Last week Bovada released prop bets last week for not only player performances during the upcoming season, but also for how many FBS teams fare in 2014 (of course these are for entertainment purposes only). While we won't break down every single prop bet that is out there, we will take a look at those related to Ohio State and other Big Ten teams.
Odds to win the Heisman Trophy:
Jameis Winston: 9-2
Marcus Mariota: 5-1
Brett Hundley: 10-1
Bryce Petty: 12-1
Melvin Gordon: 12-1
There are many other players listed with higher odds but for the sake of space we'll keep this limited. If you want more information on longer shots you can check out Bovada's odds on their site.
The last few years there have been a number of players that won the Heisman Trophy and came back to school looking to join Archie Griffin as the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner. Tebow, Ingram, Bradford, and Manziel all weren't able to repeat as Heisman Trophy winners, and I think that trend will continue when it comes to Jameis Winston.
Marcus Mariota will be in the mix of the Heisman Trophy talk all season long, unless he falters early or gets hurt, but the real intriguing name out of this group for me is Brett Hundley. With games against Oregon, USC, and Stanford all at home this year, the Bruins could make a run for the College Football Playoff behind the arm and legs of Hundley. The last two games of the year for Hundley and the Bruins are the USC and Stanford games and big games there could leave a lasting impression with voters, along with a possible Pac-12 Championship Game. Once Braxton Miller went down to injury the odds for Hundley went from 14-1 to 10-1.
While Hundley's odds jumped with the season-ending injury to Miller, the biggest jump in odds that I noticed, at least among Big Ten players, was for Connor Cook. Before the Miller injury, Cook was given 40-1 odds to life the Heisman, but now he is slated with a 25-1 shot to earn the Heisman.
Ohio State over/under 10.5 wins this season: Over = +135, Under = -165
These odds have changed heavily in the past week, and it is no secret why. When these were originally posted the over sat at -140 and the under was at +110. The loss of Braxton Miller has made bettors a lot more bullish on Ohio State's chances for a successful season, and that's understandable when your best player goes down. But, this Ohio State team still has loads of talent, and I wouldn't be surprised to see them make some noise this year, which makes the over a very tasty bet.
Of course the total wins category only counts for regular season games, 11 wins for the Buckeyes is very possible. The Michigan State game is obviously the toughest on the schedule, but by that time J.T. Barrett should be comfortable in the quarterback role as the game doesn't come until early November. Barrett will also get a test of a hostile crowd at night when the Buckeyes travel to Happy Valley to take on Penn State under the lights a couple weeks before. Ohio State avoids West Division powerhouses like Wisconsin, Iowa, and Nebraska which makes 11 or more wins even more possible. So why not take the underdog bet and root for maximum wins here?
Will Ohio State make the 4-team college football playoff? Yes: +300, No: -500
Another line that has changed dramatically in the past couple days. Last week "Yes" sat at even odds, while no was slotted at -140. While I have a hope that Ohio State can hit the over on season wins, I'm not quite as optimistic about the Buckeyes making the 4-team playoff. This is one that you'd be better off unless you are more confident than me about the chances of the Buckeyes this season. If you do think they'll find their way into the playoff it could be quite a tasty payout.
Will Michigan State make the 4-team college football playoff? Yes: +250, No: -400
While many now perceive Michigan State as the team to beat in the Big Ten, their odds to make the inaugural playoff haven't changed all that much with the Braxton Miller injury. Last week a yes bet sat at +300, while no was at -500. While Sparty might be in better shape against the Buckeyes now, they still have to play Oregon early in the year, along with some Big Ten games that could cause them some problems.
Melvin Gordon over/under 1554.5 yards rushing and over/under 14.5 rushing touchdowns
Last year Melvin Gordon had James White to split carries with and still rushed for a ridiculous 8.1 yards per carry on his way to 1466 rushing yards, all while White had nearly 30 more carries. This year the spotlight in Madison is all for Gordon. The Badgers will have a tough test in LSU to start the season, but there isn't a ton on the schedule that should slow Gordon down. I wouldn't be surprised to see Gordon top 1600 yards for a Wisconsin running game that is always strong. Same thing goes for the rushing touchdown total. More touches for him will allow him to improve on the 12 rushing touchdowns he had last year.
Stefon Diggs over/under 950.5 yards receiving and over/under 6.5 receiving touchdowns
Last year saw Diggs only play in seven games but still rack up nearly 600 yards receiving. As a true freshman Diggs had 848 yards and six touchdowns. He is Maryland's most dangerous offensive weapon and as long as he can stay healthy I think he should surpass both of these totals. I might not think much of Randy Edsall but I think he is smart enough to know that getting the ball in Diggs' hands as much as possible is a recipe for success. Plus with C.J. Brown returning at quarterback, Diggs should have a nice repoire with him.
