Monday, October 20, 2008

Vegas sees Vanderbilt a 9-point favorite over Duke

The Commodores will have their hands full when the Duke Blue Devils bring their Cutcliffe-led offense into Vanderbilt Stadium.Photo by Georgia Athletics.
There's been a lot of movement on the line between Vanderbilt and Duke since betting opened at Vanderbilt at -14.

Honestly, I don't know what statistics the Vegas people were looking at when they set that line, particularly when VU Athletics has a very nicely packaged side-by-side comparison of Duke's and Vanderbilt's statistics thus far this season (p. 9 of the Game Notes).

Here's a sampling:

► VU has scored 161 points this season, or 26.8 ppg

► VU has allowed 122 points, or 20.3 ppg

► That's a 6.5 point margin in favor of the Commodores

► Duke has scored 154 points, or 25.7 ppg

► Duke has allowed 141 points, or 23.5 ppg

► That's a 2.2 point margin in favor of the Blue Devils

What should we expect from these two surprise-story teams? Going strictly by scoring statistics, Vanderbilt should maange 25.2 points and Duke 23. In terms of a spread, then, Vanderbilt is only 2.2 point favorite, statistically-speaking.

Remember, too, that Vegas has consistently been getting the spread wrong when Vanderbilt plays this year: the Commodores are 6-1 against the spread (with Mississippi State their only "loss").

As Vanderbilt desperately searches for win no. 6, none of this is anywhere near comforting for the men in Gold and Black. It may be Homecoming against a non-conference opponent on West End this Saturday, but Vanderbilt had better play as though its proverbial life depended on it.

Because it might.

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