Get Ready to Bet in the Buckeye State

December 28, 2022

While we wait for sports betting to go live in Ohio, let’s get caught up on the latest in Ohio Sports.

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Ohio State is one of seven universities in America to have won national championships in men’s basketball, football and baseball. Ohio State has an illustrious history when it comes to athletics, with 24 championships from men’s programs and four from women’s, including a three-peat of titles in rowing from 2013-15. They have a chance to add to that number in the coming weeks.

The Buckeyes got into the college football playoff after USC lost to Utah for the second time this season. It’s a new lease on life for head coach Ryan Day who was potentially looking at a spot on the hot seat this offseason following the team’s loss to Michigan during rivalry week. Day is 45-5 as a head coach, yet some Buckeyes fans seem ready for a change. College football is nuts. 

Ohio State enters the CFP as the No. 4 seed and draws Georgia, the defending national champion. The Buckeyes are a 6.5-point underdog in the semifinal. They are 0-3-1 against the spread (ATS) vs. a team with a winning record. The Bulldogs have been dominant this season and historically in bowl games, with an 8-2 record in their last 10 such games.

There’s been chatter that the Bulldogs got a raw deal drawing Ohio State, a program that was within the top-four for a majority of the season. They were sitting at No. 2 for weeks leading up to their match against Michigan. The loss relegated Ohio State to No. 5, where they waited for a team to slip up – like the Trojans. Now, despite being one of the top teams in CFP all season, they’ll play against Georgia, while Michigan plays a TCU team that caught lightning in a bottle. 

Helpful Hint: Keep an eye out for the Ohio State National Championship future, currently +375, following the outcome of the Georgia game. Could still be great value there!

Super Bowl Chances for the Bengals and Browns

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A year ago, the Bengals were in the Super Bowl. While they may have lost the big game, it doesn’t take away from what they accomplished. Joe Burrow and the Bengals went from a 4-11 season, one in which the quarterback tore his ACL, to beating Kansas City and making it to the biggest game in all of sports.

Before last year’s 10-7 record, the Bengals hadn’t won more than seven games in a season since 2015. In 2022, they have already surpassed that benchmark yet again, with four games still to play.

But what is bringing all of this success? There’s really only one answer, the players.

Burrow has been the biggest contributor. In 2021, the quarterback threw for 4,611 yards. He’s well on pace to exceed that number this season. Other players have been huge factors, as well.

Running back Joe Mixon and wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase are the main offensive weapons for the Bengals. However, wideouts Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd have also stepped up within the last two years.

On the defensive side of the ball, Trey Hendrickson and Jessie Bates III are also generational talents. Burrow, Chase, Hendrickson and Bates were all part of the NFL’s Top 100 list coming into this season.

Good players create good teams and this year’s Bengals team may be even better than the last. But where does Cincinnati stand as of now and what is their upcoming schedule? Their stretch run includes New England, Buffalo and a huge AFC North showdown with Baltimore.

Cincinnati is the favorite to win the division at -280 and Baltimore at +240. With Tyler Huntley as Baltimore’s quarterback for now, the Ravens are less of a favorite than they were 3 weeks ago. Nonetheless, the Bengals are almost guaranteed to make the playoffs at this point. At 6-9, Ohio’s other team – the Browns – have been mathematically eliminated from the postseason.

The Bengals are a serious contender though. What are their odds to win the AFC and return to the Super Bowl? The Bengals are third favorite to take the AFC title. At +345, they are only behind the Bills and Chiefs. As for hoisting the Lombardi Trophy this time around, Cincinnati is currently the fifth biggest favorite at 7/1. It’s much better odds than they got a year ago, but they still rank behind the 49ers, Eagles, Bills and Chiefs.

Helpful Hint: The Bengals know how to win in the playoffs; a futures bet on them to win the AFC or Super Bowl is great value!

Betting Against the Blue Jackets

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The Columbus Blue Jackets haven’t made the playoffs in two straight years. Unfortunately, it looks like this will be a third season in a row.

The Blue Jackets are just 10-21-2 thus far, registering a measly 22 points. That ranks them dead last in the Eastern Conference. With the Blackhawks and Ducks in the West, they’re among the worst NHL teams.

Columbus fans haven’t had a ton to cheer about the last two decades-plus, as the team has won just one playoff series in its 22 years of existence since debuting back in the 2000-01 season. Now that lone series win was a historic upset (and sweep) of the Lightning in 2019, but you don’t get to hang banners for that.

The Blue Jackets made waves last offseason when they signed free agent star Johnny Gaudreau away from the Flames and he’s been their best player. “Johnny Hockey” has 10 goals and 24 assists, easily leading the team in points with 34. But he needs some help, particularly on defense.

Columbus has started three different goalies at least seven games this year and all have a goals-against average of more than 3.0 per outing. The Blue Jackets have given up 127 goals, which is third worst in the entire NHL, and they’ve scored just 89.

It would take a miraculous rally to sneak back into the postseason picture, but there’s still a lot of hockey to be played. Columbus will start to ring in 2023 with an afternoon game against Chicago on New Year’s Eve; that’s certainly winnable. And they’ll have a stretch in January where they play six of 10 games at home, so that might be the time to try to find any sort of elusive momentum.

Helpful Hint: Go ahead and roll the puck line when betting against the Blue Jackets

Cavs Eye the NBA Finals without James

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For the first time since LeBron James left town a second time, the Cavaliers appear to be fully back. They made the NBA’s play-in tournament a season ago in their only above .500 year since the “King” took his talents to the Lakers.

The 44-38 record last season was nice but going 0-2 with losses to Brooklyn and Atlanta and failing to secure a spot in the playoffs hurt. Hopefully, that won’t be the case this season, as the 22-13 Cavs currently hold the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference.

The addition of Donovan Mitchell from the Jazz has been massive, as he’s pacing them with an average of 28.5 points per game. That’s good for eighth in the NBA. Mitchell currently has 35/1 odds to win NBA MVP, which could be worth a few bucks if he carries the Cavs to one of the top seeds in the East.

Meanwhile, Darius Garland’s stock continues to rise as he’s averaging more than 21.5 points per game and 7.8 assists, while Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen provide stout defense in the middle and combine for 20 rebounds a night.

Cleveland sits at 20/1 to win the NBA Finals and +925 to win the East, which is the fifth-best odds in the conference. Those might not be winners this season with the powerhouse Celtics in the way, but for the first time in 25 years, the Cavs have legitimate hope without LeBron on the roster. And that’s something fans should be both proud of and excited about.

Helpful Hint: A futures bet on Donovan Mitchell to win MVP is worth a shot

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