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Manziel Investigation Triggering Vegas Headache

Under investigation, Johnny Manziel and the Texas A&M Aggies are forcing the college football world to rethink itself.

Under investigation, Johnny Manziel and the Texas A&M Aggies are forcing the college football world to rethink itself.

Johnny Manziel is giving Las Vegas a headache. Sportsbooks and odds makers are being forced to rethink an offseason worth of standings, handicaps and probabilities thanks to Manziel’s actions and alleged actions.

The Texas A&M Aggies quarterback has made plenty of headlines this offseason, appearing courtside, partying hard, leaving the Mannings’ quarterback camp early and, of course, tweeting he “can’t wait to leave College Station.” But things just got a whole heap worse for the sophomore.

News of an NCAA investigation into whether Manziel received cash for autographs ahead of the BCS National Championship Game in January has sent the college football world, not to mention Vegas, into a spin. Favored to once again win the Heisman and on a Top Five team, Manziel’s hopes, alongside those of the Aggies, will unfold very quickly if he were to be found guilty of the charges.

The Manziel family has reportedly hired Jim Darnell, an attorney that has worked ‘numerous’ NCAA cases, to represent the quarterback in the investigation.

Darnell told USA Today: “We think that when all of this comes out on the other end, he’ll be the starting quarterback for the Aggies against Rice.”

While Darnell and the Manziels may be confident, Vegas isn’t. Recent odds had Manziel playing in the season opener at 2/1, as opposed to 1/3 for not playing.

That’s not the only line that has been on the move. Here’s a look at some other betting movement.

National Championship

One of the only lines that remains on the board, all online sportsbooks have sent the Aggies downwards on their College Football Futures lists.

Alabama is favorite to win another national title.

Alabama is favorite to win another national title.

On July 31, odds of Texas A&M winning a national title sat at 10/1. At that time, the Aggies were considered fourth favorite to emerge victorious in January.

However, that figure of 10/1 represented a drop-off from the 13/2 odds the team were assessed back on May 31, when the Aggies were behind only the Alabama Crimson Tide in the bookmakers’ expectations. The drop-off was a direct result of Manziel’s tumultuous offseason.

Bookmaker now has Texas A&M at 15/1 to win the National Championship; Bovada has the Aggies at 18/1; and TopBet has the College Station school at 20/1.

Those odds might be about to get longer too.

Kevin Bradley, Sports Book Manager at Bovada, said: “[If Manziel does in fact get suspended by the NCAA], it will also impact the spreads on their whole schedule moving their win total from 9.5 to 7.5 and their BCS Championship odds to 33/1 if not higher.”

SEC Championship

Head coach Kevin Sumlin may need a back-up plan.

Head coach Kevin Sumlin may need a back-up plan.

Despite earlier expectations that Texas A&M will be a title contender this season, bookmakers didn’t like the school’s chances of winning an SEC title. When conference odds were released two weeks ago, the Aggies (15/2) could be found below Alabama (1/1), the Georgia Bulldogs (7/2) and South Carolina Gamecocks (9/2). That’s what happens when you play in a division with the defending back-to-back National Champions.

Within the West Division, the Crimson Tide was favored at 1/2, with the Aggies coming in second at 15/4.

Bookmakers have pulled all SEC odds off the table pending the outcome of the Manziel investigation. Of course, in all likelihood these odds will be reposted in time for kickoff, upon which the Aggies could be seeing a huge drop-off.

Heisman Trophy

Since becoming the first freshman to win the famed trophy, Manziel has been a favorite to win this season’s award too. At the end of May, the quarterback was considered 17/4 to lift the trophy, beating out the likes of Braxton Miller, A.J. McCarron, Aaron Murray and Teddy Bridgewater.

No longer a Heisman favorite.

No longer a Heisman favorite.

Following the announcement that Manziel was under investigation, sportsbooks have backed out of supporting the A&M triggerman. Odds of Manziel winning the Heisman now stand at 15/1 with both Bovada and TopBet.

Miller, the Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback, is now considered the favorite. TopBet currently has the junior at 3/1, while Bovada did have him at 5/1 before lifting the category completely.

With or without Manziel, Texas A&M will be forced to move forward. Vegas meanwhile will be paying even closer attention to the Aggies than normal. Bettors that have already backed the school will be waiting with baited breath.

Texas A&M will begin its season on Saturday August 31, when the school hosts Conference USA’s Rice Owls. The Aggies are scheduled to meet Alabama two weeks later in what had been deemed the ‘Game of the Year’.

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