Handicapping the headlines: Betting this week's biggest stories

Aug 27, 2012 |
Bettors are behind Russell Wilson and the Seahawks in Week 1.
Bettors are behind Russell Wilson and the Seahawks in Week 1.
There is so much information out there these days, it’s tough for sports bettors to see the forest through the trees – or the good info from the bad info.

Some stories hitting your favorite media sources may seem like they’d have a huge impact on the odds for those teams involved. However, most of the time, these stories don’t register a blip on oddsmakers’ radars.

Here are three big stories from this week in sports, their impact on the odds, and how bettors should treat them when sizing up those teams’ matchups:

Story: Dodgers' deal with Red Sox brings Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford to L.A.

Odds: The Dodgers moved from 6-1 to 4-1 to win the World Series at the MGM Mirage, which opened Los Angeles at 50-1 to start the season. Most books are cheering against the Dodgers with a lot of futures money tied up in the team.

Reaction: Jeff Stoneback, sportsbook manager for the MGM Mirage, says the deal puts Los Angeles head and shoulders above the rest of the National League West – on paper. “That’s an American League lineup in the weak-hitting NL West,” he told Covers. The Dodgers are currently two games behind the Giants in the division and four games back of the NL Wildcard lead.


Story: The Seattle Seahawks have named rookie QB Russell Wilson their Week 1 starter versus the Arizona Cardinals.

Odds: Seattle opened as a 2.5-point road underdog at Arizona in Week 1 but is now as big as a 2.5-point favorite in Las Vegas.

Reaction: According to Stoneback, the line move has everything to do with public money pounding the Seahawks in Week 1. Books didn’t make any initial adjustments to the Wilson announcement have been forced to pump up Seattle’s spread due to the consistent flood of action over the preseason. Stoneback says a lot of that has to do with the Cardinals’ troubles at QB this preseason.


Story: Notre Dame suspends starting tailback Cierre Wood for the first two games of the season for violating team rules.

Odds: The Fighting Irish are 16.5-point favorites versus Navy for their Week 1 meeting in Dublin, Ireland. The early total is sitting at 57 points.

Reaction: Oddsmakers didn’t want to overact to the news of Wood’s suspension and didn’t budge on the spread despite the fact that not only will Notre Dame be without its top returning rusher but also its starting QB, Tommy Rees, who was suspended for the opener last month. “They’re a much better team and who knows if (Wood) would have even played three quarters. It would be different if (Notre Dame) was playing LSU or USC or someone like that,” says Stoneback. The total, however, has dropped from 58.5 to 57 at some online markets.
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