When news broke Sunday about Johnny Manziel and his alleged five-figure payday for affixing his signature to 1,600 Aggie football items, the sports world went back into overdrive. Kevin Sumlin prepped for Aggie media day, the university hired attorneys, bloggers wrote, screamers yelled and Vegas went scrambling to recalibrate any Aggie-related number on their betting boards.
If you're willing to look hard enough, if you're willing to scour the bowels of the Internet and every wagering Web site, you can bet on almost any relevant sports occurrence (and many relevant non-sports occurrences, as well).
The Johnny Manziel Ripple Effect certainly put this phenomenon on full display yesterday.
Truth be told, as it turns out, Vegas appeared to be tipped off to this whole Johnny thing a week or so ago when the line on the Alabama-A&M game on September 14 moved from Alabama -6.5 to Alabama -9.5 in one fell swoop. Three points is a HUGE move under almost any circumstance, so clearly either a) a monster bet (or bets) came in on Alabama placed by someone who "knew something" or b) Vegas themselves "knew something" about a possibility that Manziel could be suspended.
According to R.J. Bell, the founder of wagering expertise site pregame.com, Manziel himself is worth around seven points to A&M on the line for any particular game, so a three-point move was a bit of a hedge by the books. (By the way, there are virtually no other players in Manziel's stratosphere in terms of worth to the betting line on his team's games. Braxton Miller is worth almost that much to Ohio State. Rakeem Cato of Marshall and Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville are each worth ten points to their teams.)
Eventually, when the news actually did break on Sunday about Manziel and his active right signature hand, all A&M games that were on the board (Alabama, Ole Miss, LSU, and Missouri, to name a few) were pulled off the board altogether, as was A&M's season win total futures bet (9.5 before the Manziel news, estimated to be reset at 7 if Manziel is suspended for the season).
This Manziel autograph-apalooza was as close to a Vegas sportsbook five-alarm fire as you can get.
But when one door closes, another one opens, and despite all of these temporarily suspended potential A&M wagers, Vegas will find a way, by hook or by crook, to keep wringing your hard earned dollars out of the Johnny Manziel wagering sponge.
So as the Aggies took the practice field this afternoon, with Manziel sitting precariously on the edge of some kind of suspension from the NCAA, Vegas (5dimes, to be exact) weighed in with the following offers:
Johnny Manziel plays vs Rice 8/31 +190 Does not play vs Rice for any reason -270
Johnny Manziel plays in any game this season -230 Does not play in any games this season +170
So, in plain English, what Vegas is saying is that Johnny Manziel has a 68 percent chance of being suspended for at least the first game, but a 65 percent chance of playing at some point this year. Drilling down even further, the Ohio State players who traded tattoos for memorabilia a few years ago each got five game suspensions; the above odds would indicate that Vegas seems to think this precedent makes sense for Johnny Manziel.
Adding a few potential wagers of my own, here is what my futures big board looks like for a few more scenarios
"If he is eligible, what will Johnny Manziel do after he scores his first touchdown of the season?" Pull out a Sharpie and sign the ball +150 Make out with a female, ANY female +225 Raise a middle finger at the A.D.'s box +300 Tear off jersey to show Tebow jersey underneath +450 Actually Tebow...like, kneel and pray +1500 Politely hand the ball to the referee +25000
"If he is ineligible, where will Johnny Manziel be watching the Aggies first game of the season?" Cabo -1500 Field +1000
(For the uninitiated bettor, "Field" doesn't mean "on the field," it means in this case "anywhere but Cabo," which technically includes on the field at Kyle Field, I suppose.)
"Manziel Blood Alcohol Content at kickoff of the opener, if he IS NOT eligible" OVER .028 -110 UNDER .028 -110
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"Manziel Blood Alcohol Content at kickoff of the opener, if he IS eligible" OVER .012 -110 UNDER .012 -110
See? Johnny doesn't have to be eligible for all of us to have fun this season! Well, most of us, at least. When I was in Vegas recently for a UFC event, the Luxor had moved A&M's odds to win the BCS title from 15/1 at open to 4/1 by June 20.
Whoever placed the bets that moved the futures line that much on the Aggies, those people need Johnny Manziel eligible to have fun this season.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.