Those closest to the team, however, were confident in Ohio State's ability to respond. Sure, Braxton Miller was a loss, but Urban Meyer's recruiting efforts were about to come to fruition with or without Braxton.
That is to say, Ohio State will still be a damned fine football team.
And it appears Vegas may have overestimated the loss of Braxton a bit as well. Ohio State's national title odds have already been bet down to 20:1. The opening line to Navy dripped from (-19) to (-13), but it now stands at (-16½).
The LVH sportsbook, for example, originally listed Ohio State as (-17½) favorites, and despite being nicked due to Braxton's injury, the line has been bet back up to (-16½).
“On our side of the counter, we’re scratching our heads,” LVH sports book director Jay Kornegay told The Blade. “We were having a discussion about it the other day. So, is Barrett just looking really good in practice? Does it look like they’re not missing a beat? ... There's no way I would ever have thought going from Miller to Barrett would be worth one point.”
What's some reasoning behind the Navy line's fluctuation?
“We got flooded with even more OSU money, including a little bit of respected money,” said Dave Mason, Bet Online’s sports book brand manager, in an online message. “Sure, Miller’s injury is big, but OSU still has a ton more talent, including Barrett, than Navy. Since the number went back up to 16.5, we are still getting hit with Buckeye money.
“Navy will be one of our bigger needs come Saturday. Already, 77 percent of the action is on the Buckeyes. ... Obviously, the bettors have faith in OSU’s young quarterback.”
As Kenny Hill and Texas A&M proved last night... the talent surrounding the quarterback can go a long way.
Ohio State, even sans Braxton, is a young, talented and hungry team with a chip on their shoulder. Bettors are just catching up to what Ohio State fans have known since the beginning.