Vegas Sees Buckeye Domination In 2015

It's not easy to repeat in college football, but the Ohio State football team has as good of odds as anyone in recent years as early Vegas lines have the Buckeyes favored to steamroll the competition in 2015.

When Urban Meyer was asked in March at the start of spring practice how he would make sure his team kept the edge it honed to devastating sharpness while romping to the College Football Playoff title, he said the same two-word phrase three times.

“Great question,” he said.

Meyer knows that as much as any coach, as he seems to relish molding a team that is as mentally ready to achieve great things as it is physically. He has often said since taking over at Ohio State that talent can win a number of games in college football, but to achieve great things, a team must have a leadership and a hunger to reach the top.

Hopefully, then, the Buckeyes don't go to Vegas any time soon.

According to some of the preseason lines being set by Vegas, the Buckeyes are the favorites to win the Big Ten and national championships and also have the top Heisman favorite as well. Add that to the fact the Buckeyes are predicted to have a stunning total of All-Americans and All-Big Ten choices and it's clear not just the public and Buckeye fans but the analysts love the Buckeyes in 2015.

Of course, it's important to mention that the lines are set to draw the most action from bettors, not necessarily to predict exactly what the scores of games will be. But Vegas lines are used by many to illustrate what the smart people in business expect out of sporting events, and right now, people expect the Buckeyes to dominate in 2015.

A trip to Pregame.com shows the Buckeyes as title favorites at +375, with Alabama next at 8-1 and TCU at 9-1 comprising the only schools with better than 10-1 odds to capture the College Football Playoff championship.

That puts the Buckeyes as solid favorites for the national championship, but it's nothing compared to the Big Ten crown. Sportsbook.AG has Ohio State as a 1-4 favorite, a veritable landslide when it comes to presason odds. The favorite in the West, Wisconsin is next at 7-1 while Michigan State is second at 8-1.

When it comes to regular-season wins, the Buckeyes are tops in the nation as well. Cantor Gaming has the team's regular-season wins total over/under set at 11 (over -165; under +135), the top number in college football at the moment.

Then there's the fact the Buckeyes are not only favored to win every game -- joining ACC favorite Clemson and 2014 near miss TCU in that boat -- but to dominate. The Las Vegas Golden Nugget released its top games Friday and the Buckeyes' biggest contests all show OSU a heavy favorite. OSU opened as 16-point favorites at Virginia Tech in that season-opening revenge game, as 19-point favorites in Penn State's return trip to the Horseshoe in October, as 14-point favorites against Big Ten contender Michigan State on Senior Day and as 16-point favorites in the rivalry game with Michigan.

Those numbers have since gone down a tad as bettors take the points, but the Buckeyes are still double-digit favorites in all games. The only time that's happened in Big Ten history was when Michigan State won all nine of its league games in 2013 by at least 10 points, including the title game over Ohio State.

That was history, and now the Buckeyes are favored to make some more. Suddenly, you can see why Meyer was worried about complacency

In fact, that might be one of the biggest roadblocks between Ohio State and a repeat national championship for the first time in school history. The Buckeyes have been feted not just across Ohio but across the country for what it accomplished last January, and 18- to 22-year-olds are not always known for having clear heads when that kind of adoration is levied.

Instilling that edge in the 2015 Buckeyes, then, has been one of Meyer's key challenges since the team spent the night of Jan. 12 kissing the new championship trophy and dancing amid confetti in suburban Dallas.

“We’re not crossing the bridge at this time, but that’s going to be the essence of 2015 is how do you somehow create that with the leadership on your team?” Meyer said in the spring. “Because a complacent or entitled team can be really, really bad. (Creating) a team that somehow has a chip on their shoulder like this team did is going to be the essence to our season.”


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