like the early money likes the Irish.

The Golden Nugget released its early lines for the season and of the Irish games on the board, Notre Dame is favored in all of them except the finale against Stanford.

Here are the lines of Irish games made available:

Notre Dame at Michigan (-2) — Moved to Notre Dame -3
Michigan State at Notre Dame (-6)
Notre Dame (-4) at Pittsburgh
Air Force at Notre Dame (-10)
USC at Notre Dame (-4)
Notre Dame (-7.5) at Maryland
Notre Dame at Stanford (-6.5) — Moved to Stanford -4.5

The easiest rationale to explain Vegas’ seeming infatuation with Notre Dame  is that Irish fans always seem to lay money on Notre Dame’s side, and that’s usually good for some dramatically shifted odds to begin with. But usually the only people that play these early lines are true Vegas sharps, and with lines opening up strong in the Irish favor — well, one city obsessed with picking winners seems to think Notre Dame has a real chance at putting together a great season.

While this website would never promote gambling on college football (after all, who would want to ruin the sanctity of college football by wagering on it), here are some initial thoughts after looking at these lines:

* No WAY would I feel comfortable laying six points to Michigan State after the way this series has gone. As far as I’m concerned, this game should be a pick ’em and even then I’m keeping my hands in my pockets.

* Ten points against Air Force? That seems like another sucker bet, with the whole “service academy” stigma artificially inflating the line by about four points.

* The Irish are favored against USC.

* The spread against Michigan moved quickly, with the Irish going from a slight underdog to a three-point favorite. (I’ve heard that the line is up to a six-point Irish favorite.) This is another game that has me very curious, only because the Wolverines could have a really explosive offense and a defense that has no where to go but up.

* Betting the Stanford game right now is a pure exercise in luck. (No QB pun intended.) There’s so much that can happen with injuries and team development between then and now that it’s almost ridiculous to have a gambling line on this one. That said — both of these teams got better as the season wore on last year, so this could shape up into one of the premiere games in college football that weekend.