Look, if you can find a place that will let you make a bet on Arkansas vs. Texas A&M with a 3-point spread, please contact me. You can find me on Twitter @doc_harper or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I might even provide my phone number.
What's funniest to me about this, as much fans can be homers, I have not seen a single Arkansas fan say, "you know, that sounds about right." Everybody I've seen is willing to take out a second mortgage or use their life savings to place the bet.
Here's what the Vegas Insiders page looks like as of Monday night:
For offshore spreds:
and Vegas spreds:
There are no lines published in any books. All of those open squares on the Arkansas/A&M line mean those outlets have not published spreads for that game. The -3 you see is under "open/consensus" column, but there is no place listed as actually accepting bets on that line.
This fantasy spread has been shot down by several people, including our Aggie frenemies at Good Bull Hunting:
Is there any reason at all the line could be three points? Some might say A&M's rushing defense is ranked pretty low nationally, which should be an advantage for Arkansas. But really, is it worse than Samford or Southern Miss? And when Arkansas' best offensive output of the season is a 34-point effort against a Sun Belt team in the first game, and it hasn't looked as good since, why would the oddsmakers make the spread single digits, much less only three?
I'm not trying to say Arkansas has no chance of winning, you've always got a chance - especially at home, but thinking about the game from an oddsmaking perspective it doesn't make any sense to have a tiny spread. It's true that the Aggies weren't so great in their first couple of road games last year, and if there's hope to cling to, that's it. Three of their five road games last year were decided by four points or less, and here's what happened: against Ole Miss they committed six turnovers, Louisiana Tech was high powered enough to put up 57 points, and Alabama was Alabama.
If Arkansas can collect six turnovers, score 57 points, or become Alabama, the game will likely be close. Or some other crazy thing could happen. And the three point spread could seem like genius.
I wish we could point to Johnny Manziel's record on the road being not so great, but here are his career road game stat lines:
- @ Ole Miss: 17/26, 191 yards, 1 TD, 2 interceptions. 129 yards on 20 carries, 1 TD. - W 30-27
- @ Louisiana Tech: 24/40, 295 yards, 3 TDs, 1 interception. 181 yards on 19 carries, 3 TDs. - W 59-57
- @ Auburn: 16/23, 260 yards, 2 TDs. 90 yards on 9 carries, 3 TDs. - W 63-21
- @ Mississippi State: 20/36, 311 yards. 129 yards on 21 carries, 2 TDs. - W 38-13
- @ Alabama: 24/31, 253 yards, 2 TDs. 92 yards on 18 carries. - W 28-24
So, once again, please stop talking about a mythical 3-point spread in this game. Unless you can find a place that will actually let you place a bet. In which case, as mentioned, let us know immediately.