College football betting: How to bet Ohio State in the futures market

·Betting analyst
·4-min read

How are we in Week 12 already? The 2021 college football season has been an absolute joy and while I’m not ready for the season to end, I am anxious to see how the championship will play out.

Here’s a look at the current college football national champion odds via BetMGM:

Georgia -120

Alabama +350

Ohio State +400

Oregon +2000

Michigan +3000

Cincinnati +4000

(Full list of odds can be found here.)

People are ready to hand the trophy over the Georgia Bulldogs. I’m here to say not so fast.

I get it. Georgia’s defense is top-notch, limiting opponents to below 250 yards per game, second-best behind Wisconsin. You know what threatens a good defense? Actual offenses. Through 11 weeks, the Bulldogs have faced six opponents ranked outside the top 50 for total offense, three in the bottom 20. Georgia has faced two opponents in the top 15, Florida and Tennessee, beating both by an average margin of 25.5 points per game. Here’s the thing with that — neither team possesses a strong passing game. You know who does? The No. 1 FBS passing offense is the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Ohio State's Garrett Wilson (left) celebrates with C.J. Stroud after a touchdown during the first half of a game against Purdue on Nov. 13. (Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
Ohio State's Garrett Wilson (left) celebrates with C.J. Stroud after a touchdown during the first half of a game against Purdue on Nov. 13. (Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

Why I like Ohio State to win national title

I like defenses to win Super Bowls. I like offenses to win national championships. Heisman frontrunner QB CJ Stroud has impressed me. Stroud has thrown for over 3,000 passing yards, 30 touchdowns and five interceptions. I won’t fault this team for its 35-28 loss to Oregon. It was Week 2 and things had not clicked yet. It’s clicking now. The teams Georgia is facing are one-dimensional run-first teams.

The Buckeyes are a dual-threat offense led by Stroud in the passing game and another Heisman contender in RB TreVeyon Henderson. Defensively, Ohio State has one strength — defense against the run. Georgia is a run-first offense. If you force the Bulldogs to pass and rely on QB Stetson Bennett to lead your team to a win, I’ll pass. Bennett has just over 1,500 passing yards to his resume. I’ll take Stroud over Bennett any day of the week.

This potential matchup reminds me of what we saw in Week 11, NC State against Wake Forest. The Wolfpack entered the matchup with a stellar defense. The Demon Deacons entered the matchup with a stellar offense. The offense prevailed and Wake Forest won, 45-42.

How to bet Ohio State to win national title

What I’m looking to do: Back Ohio State on a rolling moneyline parlay. This would mean that the Buckeyes must win out to win the national championship.

The current price tag of +400 doesn’t offer any value, unfortunately. I asked a bookmaker to share with me the odds projections for what Ohio State's future matchups could look like. Here’s what was given to me.

Ohio State -6.5 at Michigan

Ohio State -10 vs Wisconsin

Ohio State vs Georgia -7

Ohio State vs Alabama -3

Ohio State -11.5 vs Cincinnati

Ohio State -9.5 vs Oregon

Aside from Michigan, the rest of the odds reflect a game played on a neutral field. Consider a moneyline rollover that would start in Week 13 against Michigan. 

Using moneyline value based on the current ATS projections, a four-team parlay against Michigan, Wisconsin, Cincinnati, and Georgia would pay around +580. A four-team parlay against Michigan, Wisconsin, Alabama, and Georgia would pay around +1150. Value would largely improve if the Buckeyes face Alabama and Georgia. Odds would be a bit better if OSU lucks into Cincinnati in the semifinals somehow or Oregon.

Taking a futures price at +400 comes with the risk of potential injury, a COVID situation, etc. Plus, if any key player for OSU were to get seriously injured in a win against Michigan or Wisconsin, the rollover parlay lets you "call off the jam" then and pocket a profit rather than curse what could likely be a losing ticket.

I like Ohio State to run the table. I still think Georgia is overrated (definitely not the defense), but if put into a situation where the offense needs to perform, I don’t have the confidence in Bennett to deliver. Up until now, the Bulldogs have lucked into a softer-than-expected SEC schedule. Starting a "rollover parlay" on Ohio State game-by-game beginning next week against Michigan is the play.

Why not start this week against Michigan State? The five-game parlay that finishes with Alabama and Georgia scoots from around +1150 up to around +1250. Not much of a boost for a -1200 moneyline favorite this Saturday. Money is money but it is still an added risk for not much extra value.

The same moneyline rollover parlay concept could be applied for any team you like to potentially win the title, not named Georgia. If you'd rather not fuss with it and like Ohio State, you could just buy the +400. If you feel strongly that Georgia is winning it all, -120 is for you.

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