College football is still three-plus months away, but Las Vegas is already laying some lines in the sand with predictions for the sport's most prominent programs in 2019. For the Miami Hurricanes, the numbers are less than flattering.
Sportsbooks dropped the odds for over-under win totals late last week, as well as the national championship numbers – and let's just say it doesn't appear Vegas has too much confidence in Manny Diaz in his first season in the driver's seat. Most books have the Canes' win total set at 8.5, meaning experts expect the Canes to drop three or four games next season. As far as title chances, you can get Miami anywhere from 5000/1 to 8000/1 as we speak.
For reference, depending on the casino, there are 13 to 20 teams with better title odds than the Hurricanes, and their projected win total is roughly that of a Wisconsin or Utah — not stellar stuff. Definitely not what Miami fans are expecting from a program with the most hype surrounding it in two decades.
Fear not though, Canes fans. Vegas is usually right, but it's not always right. Lines are meant to get money on equal sides, not to predict an exact outcome. That's why the smart cash will soon move the Hurricanes' line from 8.5 wins this season to 9-plus.
Currently, Las Vegas is giving money away if the Hurricanes go 9-3 next season. It sure seems like a good bet in May. We'll see if it pans out in January, but the signs that Vegas set the bar low for Miami are written in the Canes' easy schedule.
Miami opens on August 24 with a neutral-site game against the Florida Gators. The contest will be an early test and a definite barometer for where the Hurricanes will be this season. After that, though, the Hurricanes' schedule lightens up for a long time. And it will (almost) all happen in Hard Rock Stadium.
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The Hurricanes have just one road game (at North Carolina, week two) until October 26, an amazing schedule anomaly that will be just what the doctor ordered for a Manny Diaz squad adapting to new players, new schemes, and Diaz's new role as head coach. Miami lucks out and misses ACC juggernaut and defending champion Clemson this season, a game most would have counted in the loss column.
If the Canes come close to what most fans expect of them in 2019 — with a competent quarterback to be determined and a head coach with a post-1988 offensive mindset — they should be favored in all but two or three of their games. Matchups with perennially mediocre teams like Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech could be the hardest spots.
In addition to the soft schedule, Miami is catching some programs that will be rebuilding, including Florida State, Louisville, FIU, and Duke. If Miami can run most of the table in the home stretch, the last games will be a cakewalk.
So, if you're a Canes fan or a fan of money in general, you may want to take advantage of the low bar Vegas has set for Miami. If the Manny Diaz hype is anywhere near real, the Canes should blow past expectations and make their believers a pocket full of cash.