Betting Markets Turn Against Mack Brown

Sports Handicapping News: Betting Markets Turn Against Mack Brown

About a month into the season, the betting markets were giving a lot of respect to Mack Brown and the Texas Longhorns. That's turned around dramatically heading into Saturday's game in Lubbock against the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

In fact, the Longhorns are now seven point underdogs in a game many had assumed would be an automatic win earlier this season. Heck, oddsmakers assumed this would be a close game just days ago with an opening line of Texas Tech by 2.5. When oddsmakers stick below the key number of three...they're assuming nobody thinks much of the favorite. Sharps POUNDED the favorite at 2.5, at 3, at 3.5, at 4, and didn't stop throwing money hand over fist on Texas Tech until the line stopped at a touchdown.

The market has officially turned against Mack Brown and the Horns.


  • Texas was a pricey 11-point favorite at Ole Miss in its third game of the season. They never had to sweat the number in a massive 66-31 blowout of an SEC team.

  • Texas earned respect as 2-point road favorite at Oklahoma State...a squad many saw initially as a potential darkhorse contender in the Big 12. Texas got the money again 41-36.

  • Texas was laying -7.5 against West Virginia near the peak of Genomania. The media and bettors saw both teams as virtual "co-favorites" with Oklahoma in the Big 12...they saw Geno Smith as a clear threat to win the Heisman Trophy...yet they assumed Texas made sense at more than a TD in a "power vs. power" showdown. Oops #1

  • Texas was only a 3-point underdog at a neutral site against Oklahoma. The loss to West Virginia hurt their prestige some. But, the markets still saw them as a team that could hang tough with the Sooners over 60 full minutes. Many public prognosticators tabbed the Horns for an outright upset. Oops #2. And, one of the biggest mistakes ever in this series as Oklahoma won by 63-21 margin in a game that wasn't even as close as that makes it sound!

  • Texas was STILL getting respect in the one week later, laying 8.5 points at home against disappointing Baylor. The Bears continue to disappoint...but they hung with Texas in a 56-50 shootout. This is three straight non-covers for Texas at lines that seem pretty silly in retrospect.

  • Texas AGAIN was a projected blowout winner, DESPITE THESE POOR PERFORMANCES, last week at Kansas. The line at kickoff was Texas -18. It took a miracle drive for them to SCORE more than 18 points in a 21-17 nailbiter against one of the worst teams in recent Big 12 history. That was oops #3, and it was another doozy.

It's hard to know what oddsmakers were smoking when they made Tech a cheap home favorite. Tech obliterated West Virginia on this field...and West Virginia beat Texas in Austin. It's true that Tech didn't match up well here with Oklahoma. They still matched up better than Texas did with the Sooners! The guys behind the line stayed stubborn...but the market as a whole announced they had given up on Texas with that large line move.

Now, some in the markets are trying to calculate the odds that Mack Brown will be coaching Texas next season.

Brown took Texas to the promised land with Vince Young, and almost did it again with Colt McCoy. Head coaches get a lot of leeway after something like that. It would be very hard for Texas to fire Brown even if he loses out this year (which would mean losses as favorites to Iowa State and TCU in addition to losses as dogs to Texas Tech and Kanas State). But, it wouldn't be hard to strongly encourage him that he should consider retirement for the sake of the program.

Brown wouldn't want to do that because he wants to go out on top. He may realize that it's the only classy way to transition to the future given the multi-year fall from grace since McCoy left and this year's debacle.

Heading to Lubbock...Texas is 6-2 straight up...and that's just not a firing record. A split for 8-4 followed by a bowl win would be enough to give Brown one more try (even if one of the losses is nasty at Kansas State). But, 7-5 or worse in the regular season followed by a bowl loss would turn the tide the other way. This was supposed to be an 11-1 or 10-2 type team that had a great chance to play in a BCS Bowl. Longhorn nation ain't interested in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

Did the sharps move the line in Texas/Texas Tech too far? That's the question for handicappers Saturday. Normally a move of that magnitude takes away all value. Texas failed to cover the OU game by 39 points, and last week's Kansas game by 15 points. Maybe Tech -7 is still a bad line for the first half, let alone the whole game!


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