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Northwestern football odds: Las Vegas likes the Wildcats, a lot, in early betting lines

Northwestern is favored in seven of nine lines released, by double-digits in five. I guess Vegas figured things out after Northwestern beat the spread in 12 of 13 tries in 2012.

Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

There were odds released for about 250 college football games Friday, and YO, PEOPLE THINK NORTHWESTERN IS GOING TO BE GOOD THIS YEAR. We'll take a look at Northwestern's 2013 football odds in a second, but first:

Betting on Northwestern has always been pretty easy: Northwestern won against the spread 12 times last year. 12times! In 13 tries! The nine times they won against FBS opponents, they were either underdogs or won by more than expected. Two of the times they lost, it was by less than expected. Against Penn State, they were +3 and lost by 11 after leading by double-digits in the second half. Oddsmakers' jobs are to make it so that each team wins has a 50 percent chance of winning against the spread, so that they get about half the betting on each side. NU did it 92.3percent of the time. That's absurd, and although they weren't the best team in the country -- by a long shot -- they might have been the best against expectations.

I think Vegas figured out they might have been misreading the Cats. They're favored in seven of nine games with spreads -- Western Michigan, Nebraska and the FCS game don't have lines -- and by more than expected most of the time. Last year, Northwestern was favored by double-digits in three games. This year, it's already five, and that's without should-be double-digit lines against Western Michigan and Maine. Vegas predicted seven Cats losses last year by the spread. This year, it looks to be a maximum of five, although the lines will obviously shift.

Here's a look at the early lines that have been released:

8/31: Northwestern -10.5 vs. California

Word! I would've thought this woulda been five points or less considering the West Coastiness of this one. Oddsmakers are basically saying Northwestern is two touchdowns than a team playing their first game under Sonny Dykes at a neutral site.

9/7 Syracuse vs. Northwestern -13

13 points! This game was decided by one point last year, although the Orange do lose a head coach and Ryan Nassib, who kept them in that game.

10/5: Ohio State vs. Northwestern +8

Seems reasonable.

10/12: Northwestern +6 vs. Wisconsin

Again, seems reasonable for a road game against a consistent team.

10/19: Minnesota vs. Northwestern -15

Now we're starting to get cocky: there's a string of games where Northwestern is favored by multiple touchdowns against Big Ten teams, which makes sense considering how good Northwestern should be as opposed to how bad some of these teams should be, but its still a little bit shocking to see.

10/26: Northwestern -12 vs. Iowa

That's just Northwestern favored by double digits on the road against Iowa, nothing to see here

11/16: Michigan vs. Northwestern -3

This is the one that surprises me the most. Northwestern is favored -- !!! -- at home Michigan, basically pick'em at a neutral site. It's fair after these teams went to OT last year in a game where Michigan opened up as 13-point favorites (it dropped as Denard Robinson's availability became more questionable).

11/23: Michigan State vs. Northwestern -3

The implication here seems to be that Michigan and Michigan State are exactly as good as each other, which I don't necessarily agree with. But, um, Go Cats!

11/30: Northwestern -13 vs. Illinois


I'm not a betting man, but this shows how perception of NU has changed. Any lines look particularly out of whack to you?