Most rushing yards by a Big Ten running back:
Melvin Gordon: Even
Jeremy Langford: +300
David Cobb: +325
Tevin Coleman: +350
Ameer Abdullah: +400
The easy money in this category seems to come with Melvin Gordon, but the best value that you are going to get here is with Ameer Abdullah. Last year Abdullah rushed for 1568 yards and even more should be in store for the running back in his senior season in Lincoln. I would have expected Abdullah to be in the top-three in this category, so it getting such long odds on a proven commodity is quite the treat.
Most rushing touchdowns by a Big Ten running back:
Jeremy Langford: +200
Melvin Gordon: +225
Tevin Coleman: +250
Ameer Abdullah: +275
David Cobb: +375
I think in this category that the favorite is the one to be the one to finish with the most rushing touchdowns. While Melvin Gordon is intriguing and I think he have at least 15 rushing touchdowns, some of those close TDs could be vultured by Corey Clement. Langford on the other hand is the clear-cut back in Michigan State's backfield, and even with Sparty trying to find their offensive identity early last year he still rushed for 17 touchdowns.
Big Ten team season win totals:
Illinois over/under 5 wins: Over: Even, Under: -130
Nathan Scheelhaase is gone but Illinois replaces him with Oklahoma State transfer Wes Lunt. Games with Youngstown State, Western Kentucky, and Texas State, along with Purdue should get them to four wins, but I'm having a hard time to find two wins to push this over. if anything I think their total falls right at five wins.
Indiana over/under 5.5 wins: Over: +110, Under: -140
Take the under here. Sure the Hoosiers have a high-scoring offense, but their defense leaves much to be desired. Basically the question is do you think that Indiana is going bowlin' this year? I'm having a hard time seeing it.
Iowa over/under 8.5 wins: Over: -115, Under: -115
It wouldn't surprise me at all to see Iowa sitting at 10-0 heading into home games against Wisconsin and Nebraska to close the regular season. Hit the over and you might be able to cash this one out early.
Maryland over/under 6.5 wins: Over: +105, Under: -135
I think Maryland finds their way to six wins in their inaugural Big Ten season, but I don't think they get anymore than that. Besides, do you really want to put your faith in Randy Edsall? That's what I thought.
Michigan over/under 8 wins: Over: -115, Under: -115
Rooting for Michigan to win games? No thanks. Plus you'll be feeling good about taking the under when Appalachian State pulls the shocker again.
Michigan State over/under 9.5 wins: Over: -135, Under: +105
It would be so Sparty for Michigan State to lose three or four games this year after the expectations they have coming into the season, but even I think they can't Sparty that hard.
Minnesota over/under 6.5 wins: Over: +110, Under: -140
Last year saw the Golden Gophers win six games to become bowl eligible and I think much of the same is in store for them this season. I've found six games that I think they can win but I'm having a hard time convincing myself that they'll be able to find a seventh.
Nebraska over/under 8 wins: Over: -130, Under: Even
I know that usually Nebraska comes into the season with high expectations and then fail to live up to the hype. To get to at least eight wins it shouldn't be too tough for them. With Ameer Abdullah on offense and Randy Gregory on defense I really think they hit the conference schedule with an undefeated record. Home games against Illinois, Rutgers, and Purdue should get them at least three more wins, and they pick up the final two wins needed to cash somewhere else.
Northwestern over/under 7.5 wins: Over: +110, Under: -140
Had Northwestern had Venric Mark playing for them I would have definitely considered going over with this total, but he's gone and I think the Wildcats struggle to even get to seven wins. Maybe they're better than I'm giving them credit for but I think their Big Ten schedule is too tough for them to make noise.
Penn State over/under 7.5 wins: Over: -150, Under: +120
Penn State is on the up with Christian Hackenberg at quarterback, but those odds are a little too high for my liking to take the over. I really do think they get to at least eight wins but this is a pass for me since I don't see much value in taking the over.
Purdue over/under 3.5 wins: Over: -115, Under: -115
After winning only one game last year I'm supposed to believe that the Boilermakers can win four? Call me crazy but I think they can. I'll give Darrell Hazell the benefit of the doubt even though he inherited a dumpster fire. Danny Etling got some run at QB late last year and I think that'll help him this season where he is the clear-cut starter. Purdue gets most of their wins in the non-conference part of their schedule and squeaks out one or two wins in the B1G portion.
Rutgers over/under 4 wins: Over: -125, Under: -105
Welcome to the Big Ten, Rutgers. You're the new Purdue! Just take the under here. The season starts with a trip to Pullman to take on Mike Leach's pirate ship and doesn't get much better after that.
Wisconsin over/under 9.5 wins: Over: -150, Under: +120
The under might be worth a look here, especially after the news that presumed starter at quarterback Joel Stave didn't win the job. The Big Ten schedule isn't terribly tough for the Badgers, but I think they find themselves in a hole early after a loss to LSU to open the season. After that they only have to lose two games and I could see them dropping games to Nebraska and Iowa late in the season. Not saying it is gonna happen, just say it is worth a shot.