National Football League
Betting action report: 'Bettors are backing the Buckeyes'
National Football League

Betting action report: 'Bettors are backing the Buckeyes'

Updated Nov. 22, 2023 6:18 p.m. ET

If you're of a certain age, then you'll remember those promotions for FM hard rock radio stations in fine cities across the nation. You know, in the days before satellite radio.

"Lock it in and rip off the dial!"

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You could apply that same slogan to FOX this weekend. 


For those getting involved with the college football Week 13 odds market, three of the most intriguing games are on FOX, including Saturday's massive Ohio State-Michigan showdown.

And with it being the long Thanksgiving weekend, of course the NFL Week 12 odds board is brimming with options, too.

So let's get to it, as oddsmakers and sharp bettors dive into this week's NFL and college football betting nuggets.

Big Game at The Big House

The Big Noon Kickoff on FOX couldn't be much bigger this week. Ohio State visits Michigan at noon ET Saturday (FOX and FOX Sports App), with the winner advancing to the Big Ten Championship Game and staying well on track in the College Football Playoff odds market.

Both teams are 11-0 straight up (SU), but both are average against the spread (ATS), with the Buckeyes 6-4-1 and Michigan 5-5-1.

Perhaps surprisingly, early bettors at PointsBet are on road underdog Ohio State. Michigan opened as a 4-point favorite Sunday and has been at -3.5 since Monday. Point-spread ticket count is 2-to-1 and point-spread money 4-1 on the Buckeyes.

"Bettors are backing the Buckeyes, thus, our liability sits with Ohio State for the spread and moneyline," PointsBet trader Ethan Useloff said. "The spread has begun to approach the field-goal threshold, with the public liking the value Ohio State yields.

"At 3.5, that's a decent margin for two teams that appear somewhat evenly matched. So expect this to continue to move as the market becomes more efficient."

RJ Young previews No. 2 Ohio State at No. 3 Michigan

Keep It Locked On FOX

Ohio State-Michigan is the middle of a big three-game college football bonanza on FOX. At 8:30 p.m. ET Friday, Oregon State visits Oregon (FOX and FOX Sports App), and at 4 p.m. ET Saturday — right after the Buckeyes-Wolverines tilt — Washington hosts Washington State (FOX and FOX Sports App).

Oregon (10-1 SU/9-1-1 ATS) is looking for one more big win before a Pac-12 Championship duel with Washington. Oregon State (8-3 SU/6-5 ATS) is nearly a two-touchdown underdog. But it's worth noting that the Beavers' three losses have come by a combined eight points, including a 22-20 home loss to Washington last week.

Early bettors think there's underdog value. Spread tickets are running almost 2-1 and spread money 4-1 on Oregon State, as Oregon has moved from -14 to -13.5 at PointsBet. But the Beavers will have their hands full against Heisman Trophy candidate Bo Nix.

"Nix has proven himself as an upper-echelon passer over the past two months, accounting for 28 TDs while throwing just one INT in his previous seven games," Useloff said. "The Beavers will try to play spoiler and shake off the narrow defeat against Washington last week, and bettors like Oregon State to cover the spread of less than two TDs. This may cause the spread to shift [more] in favor of the Beavers.

"The liability is on the side of Oregon State and may continue to mount."

Washington (11-0 SU/6-4-1 ATS) is an even larger favorite, but the line has come down for that matchup, as well. The Huskies opened -17 and dropped to -16 at PointsBet. Point-spread ticket count is 2-1 for Washington, but point-spread money — skewed by one large bet on Washington State — is running 95% to the underdog Cougars.

"The Huskies need to keep their momentum, as they leapt Florida State [this week] into the coveted fourth spot in the CFP rankings," Useloff said. "Despite Washington having a Pac-12 Championship Game berth secured, the market is dictating the Huskies shouldn't overlook the Apple Cup, as the spread has slightly shortened.

"Washington failing to cover en route to winning outright would be a poor outcome for the book."

In other words, PointsBet is rooting for a Huskies win and cover.

