It’s still almost 100 days until Ohio State opens its football season against Bowling Green, but Las Vegas has spoken.
Two Nevada casinos recently published their over-under betting lines on how many wins the Buckeyes and other major college football teams will get this fall.
According to the Golden Nugget’s odds makers, Ohio State’s over-under is 8.5 wins. The South Point casino says the over-under for the Buckeyes is 9 wins.
The two casinos both like Michigan better than OSU. South Point gives the Wolverines an over-under of 10 wins and the Golden Nugget puts it at 9.5 wins.
Michigan State comes in at 8.0 from South Point and 7.5 from the Golden Nugget. Notre Dame’s over-under is 9.5 wins, according to South Point and the Golden Nugget says the Golden Domers will be closer to 9 wins.
Iowa, last year’s Big Ten championship game opponent for Michigan State, got an over-under of 8.5 from South Point, which predicted win totals for every NCAA Division I football team.
In those predictions, Bowling Green was picked to have an over-under of seven wins. Toledo’s forecast was 6.5 wins and Ohio University’s number was 7.5.
What does all this mean? Other than the facts that a lot of college football fans need a fix of their favorite sport 365 days a year and that Americans like to bet on sports, it doesn’t mean a whole lot.
It is, though, a good promotional tool for two casinos that are off the Las Vegas Strip. The Golden Nugget is in downtown Las Vegas and the South Point is also off the Strip.
These predictions, like the weekly betting lines on games, are designed to move betting traffic more than produce pinpoint accuracy.
But they’re still fun to argue over and debate about until the games actually start in September.
Winning eight games seems a bit low for Ohio State. Nine would be a safe, conservative selection. And 10 or more would probably be considered a good regular season for the Buckeyes, considering the absence of 16 starters from last season.
If they would start off with eight straight wins or something like that, 10-2 would not look as good as it does now, though.
The reasons to be optimistic about Ohio State winning nine, 10 or more games start with quarterback J.T. Barrett.
When healthy and in the starting lineup, he has been the leader of a highly efficient offense. Also, other Big Ten teams like Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana and Wisconsin – all on OSU’s schedule – will be led by first-year starters at quarterback. So there could be an advantage there for OSU.
All the experts say Ohio State has recruited extremely well since Urban Meyer became coach and this will be the first season he has had four classes of his own recruits at Ohio State. Some of those recruits, like Curtis Samuel, Dontre Wilson, Dante Booker, Chris Worley and Mike Weber probably view this season as their time to make a statement.
But reasons that it could be an eight-win season can also be found. Just look at list the names of the players who have to be replaced and the places OSU has to play.
Just to name a few, Ohio State has to replace Joey Bosa, Adolphus Washington, Darron Lee, Joshua Perry, Eli Apple, Vonn Bell, Ezekiel Elliott, Michael Thomas and Taylor Decker.
And OSU has to play at Oklahoma, at Penn State, at Michigan State and at Wisconsin.
Some people swear by the Vegas over-unders. But they have lots of hits and misses every year.
A year ago, the over-under projections were on target about Ohio State with 11 wins. But they missed on Alabama (9.5 wins vs. winning 11), Michigan State (9.5 vs. winning 11) and Michigan (7.5 vs. winning 10).
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau.