We chatted with the most well-respected sports gambling reporter in the business, ESPN's David Purdum, to check the current Las Vegas odds, stats and trends, plus we get his opinions on the upcoming college football season. Remember, Purdum is an ESPN reporter who covers the ins-and-outs of the industry and is a recreational bettor — not a sharp bettor who is putting big time money on games. Also, these odds are coming from Las Vegas casinos, which do not have as many prop bets as off-shore sportsbooks, such as Bovada.
Take these trends and odds with a grain of salt, as the casinos always win.
Here are Purdum's takes on Ohio State, the Big Ten and the rest of college football:
Land-Grant Holy Land: Did the Ohio State-Oklahoma betting lines move at all when Bob Stoops abruptly retired? If they weren't released yet, has there been any line movement since the Buckeyes opened at -8?
David Purdum: The book at the South Point Casino — an off-the-Strip property that’s trying to take the lead on college football betting — opened Ohio State as an 8-point favorite over Oklahoma, way back on May 31.
Since May 31, the line has dropped a half point to -7.5. There hasn’t been a lot of early action at this point, but it will certainly be heavily bet the week leading up the game.
Land-Grant Holy Land: What is your favorite Urban Meyer or Ohio State betting trend?
Purdum: When it comes to covering the number, Meyer has entered GOAT status. I have his teams covering the spread in 59.5 percent of his career games. That is an incredible mark.
He’s amazing with extra time to prepare and -- speaking of the Oklahoma game --deadly in non-conference play. Since 2005, he’s 33-16 ATS in non-conference play.
Land-Grant Holy Land: What are the current odds for the Buckeyes to win the national title? How heavily are they being bet?
Purdum: Ohio State is the second-favorite to win the national title and can be found around 3:1 in Las Vegas.
The Buckeyes seemingly every year attract a ton of betting support in the offseason. In terms of number of bets, only USC and Michigan have more than Ohio State at William Hill’s Nevada sportsbook. (They operate the most books in the state).
In terms of money wagered, Ohio State has attracted the third-most, behind Alabama and USC.
Land-Grant Holy Land: What are J.T. Barrett's current Heisman odds? Is Vegas seeing some money coming in on the reigning B1G Offensive POY?
Purdum: Barrett’s 12:1 at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas. USC QB Sam Darnold is the favorite at around 9:2. Barrett is fourth in terms of money wagered to win the Heisman.
Land-Grant Holy Land: Do you expect the Buckeyes to be favored in every regular season game?
Purdum: Right now, they’ll absolutely be favored in every game. In the early lines up in Las Vegas, the Buckeyes are 7-point favorites at Michigan.
Land-Grant Holy Land: What is their current win total in Vegas?
Purdum: 11 wins (-120 to the under).
Land-Grant Holy Land: Who are the top three favorites (in order) to win the Big Ten East and Big Ten West?
Purdum: Books aren’t offering division winners to the best of my knowledge. But here are the top-six favorites to win the Big Ten at the South Point sportsbook:
Ohio State -120
Penn State 9-2
Land-Grant Holy Land: Besides Barrett, which players from the Big Ten are high on the Heisman Trophy odds list?
Purdum: Penn State’s two stars, RB Saquon Barkley and QB Trace McSorely are in the mix. Barkley is 12:1, same as Barrett, and has been a popular bet this offseason. McSorley is 20:1.
Land-Grant Holy Land: What are some trends from Jim Harbaugh that stick out from his college coaching days and last year?
Purdum: Harbaugh has been decent, but unspectacular against the spread in college. I have him at 41-34 ATS for his career. He’s been solid as a home favorite throughout his career.
Land-Grant Holy Land: Who is getting the most action from bettors to win the national title?
Purdum: More money has been bet on Alabama to win the national title than any other team at multiple books. The Crimson Tide are the consensus favorites at around 5:2.
Land-Grant Holy Land: What is your favorite national coaching trend?
Purdum: Kansas State’s Bill Snyder has been money in conference play. Since 2005, he’s 51-26 ATS vs. the Big 12.
Land-Grant Holy Land: Which middle-of-the-pack team would you put something small on (best value) to make the playoff and/or win the title?
Purdum: As you know, I’m a small bettor, $20, $50, and lose more often than I win. So take it for what’s it’s worth, but Washington at 20:1, to me, seems a little under-the-radar for a team that reached the playoff last year and returns its star QB. Chris Petersen, of course, also is been extremely impressive over his career against the spread.
I would add that Wisconsin drew a lot of interested from respected bettors this offseason, due to the Badgers' schedule.
Land-Grant Holy Land: Who is the current Heisman favorite and which player not in the top-5 would you think represents good value?
Purdum: USC QB Sam Darnold is the consensus Heisman favorite. I prefer to bet on the Heisman during the season, looking for some ridiculous game by a player—like Lamar Jackson vs. Syracuse last year—and then try to bet it before the books adjust. The only Heisman bet I think I ever won was on Robert Griffin III, when he was at Baylor. Maybe I should re-think my strategy.
Land-Grant Holy Land: Give me your national champion and Heisman bets:
Purdum: Alabama. Holding tight on Heisman pick until season gets going.
Land-Grant Holy Land: Any final advice?
Purdum: Tread lightly entering the season – Nevada sportsbooks have never had a losing September since gaming control began tracking monthly revenue numbers in 1988.
Oh, and bet smaller amounts. You will make your bankroll last longer if you’re only betting 2 to 5 percent of it per bet.