After getting thoroughly demolished by the underdog Michigan Wolverines at home in a battle of undefeated squads on Saturday, the Ohio State Buckeyes seemed like a longshot to win a national title. And Caesars Sportsbook treated them as such by swiftly lengthening their odds from +210 (second shortest behind Georgia) to 50/1.
Almost immediately, bettors pounced — and they haven’t stopped pouncing, even as Ohio State’s title odds have fallen all the way to +750, trailing only Georgia (-160) and Michigan (+280).
According to a press release issued by Caesars, after Saturday’s 45-23 trouncing, a Colorado bettor put $4,000 on Ohio State to win it all at 40/1. Once the odds dropped to 30/1, an Illinois bettor placed a $5,000 wager on the Buckeyes and a Pennsylvania bettor followed suit with a $3,333.33 bet. By Saturday night, less than six hours after their odds were moved to 50/1, the Buckeyes had already been bet down to 14/1.
“Moving Ohio State to 50/1 was a combination of a couple things,” said Joey Feazel, lead college football trader at Caesars Sportsbook. “If Clemson got up there, we thought that Clemson would have jumped Ohio State, but they lost to South Carolina. It was also a question of whether Alabama would be in the mix or not. The LSU loss [to Texas A&M] played a role in it too. So it was an assumption that Ohio State would be pretty much out of it, and it was a really bad loss. But Ohio State was able to stick in there because of those other losses, and the committee had them in front of Alabama [Tuesday] night to put them in solid position.”
Indeed, despite the Michigan drubbing, the Buckeyes sit fifth in the College Football Playoff rankings, putting them in position to potentially be among the national semifinalists if either the University of Southern California or Texas Christian lose in their respective conference championship games. (With a record of 11-1, Ohio State is idle until bowl season on account of its loss to Michigan.) To that end, 11-1 USC will have to avenge its only loss of the season in its Pac-12 title tilt against Utah.
Modest but meaningful backing at other books
After reaching out to several mobile sportsbooks to gauge how much money had come in on OSU to win the national championship after its loss to Michigan, OH Bets heard back from seven, most of which will start taking wagers in Ohio when it becomes legal to do so on Jan. 1. None of these sportsbooks reported taking whopper-sized wagers like Caesars did. Then again, none of them were gutsy (crazy?) enough to jack the Buckeyes’ title odds all the way up to 50/1 right after the final second ticked off the clock in Columbus on Saturday, as Caesars did.
But most mobile sportsbooks did report cutting the Buckeyes’ odds significantly after a number of more modest bettors backed Ohio State to win it all after the Michigan massacre. The SuperBook saw the Buckeyes’ post-loss national title odds roughly cut in half from 18/1 to +925, while WynnBET’s went from 16/1 to 10/1, Tipico’s tightened to 9/1 from 15/1, and Betfred’s went from 14/1 to 12/1 after reopening that particular futures market on Sunday.
BetRivers reopened Ohio State at 20/1 to win the CFP championship on Sunday morning before watching those odds dip to their current 10/1 level. The sportsbook has taken two four-figure wagers on Ohio State to win the whole shebang since getting banged around by the Wolverines, and 21% of Ohio State’s total national title handle at BetRivers is from wagers placed since the Michigan defeat.
BetMGM, which currently has the Buckeyes priced even with USC at 11/1 to win the national championship, reported that 15% of all national championship tickets and 11% of the handle in that market since Sunday could be attributed to Ohio State, which is the sportsbook’s third-biggest liability behind Alabama and USC.
By comparison, the Buckeyes have accounted for 39.3% of Caesars’ national title handle since Saturday, nearly double that of runner-up Georgia (20.2%). Moreover, Caesars has taken twice as much money on Ohio State to win the national championship just since its loss to Michigan than has been wagered all year at the sportsbook on TCU to win it all.
Photo: Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch