from Sam Panayotovic
FOX Sports Betting Analyst
When five-star quarterback recruit Arch Manning committed to play football for Texas Longhorns in late june you could almost hear the festivities and celebrations from austin.
Manning’s decision didn’t change the odds for the upcoming season — Alabama, Ohio State and Georgia are still the top contenders to win the 2023 CFP National Championship — but it will certainly help swing the pendulum into the next decade and rebuild the line in a legendary Longhorn program.
And while Manning won’t take a regular season snap in burnt orange for at least another 14 months (Class of 2023), the recruiting domino effect will be fascinating to track.
As my FOX Sports teammate Joel Klatt stated last month, “Steve Sarkisian may have won the most coveted award we’ve ever seen in recruiting. It’s not just because this guy chose Texas, the Manning family chose Texas.”
To break down Manning’s impact from a gambling perspective, I gathered nine Las Vegas betting friends to get their thoughts on Arch Manning’s commitment to Sarkisian and what it means for the Longhorns’ future.
These are their stories.
“I’m on vacation, my friend,” said WynnBET VP of Trading Alan Berg.
Welp. Fortunately, Berg’s lieutenant, Motoi Pearson, was ready to strike.
“Arch found him a nice home in Texas,” WynnBET’s senior trader told FOX Sports. “[Sarkisian] finds some talented offensive pieces to surround any quarterback. And any legitimate quarterback has to be worth at least a touchdown if he wants to be like Payton.
“Do I think he has that kind of talent? Yes. But only time will tell.”
Pearson’s implication that Manning could be worth seven points to the betting line one day is very strong. Recent Heisman Trophy winners Joe Burrow, Kyler Murray, Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson were worth about a touchdown, if not more.
Bryce Young’s value is also up, but it’s harder to quantify his true value because Alabama is an offensive juggernaut and Nick Saban would simply be dropping another blue-chip prospect under center if Young goes down.
Either way, Texas undoubtedly dreams of Manning reaching his potential. More importantly, you don’t just get Manning when you successfully convince a player of that caliber to commit. You’re opening the door to a new set of offensive weapons that will be dying to play with the next Eli or Peyton.
“[Manning’s signing] speaks to the quality of recruits they’re bringing in and that the program is on the right track,” said Circa Sports director of sports betting Matt Metcalf. “I’d be surprised if Sarkisian doesn’t have success there because he’s a great offensive lineman , and it shouldn’t be hard to get the pieces there.
“I’ve been waiting for Texas to return to elite status, and I believe they have a chance to get there again with Manning.”
Metcalfe’s friend John Murray also pays close attention to recruitment.
“We’re seeing the reports of him being crushed on the recruiting trail, so we’re definitely keeping a close eye on him,” said the Westgate SuperBook executive. “But Texas is almost always a modern team, and they’ve disappointed people for years playing in the Big 12. It’s going to be a lot tougher for them when they move to the SEC [in 2025]. We’re not going to make any major adjustments until they show us something on the ground.”
“Texas is a big-time program that has played like a Mountain West program the last few years,” added US Bookmaking director of operations Robert Walker. “The Horns were average in every sense of the word, so it’s fascinating to see them sign a player like Arch Manning.
“However, I still feel that Texas will somehow overcome the shortcomings. Expectations are always high in Longhorn Land, and now they are high. And I’m not Steve Sarkisian’s biggest fan, because nobody leaves Washington or Washington State without feeling my wrath.”
“Texas will be Texas,” cracked former Las Vegas oddsmaker Aaron Kessler.
Other bookies remain curious about Manning’s true potential. It’s one thing to watch him tear up seven-on-seven practices and dominate lower-level competition at the high school level. It’s another to take pictures in the vaunted SEC, which is shaping up to be the Longhorns’ home for most of Arch’s career.
“I don’t have enough of a record of what he’s done so far, but if he’s as good as advertised, Texas will certainly be ready to compete from day one against SEC heavyweights,” PlayUp USA head of betting Rex Beyers said . “Manning has already helped several other four- and five-star recruits who may have been on the fence about committing to Texas. Sometimes that is more important than Arch’s own value to the program.”
“He was the first freshman to start at his high school in 40 years,” Rampart Casino director of sports betting Dwayne Colucci said. “There are tons of videos on YouTube and Twitter showing him in the outfield, but others think he would be a three-star prospect if only he wasn’t named Manning. Eli and Peyton were both successful, so there’s no reason why Arch shouldn’t be, but he still has a long way to go.”
Then there is the resident who always reminds me that it is important to stay in the moment and keep the horse before the cart.
“It’s not a factor until he’s the center of the team we’re putting together,” Circa Sports assistant sports betting manager Jeff Davis said. “Until then, he’s as relevant as Charlie Woods.” [Tiger’s 13-year-old son] to win a golf tournament.”
Despite Davis’ disdain in the present, Manning will soon be competing with either Hudson Card or Quinn Ewers for QB1 status in Sarkisian’s chart. And eventually, we’ll learn Manning’s value for the linebacker and whether Texas can rise up and challenge the heavy hitters in college football.
Call me a fool, but I can’t wait to see how Arch Manning’s collegiate career unfolds and hope the Texas Longhorns return to prominence.
Some of my fondest betting memories are riding the Texas and “Over” train during Vince Young and the Horns’ historic 13-0 season in 2005. Texas finished 12-1 against the spread (ATS) and 12-1 against “Over” en route to a national championship win over USC.
It will be a while before the Longhorns become legitimate contenders for another title. Heading into the upcoming season, most American sportsbooks have them at odds of 50-1 or higher behind the likes of Texas A&M, USC, Oklahoma, Notre Dame and Michigan.
But that doesn’t mean the Longhorn faithful aren’t dreaming of another confetti party with Arch Manning at center stage.
Sam Panagiotovich is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and NESN. He previously worked for WGN Radio, NBC Sports and VSiN. He will probably pick against your favorite team. Follow him on Twitter @spshoot.
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