Sportsbooks Have Ohio State As Third-Most Likely Team to Win National Championship, Slight Favorite to Win Big Ten over Michigan

By Dan Hope on May 30, 2023 at 10:10 am
Ryan Day
Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch/USA TODAY Network

Even though Ohio State will enter the season with some significant question marks, oddsmakers see the Buckeyes as one of the three most likely teams – or at least one of the three teams bettors are most likely to pick – to win the national championship.

Most sportsbooks also list the Buckeyes as the most likely team to win the Big Ten, though only by a slight margin over their archrival Michigan, who has the same over/under for regular-season wins as Ohio State. 

With about three months to go until the season begins, we take a look at the top contenders to win the national championship and the Big Ten championship and the over/unders for every Big Ten team as determined by four different sportsbooks available to bettors in Ohio: FanDuel Sportsbook, DraftKings Sportsbook, betJACK and Caesars Sportsbook.

Buckeyes Third in National Championship Odds

DraftKings and betJACK both give Ohio State the third-highest odds to win the national championship behind Georgia and Alabama. FanDuel has Alabama and Ohio State tied for the second-shortest odds behind Georgia. Caesars gives Ohio State longer odds to win the national championship at 8.5-to-1, slotting the Buckeyes as the fourth-most likely team to win it all behind Michigan.

Across all four sportsbooks, the Bulldogs, Crimson Tide, Buckeyes and Wolverines are the only teams with odds of shorter than 10-to-1 to win the national championship. USC and LSU are seen as the next-most likely teams to win it all.

National Championship Odds
Team FanDuel DraftKings BetJACK Caesars Average
GEORGIA +220 +230 +230 +220 +225
ALABAMA +600 +550 +550 +550 +563
OHIO STATE +600 +650 +700 +850 +700
MICHIGAN +1000 +900 +900 +800 +900
USC +1600 +1400 +1400 +1200 +1400
LSU +1600 +1600 +1400 +1200 +1450

It’s no surprise that Georgia is seen as the frontrunner to win the national championship, considering the Bulldogs have won it all two years running. While the Bulldogs are replacing 10 NFL draft picks and breaking in a new starting quarterback, they’re still loaded with talent on both sides of the ball and should have a top defense once again. That said, no FBS team has won three straight national championships in over 70 years.

Alabama is a perennial national championship contender, but the Crimson Tide’s odds are based more on reputation than anything else. While Alabama has one of college football’s most talented rosters, they don’t have a ton of returning star power and have a major question mark at quarterback, which prompted them to bring in former Notre Dame quarterback Tyler Buchner via the transfer portal.

Ohio State also has question marks at quarterback and offensive tackle, but the Buckeyes have as much upside as anyone with the nation’s best combination of wide receivers and running backs and lots of veteran talent on defense. Of course, they’ll have stiff competition to win the Big Ten from Michigan, who returns the nation’s best offensive backfield with J.J. McCarthy, Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards and enough talent across the board to be a championship contender.

USC could have college football’s best offense with reigning Heisman winner Caleb Williams at quarterback, but Alex Grinch’s defense must improve for the Trojans to be a real title threat. LSU will need to be more consistent than last season but has the personnel to give the SEC a third national title contender.

Buckeyes Favored Slightly to Win Big Ten

Big Ten Odds
Team FanDuel DraftKings BetJACK Caesars Average
OHIO STATE +165 +170 +150 +200 +171
MICHIGAN +210 +180 +170 +175 +184
PENN STATE +500 +600 +500 +650 +563
WISCONSIN +650 +600 +800 +700 +688
IOWA +1400 +1800 +2200 +800 +1550

As you might expect, the three sportsbooks with Ohio State in the top three of the national title odds also have the Buckeyes as the most likely choice to win the Big Ten, though none by a wide margin. Caesars has Michigan as the slight favorite to win the Big Ten over Ohio State, just as it has the Wolverines above the Buckeyes in its national championship odds.

Despite that, none of them have Ohio State as a favorite to beat Michigan in The Game. BetJACK lists The Game as a pick ‘em, but FanDuel has Michigan as a one-point favorite to beat Ohio State in Ann Arbor while DraftKings and Caesars both favor the Wolverines to beat the Buckeyes by a 2.5-point spread.

