Ohio State vs. Michigan: College Football Odds, Point Spread
Ask Ohio State University football fans which team they would like to see lose every game this season, and there’s a good chance they’ll say the University of Michigan. This annual rivalry game has been worth more than bragging rights in recent years, as Big Ten title games and College Football Playoff appearances hang in the balance.
Fans in Ohio now have the opportunity to bet on this rivalry, as sports betting went live in the state on Jan. 1, 2023. Here’s how to bet on Ohio State vs. Michigan, plus some fun facts and trivia.
What’s the Ohio State vs. Michigan spread?
Ohio State and Michigan added another exciting chapter in their story on Nov. 26 when Michigan defeated OSU at Ohio Stadium, 45-23. However, both teams still made the College Football Playoff.
The point spread hovered between OSU -7.5 and -9 at major sportsbooks leading up to the game. Michigan bettors won both spread and moneyline bets, of course, as the Wolverines handed the Buckeyes a healthy 22-point defeat. A year earlier, Michigan was a 6.5-point home underdog and won 42-27 in 2021 in Ann Arbor.
The Ohio State vs. Michigan series will be renewed in 2023 with Ohio State looking to break a two-game losing streak to their bitter rivals. For now, check out other, mostly less consequential odds for betting on Ohio State football games.
Where to bet on Ohio State vs. Michigan
When it comes to betting on the Buckeyes versus the Wolverines in college football, you will have a variety of options. Top sportsbooks in Ohio will have all the wagers available in 2023.
This site has reviews of the online sportsbooks available for those who want to do some research to see which one is the best fit. You can also sign up with more than one if you find multiple sportsbooks that match what you’re looking for. This would also let you access odds and lines from multiple sources.
Popular bets on Michigan vs. Ohio State
Betting on a game like the Wolverines versus the Buckeyes offers far more options than simply picking which team is going to win. Sure, that’s one of the bets you can place (it’s known as the moneyline), but there are other potential wagers, as well. Below we outline the most common bets you’re going to come across at the best sports betting sites in Ohio.
The point spread is a popular option, particularly among more experienced bettors. It can offer a better potential return on investment than the moneyline if you’re betting on the favorite, and it is still relatively uncomplicated.
With a point spread, oddsmakers will establish an estimated point gap to reflect the two teams’ skill levels. The favored team must win the game by more than that number. The underdog, meanwhile, can either win by any score or lose by less than the spread number. Here’s the point spread from Caesars:
- Ohio State -7 (-110)
- Michigan +7 (-110)
Here Ohio State is favored over the Wolverines by 7 points. That means, for a Buckeyes spread bet to win, they would need to win the game by 8 points or more. The Wolverines, on the other hand, just have to keep the game relatively close and lose by 6 or fewer points. Wagers on the Wolverines also succeed if they win the game outright.
The odds we’re seeing indicate that the potential payout for either team is the same. For every $110 you wager, you stand a chance of winning $100. So a successful bet of $110 on this game would pay out $210 — the initial stake plus the $100 in winnings.
The reason the odds are the same for both teams is because the point spread effectively “evens” the playing field. Even though the Wolverines are the underdogs in this matchup, they have essentially received a 7-point lead in the eyes of the sportsbook.
So, what is moneyline betting? Moneyline is potentially the simplest of the bet when it comes to the ease of playing and understanding how it works. It can be beginner-friendly, as all you need to do is pick the side you think will win. No points. No totals. You just need to predict the winner.
Of course, college football — and especially this Big Ten rivalry — is unpredictable. No matter how much research you do, you can never fully be 100% sure which team is going to win. But that’s the beauty of sports, right?
Here’s an example of a potential moneyline wager you could expect to see at BetMGM online sportsbook in Ohio:
- Ohio State (-265)
- Michigan (+215)
In this example, the Buckeyes are favored to win, indicated by the negative odds number. Michigan, the positive number, is the underdog. This example shows that the oddsmakers expect the game to be somewhat close. A wider gap would indicate more of a potential blowout.
Bets on the favored team mean that if you wagered an amount of money equal to the odds number, you would win $100 on a successful bet. In this case, a winning $265 bet on the Buckeyes would pay out $365 — which is the initial bet plus the $100 payout.
Wagers on the underdog pay out equal to the odds number for every $100 you bet. So, in this example, a winning $100 wager on the Wolverines would pay out $315 — a $215 profit on top of the $100 stake.
These bets, aka over/unders, don’t require you to pick which team is going to win. Instead, the sportsbook estimates a combined total score for the game. You can wager whether the actual total score will be over or under that line.
The over/under is one of the most popular college football bets you can place. It requires research to nail down your prediction, but the hard work definitely pays off if you win the bet. Here’s what an example might look like at the FanDuel Sportsbook app in Ohio:
- Over 60.5 (-110)
- Under 60.5 (-110)
Remember, you don’t need to worry about which team is going to win the game, just what the combined final score from both teams is when the final whistle blows. For example, if the final is 40-21, then the total would be 61 points, and bets on the over would win. The odds work the same as the examples above.
Some bettors swear by parlays, while others avoid them at all costs. While the possible returns can be large, that potential reward comes with a high risk.
A parlay is multiple wagers on the same slip, combined so you have to get all of your picks correct to win. The more picks you have, the higher the potential winnings and the higher the difficulty.
Take, for example, a parlay of four college football games. You pick Ohio State, Notre Dame, Clemson and Florida to win their contests. If each one of those picks ends up correct, you would win much more than you would have betting on each game individually. However, even if you get three right and just one wrong, your parlay loses and you get nothing in return.