On-Campus Sharp Side

One element that separates sharp bettors from the public betting masses is a keener sense of when to stay away from games. Such is the case this week for college football betting expert Paul Stone. He's not jumping on any of these marquee matchups, as those games don't provide value.

Instead, Stone is on two much more nondescript matchups. The first: Virginia Tech (5-6 SU) against rival Virginia (3-8 SU) in the Commonwealth Clash. Va Tech is a 3.5-point favorite, and Stone is on the home underdog at +3.5.

"Virginia lost all five of its games in the month of September, but has rebounded nicely to win three of its past six contests," Stone said. "The Cavaliers have been competitive against some of the better teams on their schedule, and I believe they'll beat the Hokies outright on Saturday."

Stone is staying in the ACC, and with another underdog, in the Miami-Boston College matchup. The Hurricanes are 8.5-point road favorites, and Stone pointed out that Miami has failed to cover the spread in its last seven games as a road favorite of 10 or fewer. He also noted the temperature will be an un-Miami-like 47 degrees in Boston, with winds of 10-15 mph.

"Miami has lost its last three games and now has to travel to the Eastern seaboard as a road favorite in late November," Stone said. "Boston College almost upset highly ranked Florida State back in Week 3 – the Seminoles won 31-29 – and I think the Eagles will keep it close here and perhaps emerge victorious."

So mark down Stone for BC +8.5 this week.

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Turkey Day Trio

Over at Fanatics Sportsbook, senior director of trading risk Chris Fargis served up the Thanksgiving platter, touching on all three NFL games. Turkey Day kicks off with Packers-Lions at 12:30 p.m. ET (FOX and FOX Sports App), and the line has bounced around a bit on this game.

Fanatics opened Detroit -7 Sunday and climbed to -8 by Tuesday afternoon. That -8 didn't last long, though, with the Lions receding to -7.5. Still, Detroit is not only a popular point-spread bet, but is also taking moneyline parlay action.

"Lions moneyline is the most popular parlay selection right now, and David Montgomery to score a TD is the most popular single-game parlay selection," Fargis said, alluding to the Detroit running back. "Needless to say, the book will need the Packers on Thursday in the early game."

In fact, a Packers upset would absolutely make bookmakers' day.

The middle of this turkey sandwich of games pits the Commanders at the Cowboys. Dallas opened as a 10.5-point favorite at Fanatics.

"The spread is all the way up to -12, as Fanatics customers pile into the Cowboys," Fargis said, before touching on player props/single-game parlay markets. "CeeDee Lamb is the most popular player, as customers look for him to continue his recent torrid pace."

Prior to Lamb's nominal game against Carolina in Week 11 — six catches for 38 yards and a TD — he had four straight games of 117 yards or more, including 191 yards in a Week 9 loss at Philadelphia.

In the 49ers-Seahawks nightcap, San Francisco spent the early part of the week bouncing between -7 and -6.5 at Fanatics. As of Wednesday afternoon, the Niners stood at -7 (-115, bet $10 to win $18.70 total). And like the Lions, the Niners are huge in moneyline parlays. Bettors are going for the three-turkey-leg moneyline parlay of Thanksgiving favorites, to be sure.

"Ninety-two percent of moneyline bets are on the Niners on the road here. Customers are heaping the Thursday moneyline favorites into their parlays like it was stuffing and mashed potatoes," Fargis said.

NFL Sharp Side

Professional bettor Randy McKay is starting his NFL week with a two-team 6-point teaser, tying Lions -1.5 vs. Packers to Browns +8.5 at the Broncos on Sunday.

"Detroit got by Chicago last week, and it was not the Lions' best effort. Expect them to be fully focused," McKay said. "As for Cleveland, that's a low total (35), with a strong Browns defense against a limited offensive team in Denver."

McKay also likes Colts -2.5 vs. the Buccaneers, who are on the road for a second straight week.

"Indy is coming off a bye, while Tampa had to play a tough San Fran team on the road. Tampa has a low-rated offensive line vs. the Colts' strong defensive line, which I believe will create a mismatch," McKay said.

McKay is also on Raiders +9.5 against the visiting Chiefs.

