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.
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: Let’s get this out of the way: How has the Urban Meyer situation and suspension impacted Ohio State’s national title odds?
David Purdum: Not significantly, if at all. At the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas, the Buckeyes were 6-1 to win the title before the suspension was announced and remain at 6-1.
LGHL: Keeping with Meyer, what is your favorite Urban Meyer or Ohio State betting trend? Although it is a trend, which situation do you highlight on the schedule?
Purdum: Meyer has been remarkable with extra time to prepare, going 42-14 against the spread in those situations. The Buckeyes have a bye before the Nov. 3 home game against Nebraska.
LGHL: What are Dwayne Haskins’ and J.K. Dobbins’ Heisman odds in Vegas?
Purdum: Haskins is 20-1, and Dobbins is 40-1 at the Westgate.
LGHL: Do you expect the Buckeyes to be favored in every regular season game?
Purdum: To start the season, they would be favored in every game on their schedule, but if they don’t look good early, they have a chance to be an underdog at Penn State on Sept. 29. Currently, the sportsbook at the South Point Casino in Las Vegas has Ohio State as a 1.5-point favorite over Penn State.
LGHL: What is the current line of the Ohio State-TCU game that is being played in Arlington, Tex., with interim head coach Ryan Day on the sidelines? Did this number change after the suspension was announced?
Purdum: Ohio State was listed as a 12-point favorite over TCU prior the suspension. The line moved to Buckeyes -10 after the news was announced.
LGHL: What is Ohio State’s current win total in Vegas?
Purdum: Ohio State’s current season win total is set at 10.5.
LGHL: Who are the top three favorites (in order) to win the Big Ten East and Big Ten West?
Purdum: I am not aware of any Nevada sportsbook offering odds to win divisions but they do offer odds to win the Big Ten: Ohio St (+120), Wisconsin +275 and Michigan (+350).
LGHL: Besides Haskins and Dobbins, which players from the Big Ten are high on the Heisman Trophy odds list?
Purdum: Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor is 8-1 and Penn State QB Trace McSorley is 15-1.
LGHL: Are there props for the Big Ten to make the playoff and to win the title game? If so, what are they?
Purdum: There are odds to make the playoff for individual teams: Ohio State (-125), Michigan (+300), Penn State (+500), Wisconsin (+400), Michigan St (+800), Northwestern (+12,500), Purdue (+12,500), Iowa (+800), Nebraska (+2,500), Minnesota (+12,500), Indiana (+50,000), Maryland (+50,000), Rutgers (+200,000) and Illinois (+200,000).
LGHL: Who is getting the most action from bettors to win the national title? Also, which teams are favored to make the College Football Playoff?
Purdum: Alabama is No. 1 in money wagered to win the national title at the Westgate SuperBook. Ohio State has attracted the most bets to win the title at the Westgate.
Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State are the only teams favored to reach the playoffs.
LGHL: What is your favorite national coaching trend?
Purdum: Kansas State’s Bill Snyder is dangerous in conference play. Since Snyder’s return to the sidelines in 2009, the Wildcats are 49-29-1 against the spread in Big 12 play. That’s the best such mark in the nation.
LGHL: Who is the current Heisman favorite?
Purdum: The current favorite to win the Heisman at the Westgate SuperBook is Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa.
LGHL: If you had to place a bet today, who would you bet on as your national champion?
Purdum: I like Clemson to win the national title.
LGHL: 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.