It was a simple enough conversation with a sports fan, albeit a hockey nut who only occasionally devotes time to football and is staunchly against gambling. Engaged to a Notre Dame alum, the question was, do the Irish have an actual chance at winning the national championship this year?
Rather than respond with an inaccurate “No” or an imprecise “Yes,” the odds were offered.
“Well, Vegas has Notre Dame at 33-to-1,” I said from memory, pulling up the rest of the listings to offer a more thorough answer. “That’s tied with LSU and Michigan State, behind 12 other teams.”
To a casual football fan devoid of wagering knowledge, that nonsense was most useless of all. The improvised search for ground to stand on led to an entertaining rabbit hole of finding other 33-to-1 scenarios, providing them as parallels.
“Here, we’re in southern California, the Angels have 33-to-1 odds of winning the World Series, even with Shohei Ohtani likely out for the year.” Note: Ohtani’s injury is one of the most-disappointing sports stories of 2018, perhaps our current frontrunner. More pertinent note: The Angels are currently 4.5 games out of a playoff spot.
“The World Cup is coming up, and you know soccer better than I do,” a statement true of the majority of the world. “Croatia is listed at 33-to-1, just behind Uruguay at 28-to-1.” That tidbit actually resonated, casting the Irish as akin to a pipe dream. It also led to a discussion which resulted in one more fan for Belgium this World Cup cycle devoid of the United States. The Red Devils are far from a traditional power, is clad in argyle fashion and hails from a country known for producing some enjoyable beverages. What more could a fan want?
“What about the NFL? You follow that more closely, especially as a Dallas Cowboys fan.” We’ll abandon the ensuing direct quotes to preserve a PG-rating, but suffice it to say the receiver-less Cowboys, the quarterback-less Denver Broncos and the running back-less Oakland Raiders are all listed at 33-to-1 to win the Super Bowl this season.
Of course, being 2018, with gambling on the rise and politics always on the conversational horizon, it was also mentioned Oprah Winfrey is listed at 33-to-1 to win the 2020 presidential election.
All this gives better color and context to how sportsbooks see Notre Dame in 2018. It may be within reason the Irish win the national title, but it is considerably more unlikely than the simple numbers may make it seem.
It also serves as an entryway and excuse to now provide your weekly reading …
But before that, consider this a humble request for any mailbag questions that may provide the hook for next week’s “Leftovers & Links,” or perhaps even lead to a specific article. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Of course, entering them in the comments below is always an option, but those often get lost in time, if not also discussed in comment responses long before addressed with a headline.
Thanks in advance.
INSIDE THE IRISH READING:
— Notre Dame lands a punter; adds (another) late kickoff
— No. 69 Aaron Banks, offensive tackle
— No. 57 Trevor Ruhland, offensive lineman
— No. 57 Jayson Ademilola, defensive tackle, consensus four-star incoming freshman
— No. 55 Jonathan Bonner, nose tackle
— No. 54 John Shannon, long snapper
— No. 53 Khalid Kareem, defensive end
— No. 53 Sam Mustipher, center and captain
— Irish make the grade, but Brian Kelly hedges on Dexter Williams’ status for Notre Dame
— Deon McIntosh set to transfer to East Mississippi junior college
— Virginia Tech QB Josh Jackson’s future eligibility uncertain
— Notre Dame WR C.J. Sanders transferring to SMU
— Houston adds fifth Power Five grad transfer in Notre Dame’s Nick Watkins
— Alabama punter Jay Bramblett commits to Notre Dame
— What will it take for USC to be a powerhouse again ($)
— C.J. Prosise is on the roster bubble in Seattle