Ohio State Buckeyes

There might not be a more polarizing team entering the 2019-20 college football betting season than the Ohio State Buckeyes. No longer overlooked by future Hall of Fame coach Urban Meyer, the Buckeyes open a new chapter in the program by ushering in the Ryan Day era. Though a number of key ingredients to last season’s Rose Bowl winning 13-1 team have departed, the cupboard has certainly not been left bare. In fact, some would argue the roster is stocked with Georgia transfer Justin Fields situating himself under center. While Dwayne Haskins lit the city of Columbus afire with his ability to tear opposing defenses up through the air, this Fields kid was a top-five rated prospect and looks to be the full package. Throw the coaching defections from Michigan into the mix, and the Buckeyes are sure to be a lightning rod of praise or criticism come season’s end.

Most everything about Ohio State’s previous offense was top notch. It ranked No. 2 overall with an average of 535.7 yards per game and tallied the eighth most points in the country (No. 8). Haskins took the passing game to new heights with Parris Campbell - now of the Indianapolis Colts - to see the attack rank second overall with nearly 365 passing yards logged per game. One of the lone complaints about the former shot caller was that he never tucked the ball and ran. With Fields now in the mix, offensive coordinator Mike Yurich will get to greatly expand his play calling to make the attack a bit tougher for opposing defenses to read. That dude named J.K. Dobbins also returns to the backfield off a stellar sophomore campaign that saw him rush for over 1,000 yards and hit pay dirt 10 times. He also proved to be capable in the passing game which is something KJ Hill thrived at; he and his 68-catch campaign also return. The O-Line needs to replace some bodies and could take time to shine, but once it does – look out!

Even with Nick Bosa healthy the first few games of the season, Ohio State’s defense was unimpressive to say the least. Once he went down to a season-ending injury, it looked even less formidable. When the dust cleared, the Buckeyes ended up an average defensive team that couldn’t prevent teams from passing all over them. It was also a bit soft at the point of attack with the front wall pushed around more times than the coaching staff would’ve liked. Chase Young stepped up big once Bosa went down, and he’s back manning one of the defensive end spots looking to improve upon his 9.5 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss. Three of the top four tacklers from last year’s squad return in the forms of Pete Werner, Tuf Borland and Malik Harrison to head the linebacker corps. Jordan Fuller is the said to be superstar of a secondary that’s expected to dramatically improve upon last season’s unsatisfactory outputs.

The chips certainly looked stacked against the Buckeyes entering the regular season. Day is being asked to replace arguably one of the best all-time head coaches in the history of college football. On top of that, Fields is replacing a quarterback that shattered the Ohio State record books. There’s going to be a drop-off at top rated sportsbooks. How can there not be? But this is Ohio State. While it rebuilds just like every other program, the quality of player allows for it to bounce back much quicker than say a team like Michigan. Sorry Wolverines fans, couldn’t help myself. Bottom line, the Buckeyes will be in the thick of the Big Ten championship race all the way through, and it’s highly likely that final encounter with the maize and blue will punch either of the two teams’ tickets to the B1G title game. That trip to Ann Arbor is arguably Ohio State’s toughest road test of the season. It should be locked in on both sides of the ball by then. Oh the drama!