That’s what makes parlays so tempting, but also so difficult. They are tough to research and handicap, and sportsbooks tend to offer parlay specials and promotions on a fairly regular basis in order to pique the interest of bettors. That’s because they know the odds of the parlay being successful are definitely in favor of the house.
Ohio State-Michigan history
It’s hard to say what really started the rivalry between Ohio State and Michigan, though some claim that the Toledo War in 1835 had left such a bad taste in the mouths of each state’s residents that it was still a factor in the mutual disdain more than 60 years later.
The Wolverines won that first matchup on Oct. 16, 1897, and went on to control the game for a good stretch of the early years, especially under the coaching of Fielding Yost, who won six national championships.
But the Buckeyes answered in the 1940s with the hiring of Paul Brown, who led the team to its first national title while beating Michigan along the way.
Michigan took control of the series again in the 1950s, but the arrival of Woody Hayes as head coach would change those fortunes for Ohio State. The Buckeyes would win five national titles under Hayes, and they went 12-6 against the Wolverines in that time.
His rivalry with his former assistant Bo Schembechler became legendary as the two teams went through a decade of intense games known as the “Ten Year War” from 1969 to 1978. The Wolverines went 5-4-1 in that time, holding just a slight edge over their rivals.
Hayes and Schembechler would retire and eventually pass away. Schembechler died on Nov. 17, 2006, just one day before the only time in the history of the rivalry the two teams would meet ranked No. 1 (Ohio State) and No. 2 (Michigan). Hayes died in 1987.
In the history of the rivalry, the two teams have combined to produce 171 All-Americans, 10 Heisman Trophy winners, 80 conference championships and 19 national titles. Michigan has the most wins in college football history, and Ohio State is fifth.
Top 5 Ohio State vs. Michigan games
There have been a lot of great games between these two teams, and it wasn’t easy coming up with our top five. Our favorites might not be your favorites, but we’re pretty sure you’ll still agree that they were outstanding games:
- Nov. 18, 2006: We mentioned this game above, and for good reason. It’s the only time in the history of the rivalry that the teams were ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the nation when they met. Heading into the contest, they were both undefeated. When all was said and done, Ohio State was still undefeated after holding off Michigan 42-39 in what is known as the “Game of the Century.” You can see some of the highlights here.
- Nov. 24, 2001: New head coach Jim Tressel made a point of emphasizing the need to defeat Michigan in order to restore the proud traditions of Ohio State. His team did just that in his first season at the helm, breaking a 14-year streak of losing to the Wolverines in Ann Arbor by topping its Big Ten foe 26-20. Check out a nice video on the occasion.
- Nov. 21, 1987: Sometimes a coach means more to a team than anyone realizes. That was the case in 1987 when Ohio State decided to fire head coach Earle Bruce. It was just five days before the Buckeyes were scheduled to play Michigan, and Bruce convinced the school to let him coach that final game. Michigan was heavily favored, but the Buckeyes came to play, beating their rivals 23-20. Rumor has it that just before leaving the locker room, all the players on the team took off their helmets, revealing sweat bands that read “EARLE.” This video is a bit slanted toward the losing team, but it has a nice recap of the game, too.
- Nov. 25, 1972: They say that offense gets the glory, but defense wins the games. On this date in 1972, that was indeed the case for the Buckeyes. The Wolverines were undefeated coming into the contest, and Ohio State was a respectable 8-1. The Wolverines were on the one-yard line during two different drives, but the Ohio State defense stopped them both times. During the second attempt, the Wolverines trailed the Buckeyes 14-11 and would have been able to tie the game with a field goal. Instead, they failed to cross the goal line twice, and Ohio State came away with the win. Here’s a nice recap of those goal line plays.
- Nov. 25, 1944: The win over Michigan in 1944 is one of the greatest in the history of Ohio State football for one very good reason: It gave the Buckeyes their first undefeated season. The game was a barn-burner, ending with Ohio State on top 18-14, in one of the closest games of the rivalry. You can watch the entire game here — though it is silent.
Other college football rivalry games to bet on
Ohio State-Michigan is far from the only intense rivalry in college football. In fact, there are several other noteworthy ones that span the decades. Here are five of our favorite college football rivalries:
- Army vs. Navy: Two military institutions taking on one another in games stretching back to 1890. Navy currently leads the all-time series 61-53-7. It doesn’t matter what the records of these two programs are when they meet on the field — it can be anyone’s game.
- Alabama vs. Auburn: There’s a bitterness between these two teams that ran so deep the two schools decided not to play each other for 41 years. Thankfully those days are over, and they’re on tap to play each other again in 2021 in the game that has become known as the Iron Bowl. Alabama holds the advantage in the series, leading 47-37-1 over Auburn.
- Oklahoma vs. Texas: Want to know how deep this rivalry goes? The game first took place in 1900, before Oklahoma was even a state (that happened in 1907). The Longhorns lead the Sooners all-time in the Red River Shootout, 62-49-5. Oklahoma is narrowing that lead, however, with a current streak of three wins.
- Miami vs. Florida State: There’s just something fun about two in-state schools going at it on the gridiron, right? While these two teams may not be in their heyday currently, there is always going to be a good game full of intensity and big plays when they take each other on. Back in the 1990s, this was the game to watch if you wanted to see future stars of the NFL. Miami has a current winning streak of four and the all-time series lead at 35-30.
- Harvard vs. Yale: We know, we know — maybe not the highest caliber of football. But the history behind this game is significant, and since the two teams are often evenly matched, it’s almost always going to be a good game to watch. They first met in 1875 with Harvard winning 4-0 (no, that’s not a typo). There were 15 players on each side of the ball, as well. Needless to say, it was a different time as football was just beginning to take shape. Yale won the most recent meeting and holds the lead in the all-time series, 68-60-8.