All too often in our handicapping of college football season total wins over/under propositions we will come up with what looks like a vulnerable team only to find out it has a cupcake schedule sent from the gods.
Oklahoma comes directly to mind. So does Nebraska and even Missouri. All these teams, in our mind, are not going to live up to the hype this season. All look like obvious unders to us. But a quick glance at their schedules leaves us wondering where are the losses going to come from?
The good news is we’re not alone. Sports bettors across the country are going through this very same problem. There are a couple options for treatment. The first is to simply ignore the schedule and make your play regardless. The second is to realize that not often does everything line up and it’s best to move on find more all-inclusive opportunities.
Ignoring the uncooperative schedule and making the bet anyway is not as wreckless as it sounds. True, a team’s schedule should be your No. 1 factor when handicapping season total wins props. But there are rare instances when your feeling about a team is so good that you just have to trust that, in this case, the necessary wins or losses will come even if they don’t look obvious right now.
Perhaps cutting your wager in half makes sense in this instance. That way, you’re not punching a wall when your call proves correct and you don’t have anything on it. And conversely, if it blows up, it’s not the disaster that it could have been.
As successful bettors, we are patient bears who wait alongside the river for a salmon to swim into our wheelhouse. We don’t ever go diving into the water and flying downstream to chase the salmon. We trust the process and know that opportunity always arises sooner or later.
That opportunity has, in fact, manifested itself, in a season total wins wager that actually does check all the boxes we’re looking for. So while we’ll let fading Oklahoma, Nebraska and Missouri to braver souls, we’ll aggressively get involved in going against Ohio State.
Ohio St. UNDER 10 wins EVEN (via BetOnline.ag)
We’re not about to pick apart the Buckeyes’ talent level. This remains one of the best-stocked programs in the country. The results don’t lie, either, as Ohio St. has posted double-digit wins in all but one season since 2009. But there are some reasons to think that the usual success won’t happen this season.
Our beef with Ohio St. is that in two critical areas its breaking in relatively new faces, both of whom are void of the necessary experience to run through a difficult without at least a couple of hiccups.
The obvious place to start is with Urban Meyer no longer manning the sideline. Sure, Ryan Day ran things for part of last season, but we can’t just assume that he’s the total package of a head coach that Meyer was. Remember, Meyer is one of the very best of his generation. You don’t just move on from that with no slippage.
The next area of concern is another marquee spot – quarterback. Ballyhooed Georgia transfer Justin Fields will be a full-blown starter for the first time in his brief college career. Yes, he’s got great talent, but he’s a true sophomore whose only experience thus far is coming off the bench in scripted segments.
Day’s offense features a intricate pro-style passing attack. It requires experience and a special ability to read defenses and let deep routes develop. Dwayne Haskins shined in this system, but we think he was a rare talent and not someone who can simply be replaced.
Defense had been an Ohio St. strong suit under during this dominant run the program has been on, but the Buckeyes slipped badly last season. Allowing 25.5 points per game last season was the highest Ohio St. had given up in the past seven seasons. The good news is that nine starters return, but are they a year older or a year better?
As mentioned earlier, schedule is the No. 1 factor when making a season totals wins bet. Ohio St.’s schedule is not only difficult it lays out very poorly for the Buckeyes. Three different times this season Ohio St. will play difficult opponents in back-to-back weeks.
It starts with a visit to Nebraska on Sept. 28 and is followed by a home game against Michigan St. the very next week. Later in October, Ohio St. plays at Northwestern and follows that game by hosting Wisconsin a week later. To close the season, Ohio St. hosts Penn St., then travels to Michigan a week later.
With the total set at 10, Ohio St. needs to win 11 games to beat us. It’s hard to see Ohio St. going 11-1 against that schedule, especially when considering there are several opponents that figure to be improved this season.
Fields may be talented, but he figures to experience growing pains. Same with Day now fully running the show and enduring all the pressure that comes with it. The defense probably isn’t good enough to carry the day on those Saturdays when the offense isn’t firing on cylinders.
If Ohio St. doesn’t take care of business at Nebraska, in what should be a wild environment, on Sept. 28, then perfection will be required the rest of the way to beat us. Remember, Nebraska only lost by five last season in the Horseshoe. That was one of three games decided by five or less points that the Buckeyes pulled out in 2018.
And if there are some bumps in the road or adversity, you’re dealing with a 40-year old head coach and a true sophomore quarterback. One thing Meyer was great at was rallying the troops after down moments. That backstop won’t be in place this season.