The Ohio State Buckeyes are one of college football’s elite teams. The Rutgers Scarlet Knights are one of the worst Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) squads. Oddsmakers know both of those facts.
That much is proven by the moneyline odds on Saturday’s game between the two Big 10 squads. On Wednesday, the sportsbook at the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas installed the Buckeyes at -600,000. Moneyline bettors merely need the team they pick to win. Covering spreads isn’t relevant in these wagers.
While there’s no such thing as a “sure thing” in gambling, moneyline odds of -600,000 imply a high level of certainty and little reward for bettors. At -600,000 a $100 bettor trotting into South Point to back the Buckeyes would win two cents, an unfavorable risk/reward proposition. However, it’s easy to see why Ohio State is heavily favored against Rutgers.
The way the Buckeyes are absolutely dominating on both sides of the ball, coupled with the dreadful Rutgers offense, this was always going to be a spread of epic proportions,” said SportsBetting.ag head oddsmaker Adam Burns in an interview with Forbes.
The 9-0 Buckeyes head into Saturday’s game ranked No. 2 in the College Football Playoff (CFP) poll behind LSU. Rutgers is just 2-7 with both wins coming over non-Power 5 opponents. In three of its seven defeats, the New Jersey university has been shut-out. In two others, the team scored just one touchdown.
As of this writing, the sportsbook at Caesars Palace on the Strip has Ohio State at -52 on the spread, while the number is -53 at the Westgate SuperBook. Either way, that’s a massive figure to cover for a road favorite.
In a tweet posted today, American Sports Analysts (ASA), a Wisconsin-based sports handicapping service with expertise in the Big 10, pointed out that over the course of Ohio State’s illustrious football history, the school has never been away chalk of 50 points or more.
The firm notes the last time there was a road favorite of more than 50 points in college football was in 1987, when the Oklahoma Sooners were -55 at the Kansas Jayhawks. The Sooners covered that spread, vanquishing Kansas 71-10 on Halloween.
Historical data indicate prior road favorites of magnitudes comparable to Ohio State this week typically don’t cover, going 20-38-1 against the spread, according to The Action Network.
Ohio State’s average margin of victory this year is 42.4 points, and its largest road win was a 52-3 thrashing of Northwestern on Oct. 18.
Rutgers Worth A Flier?
At +200,000 on the moneyline, Rutgers offers considerably more value than Ohio State in Saturday’s contest. Of course, those are long odds, but for the price of a visit to Starbucks, gamblers could enjoy nice paydays if the Scarlet Knights pull off an epic upset.
Some are already taking the bait. One bettor posted on Twitter a picture of his $5 slip from South Point, taking Rutgers on the moneyline. A $10,000 payday awaits if the upset materializes.
If the Scarlet Knights emerge victorious, it would easily be the largest point spread upset in college football history, topping the 2017 Howard/UNLV game lost by the Las Vegas team as 45-point chalk.
Interestingly, Rutgers was on the winning side of one the biggest college football spread upsets, beating Syracuse outright in 1999 as 30.5-point underdogs.