Remember a few weeks ago, when we discussed how Las Vegas expected Northwestern to have a really, really strong season, contrary to millenia of sportsbooks setting low odds for Northwestern? Well, get ready to have your expectations increased, because there's more where that came from.
Yesterday, 5Dimes released over/under win total lines for about 50 schools, Northwestern included.
In the history of Northwestern football, they have won 10 games three times. Once in 1903, once in 1995, and once last season. 5Dimes set the over/under for Northwestern at 9.5 games. As in, "hey, we see a pretty decent chance of Northwestern winning nine games or less, but we also see a pretty decent chance of them winning 10 games or more, and we think people are gonna be split down the line on that."
(UPDATE: These are actually regular season win totals, so it wouldn't include a bowl. Northwestern has only won 10 regular season games once in the past 100 years.)
But there's more! The line for the over is -175 -- as in, pay us $175 dollars and we'll give you $100 if you win -- and the line for the under is +135 -- as in, pay us $100 dollars and we'll give you $135 if you win. That's right: they want to drive betting towards the under, because they think it's less likely. Insanity.
Michigan and Nebraska also have lines set at 9.5, but neither of them encourage the under as strongly as Northwestern, with Michigan offering a -150 for the over and Nebraska at +100.
Quite frankly, even I'm not as high as Northwestern as Vegas is. I think the Wildcats are going to have a great year, but if I were setting an over/under, I'd put it at 8.5. They're asking Northwestern with Wisconsin, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, and seven other less good teams to either
a) lose only three games in the regular season, then win a bowl game (regular season win total!) or b) lose two games or less in the regular season. I think that's a possibility, but I'm not ready to pony up and say its likely.
If I were a gambling man, I'd probably hedge my bets and throw some money on the under. It looks like it would pay out nicely, and, um, worst case scenario, you lose your cash and Northwestern just had an awesome season. (SIPPIN ON PURPLE DOES NOT ENDORSE GAMBLING ETC. ETC. ETC.)