I'm not a betting man. (Medill folk: are sports journalists even allowed to? Seems like that would be sorta unethical, right?) My last foray into betting was a monthlong NBA centsports addiction that saw my worth rocket to $1.38, then collapse, ending with my betting my last 16 cents on the national soccer team of the extremely tiny nation of San Marino, hoping they could beat a six-goal spread against Poland. (They ended up losing 10-0. SAN MARINOOOO!!!!!!)
But I was tempted to check out NU's line for the Towson game. How much, I wondered, are we expected to win by?
I looked everywhere, found nothing. No spreads, no odds.
I jumped to three separate conclusions.
1) Vegas oddsmakers don't deem the game as likely to draw much betting, since NU and Towson don't have big fanbases, therefore, there are no lines.
2) The game will be a blowout. There's no money line big enough to be worth the casino's time, since NU will clearly win, and a spread that big would be pointless.
3) There probably aren't any spreads for any games featuring I-AA opponents.
Turns out, the correct answer was #3: there's no betting on games between FBS and FCS opponents, generally, although the guy from USA Today had a little bit of fun predicting that Florida should have a 63 point spread against Charleston Southern, and people went around reporting that he actually had said they'd win by 73.
But still, all this should give us pause about our game against Towson. Playing I-AA opponents is a definite lose-lose situation. First off, it's a lose-lose because there's actually no way to win money off it if you're the betting type. But think about it: Towson shouldn't be able to compete with us. We were in the Top 25 last year, they probably weren't in the top 3/4 of I-AA teams. If we win, it's expected. We should win. If we lose, chaos ensues. If we win only by a little bit, people will start wondering if we're not legit. As Joshua astutely put in the comments section a few posts back, pretty much anything besides a blowout isn't good. And when you think about it, a blowout is kind of bad, because it means we're those guys who pay schools too much money to hammer them senseless.
It's reasons like this I've started viewing our September 5th game less as something I need to be worried about and more as an organized practice and a chance to see how we run our offense and to gauge the skills of our players. Yes, score will be kept, unlike the spring game, and yes, if we do cool things, I'll gloat about it. I'll probably watch the highlight reel of the game multiple times. But when the game is so lopsided that Vegas is essentially pretending it doesn't exist, there's really no positives.