Vegas odds are out for the upcoming NFL season, as well as for Super Bowl LVII (57), and gambling enthusiasts (degenerates) such as myself are ready to lay money down on the teams we can envision winning it all. The Super Bowl is the most-watched, most bet-on sporting event in history, so it goes without saying that a lot goes into the making of these odds. And while there are certainly surprises each year – looking at you, Bengals – the oddsmakers generally have a finger directly on the pulse of the league... or they get fed information, po-tay-to/po-tah-to.
Regardless of how the odds are generated, I think most people with an interest have started to identify their favorites and their longshots. I decided to do the same, but only by looking at teams with former Ohio State Buckeyes on the roster.
Disclaimer: I am going to reference the Vegas Insider consensus. They have taken into account and averaged odds from Caesars, MGM, DraftKings, FanDuel, and numerous others... Also, most reputable sportsbooks currently have similar odds, with the Buffalo Bills, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Kansas City Chiefs leading the way as favorites across the board. Since those teams do not have scarlet and gray running through their roster(s), they will not be discussed in depth. This is an Ohio State site, after all.
First, a few of the more notable players whose teams are among the longest of longshots:
Taylor Decker, Jonah Jackson, Jeff Okudah — Detroit Lions (+12000): The Lions are attempting to rebuild and move on from the Matt Stafford era. After a competitive season under first-time head coach Dan Campbell, Detroit is trending upward... which is likely only middle of the pack, at best. Decker is a staple, and Okudah seems poised for a breakout.
Rashod Berry, Luke Farrell, DaVon Hamilton — Jacksonville Jaguars (+13500): You got me, these aren’t the highest-profile former Buckeyes. I just wanted to wish them luck after the failed Urban Meyer experiment.
Garrett Wilson, Jeremy Ruckert — New York Jets (+13600): The Jets are also in the midst of a rebuild, and seem to be doing it the right away. They are likely a few seasons away from becoming real contenders, but Wilson and Ruckert should be part of a bright future.
Justin Fields — Chicago Bears (+13400): Near the absolute bottom of the odds list, the Bears’ likelihood of winning the Super Bowl is similar to that of the Land-Grant Holy Land staff. Don’t blame the QB, blame the organization. I will be rooting for Fields to overcome the odds and put Chicago on his back.
Sorry guys, I hope you enjoy the season and play well. Wanted to give you a shoutout.
Noah Brown, Ezekiel Elliott, Malik Hooker, Jake McQuaide — Dallas Cowboys (+1920): The Cowboys are mentioned as contenders each and every season, solely because they are the Cowboys. Wake me up when Ol’ Jerruh has a real contender. Here’s hoping Zeke continues to fight off Father Time (for a RB) and Hooker bounces back from years of bad luck.
Eli Apple, Von Bell, Drue Chrisman, Sam Hubbard, Isaiah Prince, Joe Burrow (honorary Buckeye) — Cincinnati Bengals (+2120): The defending AFC champs addressed their biggest need (OL), return most of their roster, and have one of the youngest, most exciting cores in the league. What am I missing? Why do the Denver Show Ponies have better odds? We’ll get to this later.
J.K. Dobbins, Malik Harrison, Binjimen Victory — Baltimore Ravens (+2040): The Ravens are another perennial preseason contender, but they have undoubtedly earned the status. The team dealt with a ton of injuries in 2021 – including a significant one to Dobbins – but should get a few stars back, and in usual fashion, they crushed the 2022 NFL Draft to help supplement their roster. Baltimore is a sleeper, and Dobbins showed he has star potential if they feed him the ball.
Parris Campbell, Tyquan Lewis — Indianapolis Colts (+2380): The Colts are fine. Like every year, they’re just fine. I’m running out of steam for contenders, so that’s all I have to say about Indianapolis. OSU fans would love to see Parris Campbell remain healthy and finally make good on his untapped potential.
Tommy Togiai, Denzel Ward — Cleveland Browns (+24400): Gross. I added the Browns because they are an Ohio Team, but I won’t spend any more time on a team with their current QB situation.
Jordan Fuller — Los Angeles Rams (+1120): The defending champs kept their roster primarily intact, and replaced OBJ with Allen Robinson. Fuller, who was named a captain in his second year, should be ready to go after missing the 2021-22 postseason. It is hard to argue with Los Angeles being a top-5 team as long as Sean McVay, Aaron Donald, and Cooper Kupp are in town.
Josh Myers — Green Bay Packers (+1140): The Packers enjoyed a typically strong regular season in 2021, before dropping a low-scoring heartbreaker to San Francisco in the NFC Divisional Round. They lost star wide receiver Davante Adams, but kept most of the defense together. As long as Aaron Rodgers is at quarterback, it seems like Green Bay will remain in the thick of things. Myers should be penciled in as the QB’s battery mate, as he looks to bounce back from his injury-plagued rookie season.
Joey Bosa, Corey Linsley — Los Angeles Chargers (+1420): Two All-Pro Buckeyes, one of the best young QB’s in the league, and a much-improved roster? I like it. I like it a lot. I believe the 2022 Chargers could be last year’s version of the Rams... or the Bengals for that matter. The team spent big money on free agents and trade acquisitions, a la the Rams. But they are led by a potentially generational talent at QB, and had one of the league’s worst records just a few seasons ago... a la the Bengals. Bosa and Linsley are perennial Pro Bowlers, and if the Charges are to make a run, these former Buckeyes will likely be among the best players at their position(s).
Nick Bosa, Austin Mack, Trey Sermon — San Francisco 49ers (+1600): Bosa is the star here, but San Fran’s season will be determined by the development (or lack thereof) of their new franchise QB. Trey Lance was drafted to replace Jimmy Garropolo, and he will be given the keys in 2022. With Bosa discovering Flinstones vitamins this offseason, and Deebo Samuel finally in a great mood due to his new contract, the Niners could find themselves in a rematch with the Rams (2021 NFC Championship Game) if their master plan works.
Baron Browning, Jonathon Cooper, Dre’Mont Jones — Denver Broncos (+1620): The “favorite” I disagree with. The Broncos added Russell Wilson, Randy Gregory, and a new (first-time) head coach. Now I am supposed to buy them as a viable SB contender? Wilson was bad last year, Gregory has missed two full seasons and owns a mere 16.5 career sacks, and HC Nathaniel Hackett previously had the luxury of Aaron Rodgers running his offense. By the way, this franchise has not had a winning record since 2016. Sure, they could end up being good, but I’m not paying for these odds. All of that being said, Browning, Cooper, and Jones should see plenty of action for the Denver defense, and it is impossible to root against those guys.
Cincinnati Bengals (+2120)
I said we would get back to the Bengals. The defending AFC champs are young, talented, and hungry. They revamped their offensive line, which was their biggest Achilles heel in 2021, and kept the rest of the team intact. So why would I not make the homer pick!?
With a handful of former Buckeyes also on the roster, this one was a no-brainer. I am putting all of my cash on the Bengals to not only make a return trip, but also win the Super Bowl in Glendale, Arizona. Who Dey!