How the Hell Is Ohio State the Favorite to Win the Big Ten?
Ohio State has been gouged by Michigan over the past two seasons to the tune of 270-plus yards running per game, over 7 yards per rush attempt, and back-to-back losses in The Game for the first time in more than 20 years.
So can someone please explain to me why several sportsbooks have the Buckeyes favored over U-M to win the Big Ten in 2023?
BetRivers is among said sportsbooks, with Ohio State currently at +150 odds to win the league. Michigan is next at +165.
Make it make sense!
There's no good reason to favor OSU over Michigan in the Big Ten this year. I mean that in the most literal sense, as in, "I literally cannot think of one single reason to give Ohio State better odds than U-M in a 2023 Big Ten futures bet."
That's not to say Ohio State will be absolute trash this season, by the way. Ryan Day continues to collect five-star players at a good rate, giving the Buckeyes one of the best rosters and talent profiles in all of college football. That, unlike Ohio State's former dominance of its arch-rival, remains unchanged.
But I genuinely cannot understand this. Find one serious, honest, rooted-in-reality reason to install the Buckeyes as the front-runner in this year's Big Ten. Go ahead and try. You just can't do it. Not after what's happened the last two years.
This is driving me nuts. Vegas isn't in the sports betting business to give away money, so how can the books back OSU over U-M? I hate Michigan as much as anyone, but my contempt for all things maize and/or blue doesn't transport me to an alternate timeline where the Buckeyes haven't gotten their asses run over, around, and through by their arch-nemeses for two years running. These odds make me think I'm missing something, a key detail to this year's matchup that's an overwhelming pretext to an Ohio State resurgence. Except I know that no such detail exists.
The final scores of the last two installments of The Game don't stand alone as the only evidence that Ohio State doesn't make sense as this year's league favorite. There are actually several other significant factors pointing toward a third consecutive Michigan-administered Buckeye beatdown.