Ohio State does have the advantage of facing Penn State at home while the Wolverines will have to travel to Happy Valley to face the Nittany Lions, who all four sportsbooks give the third-best odds to win the Big Ten (though DraftKings gives Penn State and Wisconsin the same odds). All four sportsbooks favor the Buckeyes to beat Penn State by at least 10 points; betJACK lists Michigan vs. Penn State as a pick ‘em, while the other three sportsbooks list Michigan as a 2.5-point favorite over the Nittany Lions.

Wisconsin, which will host Ohio State but will not play Michigan or Penn State during the regular season, has the best odds to win the Big Ten title of any team in the West division – which has never won the Big Ten Championship Game since the conference moved to East and West divisions. Iowa, which will travel to Penn State but will not play Ohio State or Michigan during the regular season, has the fifth-best odds to win the Big Ten on all five sportsbooks.

Michigan Seen as More Likely to Reach 11 Wins

Big Ten Regular-Season Over/Unders
Team FanDuel (O/U) DraftKings (O/U) Caesars (O/U) Average*
MICHIGAN 10.5 (-118/-104) 10.5 (-120/+100) 10.5 (-130/+100) 10.5 (-123/-101)
OHIO STATE 10.5 (-115/-105) 10.5 (-105/-115) 10.5 (+110/-140) 10.5 (-103/-120)
PENN STATE 9.5 (-138/+112) 9.5 (-135/+115) 9.5 (-125/-105) 9.5 (-133/+107)
WISCONSIN 8.5 (-128/+104) 8.5 (-120/+100) 8.5 (-130/+100) 8.5 (-126/+101)
IOWA 7.5 (-162/+132) 7.5 (-150/+130) 7.5 (-160/+130) 7.5 (-157/+131)
MARYLAND 7.5 (+134/-164) 7 (-105/-115) 7 (+100/-130) 7 (-103/-123)
MINNESOTA 7.5 (+134/-164) 6.5 (-135/+115) 7 (-120/-110) 7 (-120/-110)
ILLINOIS 6.5 (-118/-104) 6.5 (-110/-110) 6.5 (-130/+100) 6.5 (-119/+105)
NEBRASKA 6.5 (+110/-134) 6 (-120/+100) 6 (-130/+100) 6 (-125/+100)
PURDUE 5.5 (+118/-144) 5.5 (+110/-130) 5 (-145/+115) 5.5 (+114/-137)
MICHIGAN STATE 5.5 (+118/-144) 5.5 (+135/-155) 4.5 (-180/+150) 5 (-127/+100)
RUTGERS 3.5 (-144/+118) 4.5 (+100/-120) 4 (-130/+100) 4 (-130/+100)
INDIANA 3.5 (-176/+142) 3.5 (-145/+125) 4 (+100/-130) 3.5 (-161/+135)
NORTHWESTERN 3.5 (-128/+104) 3.5 (-125/+105) 3.5 (-120/-110) 3.5 (-124/+100)
*All averages were rounded to the nearest half-game.

Ohio State and Michigan both have the same over/under for regular-season wins, but Michigan has slightly better odds to hit the over 10.5 at all of FanDuel, DraftKings and Caesars. That has a lot to do with the teams’ non-conference schedules, as the Buckeyes will face a legitimate test in their non-conference finale against Notre Dame while Michigan begins its season with what should be a trio of cakewalks against East Carolina, UNLV and Bowling Green.

If you are confident the Buckeyes will win at least 11 regular-season games, you can bet on them to do so for plus money at Caesars, which favors Ohio State to win 10 games or fewer.

Penn State is favored to win at least 10 regular-season games, which it could accomplish even without beating Ohio State or Michigan if it wins the remainder of its contests. Wisconsin is favored to win at least nine regular-season games in Luke Fickell’s first year coaching the Badgers.

Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Illinois and Nebraska are also favored to become bowl-eligible. Purdue is projected to take the biggest step back in the conference, as the odds imply the Boilermakers will win just five games in 2023 after winning the Big Ten West last year, while Michigan State, Rutgers, Indiana and Northwestern are also projected to finish the season with losing records.

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