The Las Vegas Hotel & Casino Golden Nugget released its initial betting lines for NCAA Football games of the year. 11 of 12 Notre Dame games are listed. Rice was not listed but Notre Dame can be presumed as a favorite. Here are the lines for the 11 games:
Michigan at Notre Dame (-3)
Under Brian Kelly, the Notre Dame-Michigan rivalry games have been decided by an average of 6.5 points. There is no doubt that this game will be close as well. Home field advantage gives Notre Dame the edge. However, Notre Dame is probably the better team. The Irish should be favored by a few more points.
Purdue vs. Notre Dame (-21)
Besides a 38-10 victory in 2011, the games between Purdue and Notre Dame have been quite close. 21 points is wide margin for Notre Dame to cover.
Notre Dame (-5.5) vs. Syracuse
Syracuse returns most of a squad that won the Texas Bowl last season. The game will be played on a neutral field in East Rutherford, NJ. Despite being a Syracuse home game, Notre Dame should have a large contingent from New York and New Jersey on hand. The Irish are probably a touchdown or better than Syracuse at least.
Stanford (-6) at Notre Dame
The Fighting Irish only beat Stanford in 2012. However, the Irish have stayed close with the Cardinal in 2011 and 2013. Stanford may be a Top 10 team in 2014. However, they only return 12 starters. This game should be a slugfest.
North Carolina at Notre Dame (-2.5)
Battle of Elijah Hood. The bookies are basically stating that on a neutral field the Tar Heels would beat the Fighting Irish. The Tar Heels won 6 of 7 under the direction of Quarterback Marquise Williams.
Notre Dame at Florida State (-24)
Florida State is the top team in the country. 24 points is a large spread considering Brian Kelly has only been beaten by more than 24 points once in his time at Notre Dame (BCS National Title). Notre Dame is a value bet to cover against Florida State, probably not win.
Notre Dame (-3) vs. Navy
Navy should be an improved football team this season. Keenan Reynolds returns at Quarterback for the Midshipmen. This game will go one of two ways. A close Notre Dame victory or a Notre Dame blow-out.
Notre Dame at Arizona State (-4.5)
Arizona State returns the corps of their offense. However, they lost a lot on defense. Arizona State will be potent again. They will out score teams. If Notre Dame has any defense at all, they will win. If not, they will have to win a shoot out.
Northwestern at Notre Dame (-8)
Northwestern fell off the face of the planet last season after starting off hot. Notre Dame should be extremely careful with Northwestern. It would mean a lot to Northwestern if they were to beat Notre Dame. But, if Notre Dame plays like a 9 to 10 win team and Northwestern plays like a 5-6 win team, Notre Dame should win by double-digits.
Louisville at Notre Dame (-8)
The Cardinals are in transition this season. They lose Head Coach Charlie Strong and replace him with Head Coach Bobby Petrino. They should be competitive. However, Notre Dame should handle the Cardinals. Under Brian Kelly, the Irish have not lost on Senior Day.
Notre Dame at USC (-10)
Notre Dame has beaten USC three of the last four seasons. The Irish defeated the Trojans last season despite not being able to muster anything on offense due to injury to Tommy Rees. USC always gets a lot of love. They did win 10 games last season. They will have one of the best defenses in the country.
These lines shows a lack of respect for Notre Dame. This is probably because the Irish have not named a starting Quarterback (who in either case will not be the returning starter). Additionally, the defense is a big unknown. As fans and frequent observers, it is easy to see the potential of this team. But, Vegas does not make money on potential.