NCAA FB

Lines shift through Manziel mystery

Image: Johnny Manziel (Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
Manziel hasn't even begun his sophomore season, yet he's changing the NCAA universe.
FOX Sports By Todd Fuhrman, Outkickthecoverage.com
Share This Story

   
 

Every line move tells a story. This isn’t profound wisdom from a volume of Aesop’s Fables for gamblers, it’s the reality of betting markets.

GO DEEPER!

For true college football fun, news, analysis and more, check out all the latest from Clay Travis at Outkick The Coverage.

Point spreads are set to force bettors into making a calculated decision to back one side or another. And it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Johnny Manziel, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner, has a huge impact on every line involving Texas A&M.

Even in the modern age of social media and breaking-news stories before facts become verified, line movement in the betting market is a good precursor of what’s to come.

As far as 'Game of the Year' college football lines are concerned, the clash between Alabama and Texas A&M scheduled for Sept. 14 have attracted the most attention. Despite being available for wagering for the last six weeks, the line remained pretty static in the Alabama -6/-7 range. Then, all of a sudden out of nowhere the number ballooned all the way to -9.5 at a respected offshore book two Thursdays ago.

Clearly someone had dumped a substantial sum of money on the game to push the price out that much in a short period of time.

But who knew in advance about the NCAA investigation into Manziel's autograph controversy? And of those people, who was willing to put their money up offshore? Could the autograph dealers have bet against A&M once they found out the investigation was ongoing?

What a mess.

Like I always do when things like this occur, I reached out to my deep network of industry colleagues and bettors. Oddly enough, no one seemed to have an answer and Vegas books went so far as to hold its ground at the much shorter price until information was uncovered.

In the past, say 20 years ago, major information known only to gamblers wouldn’t have been that uncommon. Books and the professionals received information much sooner before the public and used it to their advantage. Nowadays those opportunities are rare because it’s virtually impossible to keep information regarding elite talents capable of creating seismic line shifts from the media.

Fast forward to early this week when stories began to break speculating Johnny Football had allegedly been paid by memorabilia dealers to sign a surplus of merchandise.

As any good bookmaker should and would, each one scrambled to remove every game involving A&M, its season win total and odds to win the SEC from the betting boards. It goes without saying a prolonged suspension to Manziel would benefit every other conference team on the Aggies' schedule while basically dashing any hopes of an SEC title coming to College Station. One book did take the opportunity to post a wide array of props given his tenuous status, and below you’ll see where the numbers opened compared to where they sit now.

J. Manziel Plays vs Rice 8/31 (courtesy of 5Dimes)

Then: Yes +450 / No -750

Now: Yes -135 / No -105

J. Manziel Plays in any game this season (courtesy of 5Dimes)

Then: Yes +140 / No -180

Now: Yes -350 / No +250

J. Manziel wins the Heisman Trophy (courtesy of 5Dimes)

Then: 5-1

Now: 15-1

Not only are prop and single-game lines impacted by current events, but also regular-season win totals and future odds. With Manziel factoring prominently into the team’s forecast for this year, A&M's win total opened at 9.5. However, if he’s ruled out for the entire season some bookmakers speculate his absence could cost the team anywhere from 2.5 to 3 wins. There's not another talent on the roster capable of stepping in under center without the team taking a step back

WHO SETS THE CURVE?

Check out the FOXiest fans from schools across the country and tweet us your photo.

The other interesting debate taking place all over the sports betting industry is around Manziel’s actual value to an individual point spread.

One of the iconic figures in the industry, Jimmy Vacarro has said publicly he sees Manziel's value at six points, while some other prominent oddsmakers peg his worth at eight. One group of respected bettors went so far as to tell me he’s worth even more than that, equating the star QB's point-spread value to nine points or more. 5dimes currently makes a 5.5-point adjustment for potential scenarios against Rice in Week 1, Texas A&M -28 with Manziel starting and -22.5 if he doesn’t. Of course, this would be modified on the caliber of opponent, but is still interesting food for thought.

Last, but not least, is his impact on the landscape of the SEC. Here is what the odds looked like at the LVH on Monday maintaining a 26-percent market hold (meaning the book expects to retain .26 cents of every dollar bet on conference futures):

ALABAMA 4-5

GEORGIA 4

TEXAS A&M 8

SOUTH CAROLINA 6

FLORIDA 8

LSU 10

OLE MISS 25

MISSOURI 50

VANDERBILT 60

AUBURN 60

MISSISSIPPI ST 75

TENNESSEE 60

ARKANSAS 100

KENTUCKY 500

Here’s how my adjusted odds would look if Manziel were to be suspended for the 2013 season, while maintaining the market’s hold-percent integrity. Notice the next tier of SEC West sides like LSU, Ole Miss and Auburn all see their prices come down, while A&M’s shoots up from 8-1 all the way to 30.

ALABAMA 2-3

GEORGIA 7-2

TEXAS A&M 30

SOUTH CAROLINA 6

FLORIDA 8

LSU 8

OLE MISS 20

MISSOURI 50

VANDERBILT 60

AUBURN 50

MISSISSIPPI ST 75

TENNESSEE 60

ARKANSAS 100

KENTUCKY 500

Looking for more information on the SEC betting markets? Check out the On The Line Podcast for a complete outlook.

Tagged: Alabama, LSU, Auburn, Rice, Texas A&M, Texas, Johnny Manziel

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by

College Football Pick'em on FOX


NCAA FB Videos

Sumlin annoyed by media's Manziel questions Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Kevin Sumlin responds to questions about life after Johnny Football by toying wi...

AJ Pasquale's journey back to UCLA Posted: Jun 17, 2014
UCLA football ops intern AJ Pasquale describes his own personal journey after th...

Winston issued adult civil citation Posted: Apr 30, 2014
Get the latest news surrounding Jameis Winston's recent shoplifting fiasco.

Get Inside the Locker Room with Scout.com

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/759777/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_759000/ff_759777_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Michigan_State_Spartans/browse/featuredproduct/760171/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_760000/ff_760171_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White
    Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_USC_Trojans/browse/featuredproduct/761373/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_761000/ff_761373_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/829709/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829709_xl.jpg&w=100 64.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimso..
    Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_LSU_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/829740/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829740_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple
    Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_Sooners/browse/featuredproduct/830935/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_830000/ff_830935_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/861243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861243_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue
    adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Nebraska_Cornhuskers/browse/featuredproduct/861247/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861247_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapback Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1087345/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1087000/ff_1087345_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapba..
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1093431/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1093000/ff_1093431_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash