The first two games of the Ohio State football season have been less than thrilling. No matter what you think of the Buckeyes’ performance, neither the season opener against Indiana nor last week’s game against Youngstown State have been exactly aesthetically pleasing.
So, if you want to ensure that tomorrow’s contest has a little extra juice on it, then might I interest you in some prop bets? The Buckeyes opened as 27.5-point favorites, but as of publishing time, that has risen to 29.5 points, according to DraftKings SportsBook.
But any simpleton can bet the spread or the over/under (65.5), so let’s take a look at some of the more exotic options that our friends at DraftKings are offering.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
In a matchup that will feature two teams that like to throw the ball, the race is on to see who can score first. If you decide that you want to put some money down on the home team, the Buckeyes are at -270 while the Hilltoppers are +200.
What that means is that if you want to win $100 by betting the Buckeyes, you would need to bet $270. But, if you put $100 on WKU, you will profit $200. So, the implied odds are that OSU has a 2:1 chance of scoring first.
But, if you want to go a little further on the first score betting, DraftKings has options that could pay you a bit more. Of the six options, five of them would pay significantly more than just betting just a Buckeyes’ score, with one — OSU getting a TD — being only a relatively small increase at -190.
However, if you really want to get creative, I might go ahead and put $10 on each team scoring a safety, because if it hits, I would walk with $780 in profit.
As I said before, both WKU and OSU are teams that like to sling it. In 2022, the Hilltoppers had the No. 2 passing offense averaging 352.1 yards through the air per game; the Buckeyes were 14th with 298.3. Through two games, Western Kentucky is 12th nationally with 327 yards per game, while Ohio State is down at 30th with 298 yards per.
So, both teams have the potential to hit big bombs, but what’s interesting is that WKU tends to stick to quick passes allowing the receivers to make the most of open space, while the Buckeyes — under C.J. Stroud and Justin Field — were far more likely to take deep shots. So, you would think that OSU would have the better likelihood to hit big plays, but last year, the Hilltoppers were tied for third nationally with 47 plays of 30 yards are more, while the Bucks were fifth with 42.
When you push that to 40 yards, Ohio State was sixth with 22, while WKU had 20, which was good for ninth. At 50+? Ohio State and Western Kentucky were tied for 34th nationally with eight. Through two weeks of the 2023 season, the teams are tied at 58th with four plays of 30+ yards.
I like this bet, not because I think it is one that can be used for making a ton of money, but just because it’s fun and is nearly impossible to predict. Ohio State has allowed two scores all season, so on average, there is only a 25% chance of their opponents holding up their end of the bargain for this to get home. But given the new clock rules and Ryan Day switching things up so that he took the ball to start the game last week, how do you pick when to bet that both will hang a crooked number?
The Buckeyes have scored in every quarter of the season except for the fourth quarter against YSU when they actually had a TD called back, so I would feel comfortable betting on OSU’s offense to score in any quarter, but determining whether or not the defense will continue its lights out play, or if (and when) it will give up points is a fascinating crap shoot that only degenerates should be putting money on.