Ohio State Buckeyes Odds to win the College Football National Championship with Expert Betting Predictions
Anyone who has read my stuff over the years knows I make no secret of my Michigan allegiance. I'm literally wearing a Michigan jacket as I write this. That makes this the hardest preview to write every year. I'm big enough, though, to acknowledge that what Urban Meyer has done in Columbus has been impressive and that again he comes into the season in a position of real strength. He and his squad are legitimate national title contenders because they always are. They never have to regroup or take a step back. They just keep attacking. This year they have two new offensive coordinators and have gone from two to one defensive coordinators, but staffing changes are just a fact of life for this program, and as always they have hired well. This team is going to be very good. And surely I'm not the only one that hates that.
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2016 in a Nutshell
Right up until the end the season went about as expected. They lost a bit of a stunner at Penn State and were aided by the officials to beat Michigan in double overtime, but their 11-1 record was still good enough to have them ranked second overall and comfortably in the playoff - even if they didn't win their division and make the Big Ten title game. The team must have been really focused on New Year's Eve parties, though, because they forgot to show up for their playoff game that evening. They lost 31-0 to Clemson in a score that was, if anything, flattering. It was a real mystery. Absolutely nothing went right for the team. We'll find out if they have any trouble shaking off that humiliation this year, but I'm not betting that they will. Meyer is most effective when he is mad at something, and he will have plenty of anger to fuel him after that debacle.
Key Additions and Departures
The team lost seven players in the draft, including three first-rounders and five early entrants. At this point, though, this squad is so used to losing their top talent every year that it's hardly even worth mentioning. When you operate at this level it's just what happens. As always, they reloaded with another ridiculously strong new class - their 21 recruits included six five-stars, and the class ranked only behind Alabama's overall. Add that to a team that is already ridiculously deep, and you have a team that will be just fine. There is no reason to feel sorry for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State Buckeyes Schedule Analysis
Unless something goes really, really wrong this is a three-game season. They play Oklahoma in the second game of the year. The Sooners should be good again, but that shocking coaching change won't help, the Buckeyes are at home, and Ohio State won handily when the teams met last year in Norman. Then Oct. 28 they host Penn State in what will definitely be a revenge game. I'm more skeptical than many about the Nittany Lions despite the freakishness of Saquon Barkley, so I sure won't bet against Ohio State at home. It comes down, then, to what it often comes down to - the season-ending showdown with the Wolverines. Michigan hosts this time, which is huge for them. They don't entirely have clarity at QB yet, and are working in plenty of new starters, but the talent is very strong, and Michigan will be salivating for this game. There is a very good chance that the Buckeyes will be 11-0 in this one. That means that this game will mean everything - as it should.
All in all, 10 wins seems like the absolute floor here, and 11 or 12 (dare I say it) are certainly possible. This is a schedule with a solid blend of winnable games and opportunities to make a statement. If the Buckeyes don't make the playoff again then it won't be the schedule that is to blame.
2017-18 Ohio State Buckeyes Betting Odds and Trends
Ohio State is the second choice to win the national title at +700 at BetOnline , though well behind favored Alabama at +250. They are also solidly favored to win the very competitive Big Ten at -110, ahead of Wisconsin at +300, Penn State at +500, and Michigan at +600. The Buckeyes are significant 20.5-point favorites in their opener at Indiana - and are likely to be favored by more than that by the opening kickoff as new offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson will be very determined to beat up on the team he used to coach and left in very sketchy circumstances. QB J.T. Barrett (am I the only one who feels like Barrett is in about his 19th year of college?) is the fifth choice to win the Heisman at +1000.
2017-18 Ohio State Buckeyes Predictions and College Football Picks
They are going to be 11-0 heading into Ann Arbor. I'm confident of that. I won't insult you by pretending to be objective about that game. Regardless of the outcome, though, they should have done enough to make the playoff again. And they could be dangerous there - as long as they don't replicate last year's non-performance.
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