Johnny Manziel is under investigation by the NCAA for an autograph session for which he was allegedly paid a "five-figure flat fee," according to an ESPN report, though there is no direct evidence of wrongdoing at this point, nor is there official acknowledgment from the NCAA that an inquiry is underway.
Manziel is fully eligible and will participate in camp beginning on Monday, but the specter of a possible suspension sent reverberations through the sports betting community. Las Vegas oddsmakers consider Manziel to be incredibly valuable to the Aggies, to say the least, and a suspension would alter the team's outlook considerably.
If he does in fact get suspended by the NCAA and is not starting against Alabama, the Aggies will move from getting only 4.5 points to at least two touchdown underdogs in that game. 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 from 12-1 to 33-1, if not higher. Ohio State's Braxton Miller who was at 13-2 odds to win the Heisman will now be the new frontrunner with odds of under 5-1.
-Kevin Bradley, Sports Book Manager, Bovada.lv
Will Johnny Manziel play in game 1 vs. Rice?
Yes +200 (2/1)
No -300 (1/3)
Will Johnny Manziel win the 2013 Heisman?
Texas A&M drops from 12/1 to 15/1 to win BCS title at LVH SuperBook. All Aggies games are off the board at LVH due to Manziel news.— David Payne Purdum (@DavidPurdum) August 5, 2013
Bookmaker @JimmyVaccaro tells me if Manziel is suspended for season, team win total drops from 9.5 to 7 (2.5 game effect)— RJ Bell (@RJinVegas) August 5, 2013
Those are significant swings -- perhaps overly drastic -- but if we assume that the absence of Manziel does in fact shave eight points off of every Texas A&M line, we can get a reasonable idea of what some lines would look like in the event of a season-long suspension.
After adjusting the point spreads released in June for the loss of Manziel, A&M's new outlook in several key games can be found below. To be clear, Manziel's eight-point value is a highly speculative estimate at this point, and these adjustments are not new betting lines.
Alabama becomes a big favorite even though the game is in College Station:
With Manziel: Alabama (-6) vs. Texas A&M
Without: Alabama (-14)
Early road trips get tougher:
With Manziel: Texas A&M (-17) vs. Arkansas
Without: Texas A&M (-9)
With Manziel: Texas A&M (-4) vs. Ole Miss
Without: Ole Miss (-4)
Auburn and Vandy remain significant dogs:
With Manziel: Auburn vs. Texas A&M (-24)
Without: Texas A&M (-16)
With Manziel: Vanderbilt vs. Texas A&M (-16)
Without: Texas A&M (-8)
LSU becomes a more decisive pick:
With Manziel: Texas A&M vs. LSU (-1)
Without: LSU (-9)
A Missouri victory is now at least feasible, apparently:
With Manziel: Texas A&M (-13) vs. Missouri
Without: Texas A&M (-5)