Ohio State’s football season ended in heartbreaking fashion seconds before midnight on New Year’s Eve, as the Buckeyes lost 42-41 to Georgia in a College Football Playoff semifinal. The Bulldogs then easily dispatched TCU 65-7 in the national title game, leaving OSU fans to wonder what could’ve been had they outlasted No. 1 Georgia.
While the 2022-23 season didn’t end the way Ohio State fans hoped, the Buckeyes are expected to contend for the national title again next season. Sports betting odds suggest Ohio State is among a handful of way-too-early favorites to win it all in 2023-24.
Oddsmakers like the Buckeyes
Ohio State ranges from +500 to +800 to win the national championship across Barstool Sportsbook (+500), BetMGM (+600), Caesars Sportsbook (+650), FanDuel (+700), and DraftKings (+800). The Buckeyes hold the third-shortest odds to win the championship at four of those five mobile sportsbooks, while BetMGM has Ohio State with the second-shortest odds.
Next season will be the first Buckeyes football season with legal sports betting platforms operational in Ohio. Legal sportsbooks launched in the state on Jan. 1.
Ohio State fans can wager on what should be a dynamic offensive team, as the Buckeyes are expected to bring back wide receivers Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka. Running back/receiver Xavier Johnson is also coming back, he announced this week. Ohio State needs to replace quarterback C.J. Stroud, but the Buckeyes have a strong tradition of success at the quarterback position.
Xavier Johnson, Ohio State’s swiss army knife, will return in 2023! Huge news as he can do it all. pic.twitter.com/zhCOILQDGt
— The Buckeye Nut (@TheBuckeyeNut) January 9, 2023
Road games against Michigan and Notre Dame are significant challenges, but the Buckeyes still made the playoff this season with one loss.
Georgia is listed by most sportsbooks as the 2023-24 national title favorite (a consensus +300), as the Bulldogs are expected to make a run at their third consecutive national championship. They’ll do so without starting quarterback Stetson Bennett, but they’re bringing in a top-3 recruiting class and a few standouts via the transfer portal. Tight end Brock Bowers headlines a group of talented projected returners.
Alabama (+400 on Barstool Sportsbook), USC (+800), Clemson (+1000), and Michigan (+1200) are other early projected contenders for the national title. USC returns Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams at quarterback.
Uncertainty this far out
While oddsmakers expect several big-name programs to contend for the national title, there’s significant uncertainty ahead of the upcoming season. Teams like Ohio State don’t even have a lock at starting quarterback entering the offseason, and the transfer portal can rapidly change a team’s outlook for better or worse.
Bettors wagering on the Buckeyes this January should expect the college football landscape to change a handful of times (or more) before September. At this time last year, TCU was coming off a 5-7 season and made a coaching change. The team’s national championship performance was a dud, but the Horned Frogs still shocked most college football experts by rattling off 13 wins and making the national championship game.
Ohio State won’t need that level of improvement to make the title game, but there’s a long way to go before next season.
Photo: Dale Zanine/USA TODAY