When Braxton Miller was announced to be out for the season, it seemed as if the much-anticipated 2014 season for Ohio State had suddenly lost any hope of being successful. With redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett taking the helm, most people considered the Buckeyes a long shot to make the first college football playoff, including Vegas.
Originally a 12-1 favorite to win the title, Ohio State plummeted to 50-1 following the Braxton Miller injury news. Also, the spread in their first game against the Navy Midshipmen slipped from -17.5 to -11.5.
Prior to their opener on Saturday, Ohio State has rebounded to become 20-1 favorites to win the title and is back to within one point of their original spread against the Midshipmen.
The Buckeyes are now a 16.5 point favorite against Navy.
LVH sports book director Jay Kornegay says the swings in lines and odds have left the bookmakers perplexed.
"On our side of the counter, we’re scratching our heads," Kornegay told The Blade. "We were having a discussion about it the other day. So, is Barrett just looking really good in practice? Does it look like they’re not missing a beat? … There’s no way I would ever have thought going from Miller to Barrett would be worth one point."
Kornegay compared the Buckeyes losing Miller to a similar situation in the NFL when the Rams lost Trent Green prior to the 1999 season. The Rams dropped from 30-1 odds to 500-1, but then a man by the name of Kurt Warner came along and led the Rams to a Super Bowl championship.
The Buckeyes turning the reigns over to Barrett may have led to a bit of an over-adjustment according to Kevin Bradley, the sports book manager at Bovada.
"We probably over-adjusted a little bit," Bradley said.
Losing your star quarterback is tough for any team, but at a school like Ohio State, whose football team is loaded with talent, it is certainly not the end of the world.
The Buckeyes would be in the same situation had Braxton Miller decided to forego his senior season for the NFL. They will also be in the same boat as a team like Alabama with a young quarterback at the helm, but Alabama’s odds to win the title sit at a cozy 5-1 to start the season.
Quite the over-adjustment indeed.
Buckeye fans, or at least the gamblers/believers among them, are trying to right the ship and Dave Mason, Bet Online’s sports book brand manager, told the Blade in an email that people continue to throw money on Ohio State.
"We got flooded with even more OSU money, including a little bit of respected money," said Dave Mason, Bet Online’s sports book brand manager, in an online message. "Sure, Miller’s injury is big, but OSU still has a ton more talent, including Barrett, than Navy. Since the number went back up to 16.5, we are still getting hit with Buckeye money.
"Navy will be one of our bigger needs come Saturday. Already, 77 percent of the action is on the Buckeyes. … Obviously, the bettors have faith in OSU’s young quarterback."
Gamblers know two things, the Buckeyes have Urban Meyer, and they don’t rebuild, they reload.