Ohio State Football an Early Underdog Against Michigan, Favorite Against Notre Dame and Penn State

By Chase Brown on February 22, 2023 at 11:58 am
Ryan Day

Ohio State football hasn't started its spring practices yet, but that hasn’t stopped sportsbooks from opening betting lines for the Buckeyes' biggest games in 2023.

Ohio State is listed by FanDuel Sportsbook as a one-point underdog against Michigan in the 119th edition of The Game, which will be played in Ann Arbor on Nov. 25 after back-to-back wins for the Wolverines. The Buckeyes are also listed as 7.5-point favorites against Notre Dame and seven-point favorites against Penn State.

If the line for Ohio State's battle with Michigan holds (or extends in favor of UM), it will be the first time since The Game in 2018 that the Buckeyes will enter any regular-season game, let alone the rivalry game, as an underdog. Ohio State defeated Michigan in that contest, 62-39, behind a 396-yard, five-touchdown performance from Dwayne Haskins.

This fall, Ohio State returns 67% of its offensive and defensive production from this past season, per ESPN's Bill Connelly, including the likes of Marvin Harrison Jr., Emeka Egbuka, Tommy Eichenberg and JT Tuimoloau. However, Michigan has the edge over Ohio State in that category, as Connelly measures that 81% of the Wolverines’ production will return in 2023, including quarterback J.J. McCarthy, running backs Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards and cornerbacks Will Johnson and Mike Sainristil, among others.

Ohio State has not lost three consecutive games against Michigan since the 1995-97 seasons, the heart of the John Cooper era in Columbus.

Regarding Ohio State's matchups with Notre Dame and Penn State, the team is favored to beat both programs by a touchdown or more. The Buckeyes will face the Irish on Sept. 23 in South Bend, Indiana, their first road test of the year against a squad that will now have Wake Forest transfer Sam Hartman at quarterback. On Oct. 21, the Buckeyes will welcome the Nittany Lions into the Horseshoe, where Penn State has not defeated Ohio State since 2011, but James Franklin, Drew Allar and company will look to change that in 2023.

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