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Ohio State Betting Odds Preview

After winning 24 games in a row the Buckeyes enter this season on a two-game losing streak. Now, that doesn't mean a whole lot – Ohio State opens this season with Navy, so the streak is unlikely to reach three games – but they gave up 34 points in the Big Ten Championship Game loss to Michigan State and 40 points to Clemson in the Orange Bowl.

That defense should be better this year, but then again the offense has a bunch of holes to fill. Nonetheless, the Buckeyes are the early favorites to win the Big Ten this season.

Update: Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller suffered a reported season-ending shoulder injury after this team preview was posted here on OddsShark - as a result, for the latest odds to win both the Big Ten and the College Football Championship head over to Bovada.

Ohio State Odds to Win Big Ten: 10/11 at Bovada
Ohio State Odds to Win College Football Championship: 10/1 at Bovada
Ohio State Regular Season Win Total: 10.5 at Bovada
Ohio State Betting Props: Braxton Miller to Win Heisman 7/1 at Bovada

Ohio State started 12-0 last year, but its toughest games came against Wisconsin, Northwestern, Iowa and Michigan – not exactly Murderer's Row. Other wins came over Buffalo, San Diego State, Florida A&M and several of the weaker sisters of the Big Ten. Then the Buckeyes ran into smash-mouth Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game and lost 34-24. A few weeks later the Bucks got gouged by Clemson for nearly 600 yards in a 40-35 loss in the Orange Bowl. So instead of a return to glory in the first year back off the postseason ban, last season ended on a couple very sour notes.

Ohio State finished 7-7 ATS last year, in part because they were favored by so much so often.

This year the Buckeyes only return five starters on offense, just one along the offensive line. Fortunately, one of those returnees is Heisman candidate QB Braxton Miller. And seven starters are back on defense, including all four on what should be one of the best defensive lines in the country.

This year's schedule is again kind. The Buckeyes host most of their toughest foes, like Virginia Tech, Cincinnati and Michigan, and miss the top four teams out of the West Division -  Wisconsin, Northwestern, Iowa and Nebraska. The toughest test of the year will probably come November 8 at Michigan State. As long as Miller stays healthy Ohio State has a great chance to make the Big Ten championship game again, and more importantly qualify for that four-team college football playoff in January.

Big Ten Championship Odds at Bovada as of August 5

Ohio State 10/11
Michigan State 15/4
Wisconsin 9/2
Nebraska 11/2
Michigan 10/1
Iowa 12/1
Northwestern 40/1
Minnesota 66/1
Indiana 100/1
Maryland 100/1
Illinois 200/1
Rutgers 200/1
Purdue 300/1

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Ohio State went 12-0 in its first season under new head coach Urban Meyer last year. Unfortunately, it didn't matter, because the Buckeyes were playing under a postseason ban. And there are questions as to just how good OSU really was.

They won several close games, a couple against vastly inferior opponents, and didn't have to (or were not able to) play a bowl against an Alabama or a Georgia or even a Texas A&M. This year the Buckeyes are off the ban and back in the hunt for a BCS berth; can they live up to expectations?

Odds to Win Big Ten: -115 at SportBet
Regular Season Win Total: 10.5 at 5Dimes

Ohio State had 15 starters back last season from a team that went 6-7 in 2011. But the Buckeyes knew from the start their season would end with the Michigan game. No division title, no conference championship game, and no bowl; just their 12 regular-season games to prove … something.

OSU opened with an easy win over Miami-Ohio, but then got tough games from Central Florida, Cal, and even UAB. The Buckeyes won all three of those games but failed to cover the pointspreads. Ohio State then got a one-point win at Michigan State, blasted Nebraska, but allowed 49 points by Indiana in a three-point victory and needed a minor miracle to beat Purdue in overtime.

OSU then won at Penn State and pounded Illinois, but needed overtime to win at Wisconsin and had to come from behind to beat Michigan. So OSU finished 12-0 and a perfect 8-0 in Big Ten play, and managed to go 7-5 ATS. But they also only went 2-5 ATS when favored by double-digits.

This year the Buckeyes return 13 starters; nine are back on offense, including Heisman candidate QB Braxton Miller and four along the line; but just four starters return on defense, just one of the front seven.

Ohio State warms up this year with four very winnable non-conference games, the toughest of which might come against San Diego State. The Buckeyes then jump into Big Ten play with the game that might eventually decide the Leaders Division, a bout with Wisconsin at the Horseshoe.

From there on out the Buckeyes host Iowa, Penn State, and Indiana, and visit Northwestern, Purdue, Illinois, and Michigan. OSU also benefits by missing Michigan State and Nebraska. From afar OSU is likely to be favored in every game this season, except maybe vs. the Wolverines.

Big Ten Championship Odds at SportBet as of August 5

Ohio State -115
Michigan +520
Nebraska +750
Michigan State +800
Northwestern +900
Wisconsin +1000
Indiana +5000
Iowa +5000
Minnesota +8500
Purdue +10000
Illinois +20000