College Football Odds: Ohio State Preview

By: Adam Markowitz | Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Terrelle Pryor

Terrelle Pryor is plus 500 to take home the 2010 Heisman Trophy.

In the 2006, 2007, and 2008 college football betting campaigns, the Ohio State Buckeyes were looked upon as that team that could play well in the regular season but never come through when the chips were in the center of the table in a BCS Bowl. All of that changed last year though, as the Buckeyes played in the Rose Bowl and absolutely trampled the Oregon Ducks and their high-flying offense.

The perception outside of Columbus still really hasn't changed much about Ohio State. The Buckeyes are the second choice to win the national title at plus 550 this season, but few really expect them to pull off the feat.

One reason this squad has very high expectations is QB Terrelle Pryor. Highly recruited in high school, Pryor is now in his third year playing for the Buckeyes. He is among the favorites to win the Heisman Trophy at plus 500.

We aren't so sure that all of his hype is warranted, though. Pryor only completed 56.6 percent of his passes for 2,094 yards last season, and he was frequently booed at the Horseshoe by his own fans when things weren't going well. Yes, rushing for 779 yards did lead the team in '09, but that doesn't make up for 11 INTs.

Ohio State ranked 103rd in the country in passing offense at 173.1 YPG.  That number absolutely must improve for Pryor to get Heisman consideration and for the Buckeyes win the National Championship.

The Ohio State defense was flat-out nasty in 2009 though, and the unit is expected to be fantastic again in 2010. The Buckeyes ranked fifth in the nation in total defense (262.3 YPG) and scoring (12.5 PPG). The 'D' pitched three shutouts over the course of the season (Toledo, Illinois and New Mexico State), and held two more conference foes to just one touchdown (Penn State and Minnesota). Only three teams scored more than 18 points on the Buckeyes.

From the standpoint of the college football betting lines, there weren't many teams in the land that were more efficient than Ohio State. The Buckeyes went a rock solid 10-3 ATS, including the Rose Bowl, and were 5-2 ATS at home.

The first four games of the season will all be played in Columbus, and only one third of the team's dozen games are going to be played on enemy fields.

The way the schedule is set up, there are only two games that should be of major concern this year. The trip to Camp Randall on October 16 certainly won't be fun, but the bigger game comes November 20 at Iowa.

The Hawkeyes are probably the biggest challenge to the Buckeyes' Big Ten throne, and they proved they belonged last year in an overtime loss at Columbus. That day, Iowa played without QB Ricky Stanzi.

If you're a fan of low scoring games, the Buckeyes were your team of choice last season. The Bucks went 5-0-1 for 'under' bettors away from the Horseshoe, and 9-3-1 overall.

Again, much of that was due to the fact that the offense had several inefficient games, particularly in Big Ten play when the team averaged just 25.4 PPG.

When the 2010 NCAA football betting campaign is said and done, Ohio State is almost certainly going to be heading to a major bowl game. At worst, it seems like the Capital One Bowl is the destination, though winning the Big Ten and heading to either the BCS Championship Game or the Rose Bowl seems like the most logical choice.

Somewhere along the way though, there is a trip-up to be had.  With so many other teams from major conferences playing big time out of conference games, it is going to be hard for Ohio State to justify being able to play for the title unless it is undefeated.

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