Why Betting Backers Of The 2-0 Ohio State Buckeyes Are Largely Losers This Year

Written By Danny Cross on September 12, 2022
Ohio State Buckeyes Football

The Ohio State Buckeyes football team is off to a fast start in 2022, having knocked off then-No. 5 Notre Dame 21-10 in their home opener before dismantling an outmatched Arkansas State squad 45-12 on Saturday.

These relatively easy victories are positive signs for the Buckeyes’ hopes of advancing to the College Football Playoff for the third time in four seasons.

But they didn’t satisfy those who bet on OSU to cover the point spread in either game, which was nearly 90% of the money, according to one major sportsbook.

Sure, moneyline bets have been safe on Ohio State this year. But when betting on a heavily favored team to win outright, you win substantially less money than when you lay points on a spread bet. In fact, the Buckeyes were favored by so much Saturday that the moneyline numbers were off the board.

Here’s how the betting market viewed the Ohio State Buckeyes in those games and what went wrong for those giving up so many points in consecutive weeks.

Ohio State ‘wins ugly’ vs. Notre Dame

Ohio State’s opening line of -17 against a fellow top-5 team raised some question marks heading into this one. In fact, Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman suggested the line might be bulletin board material during game week.

The Irish stuck around for three quarters but couldn’t muster the offense to seriously challenge OSU, despite the Buckeyes losing star wide receiver Jaxson Smith-Njigba to a first-quarter injury and struggling on offense themselves.

Ohio State trailed 10-7 at the half and entered the fourth quarter with only a 4-point lead. Covering a 17-point spread became a longshot early.

The Buckeyes finally put the game away on a 14-play, 95-yard touchdown drive to go up 21-10 with less than five minutes remaining. That would be the final score.

OSU head coach Ryan Day said the experience of “winning ugly” will help the team down the road.

OSU was cruising toward a cover before removing starters vs. Arkansas State

With a 45-12 lead after three quarters, Ohio State was well on its way to covering the lofty 44.5-point spread at home against Arkansas State in Week 2.

Unfortunately for bettors who laid the points, starting quarterback C.J. Stroud and other starters only played one drive in the fourth quarter before giving way to backups, who never scored again.

It’s unlikely that Ohio State was ratcheting up its best plays late in the game against a Sun Belt team. Still, the players waiting in the wings at such a high-profile program often keep piling on. It wasn’t to be for those laying the 44.5 points.

What might happen late in blowouts is something to consider all season for Ohio State, which is likely to be huge favorite throughout much of the Big Ten season.

PointsBet: Public took huge hit on OSU betting

According to PointsBet Sportsbook, one of the operators aiming at a Jan. 1 launch in Ohio, 88% of the national money on the OSU/Arkansas State spread was on the Buckeyes to cover.

That means only 12% of the spread money won for the public.

We’ll see how much Day and the Buckeyes are able to pour it on this weekend as the Buckeyes host Toledo on Saturday night. According to BetMGM Sportsbook, OSU was favored by 31.5 points as of Monday morning.

Unders paid in both OSU games

Both Ohio State games this season have come in well under the point totals.

The over/under for Ohio State vs. Notre Dame was 58.5 and came in at 31. Against Arkansas State, the line was 69 with a total of 57.

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Danny Cross

Danny Cross is the managing editor of PlayOhio, where he covers the legislative and regulatory process of legalizing sports betting and the latest news on sportsbooks coming to Ohio ahead of Jan. 1, 2023. Cross joined PlayOhio from Pro Football Focus, where he wrote and edited articles on the NFL, fantasy football and betting.

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