"K.C.'s offense has struggled with drops and second-half adjustments throughout the season," he said. "Las Vegas' defense is very underrated with Maxx Crosby & Co. I think the Raiders keep it close here and maybe have a shot to win."

Back To School

Useloff looked into two more games on the college football Week 13 oddsboard: Alabama-Auburn in the Iron Bowl; and a Sunshine State showdown between Florida State and Florida.

Alabama (10-1 SU) still harbors College Football Playoff hopes and needs to show well against its archrival. Oddsmakers expect that, with the Crimson Tide 14-point favorites at PointsBet. But that number is actually down from the Alabama -14.5 opener and -15 high point on Monday.

Still, early ticket count is 2-1 and early money 3-1-plus ‘Bama on the spread.

"The Tigers infamously paid New Mexico State [almost] $2 million, only to get walloped last Saturday by three scores at Jordan-Hare Stadium," Useloff said, alluding to Auburn's shocking 31-10 loss as a 25-point favorite. "Lucky for Auburn, it can upset the Crimson Tide's playoff hopes at home and put that defeat in the past.

"As for Alabama, it has slim margin for error after crumbling to Texas at Bryant-Denny Stadium in September. Given how the College Football Playoff is shaping up, Alabama must win this matchup decisively, which is inspiring [spread] bettors to take the Tide. This may move the line toward ‘Bama and the next relevant football number of 17."

Florida State (11-0 SU) is in a precarious CFP position, as well, after quarterback Jordan Travis suffered a season-ending leg injury last week. The Seminoles actually trailed FCS foe North Alabama 13-0 in the first quarter, but scored 58 straight points — all after Travis' exit — in a 58-13 victory.

Still, the playoff committee dropped the Seminoles from No. 4 to No. 5 this week, and if that opinion persists, an unbeaten ‘Noles outfit could miss the CFP.

That makes Saturday night's clash at the Swamp extremely important. PointsBet opened Florida State -7 (even) and is down a tick to Seminoles -6.5. At midweek, Florida State is taking a modest majority of 54% of spread tickets, but those bets are translating into 87% of spread money.

"Last Saturday night in Tallahassee was nothing short of disastrous," Useloff said of the Travis injury. "Florida State was able to overcome the early 13-0 deficit to score 58 unanswered points behind backup QB Tate Rodemaker, Mike Norvell's first commitment. The redshirt junior will have to overcome a barrage of naysayers, beginning with the College Football Playoff committee.

"Bettors like FSU to cover by the current spread of just inside a touchdown at 6.5."

Useloff suggested this line could return to the opener of Florida State -7 and perhaps even go beyond that number by the weekend.

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I Like Big Bets and I Cannot Lie

There's not much in the way of major wagers reported yet on NFL Week 12 or college football Week 13. But no question, there will be plenty of cash flying around this weekend.

Being that it's Thanksgiving week, how about some leftovers from the NFL Week 11 finale between the Eagles and Chiefs? The Super Bowl rematch Monday night brought two of the bigger wagers we've seen this season.

And the bets came from one BetMGM customer, at the Beau Rivage sportsbook in Biloxi, Mississippi, which has a propensity to take such action. Sportsbook manager Carl Johnson said a customer showed up Monday afternoon and placed $1.075 million in bets.

The first wager: $525,000 on Eagles +2.5 (-105). That was a monster winner, as the Eagles took down the Chiefs 21-17. The bettor profited $500,000, for a total payout of $1.025 million.

However, the second bet was $550,000 on Over 45.5. The game fell more than a touchdown short of that number. So that was a $550,000 loss. Add it all up, and the high roller lost $50,000 between the two wagers.

As for us average Joes and Janes, that's just another reminder to keep it reasonable. Maybe place 20 bucks on that aforementioned three-turkey-leg moneyline parlay of Lions/Cowboys/49ers. You and everybody else will have that on Thanksgiving. 

Enjoy the football-betting weekend!

Patrick Everson is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and senior reporter for He is a distinguished journalist in the national sports betting space. He's based in Las Vegas, where he enjoys golfing in 110-degree heat. Follow him on Twitter: @PatrickE_Vegas


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