Ohio State most popular bet to win title; rival Michigan among top five

ByDavid Purdum ESPN logo
Monday, August 3, 2015

One month before the college football season kicks off, the Michigan Wolverines are one of the most popular bets to win the national championship at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.

Only four teams have attracted more money than Jim Harbaugh's Wolverines in the national championship futures pool at the SuperBook. A 100-1 long shot, Michigan also is fifth in number of overall bets.

Consensus favorite Ohio State, 5-2, is by far the most popular national title bet. Nearly four times more money has been wagered on the Buckeyes than any other team. Alabama has attracted the second most money, followed by Auburn, Notre Dame and Michigan.

The Wolverines host the Buckeyes on Nov. 28. Ohio State is a 14-point favorite over Michigan at the SuperBook. Michigan opens at Utah on Thursday, Sept. 3. The Wolverines are 6-point underdogs.

In the opening week's marquee matchups, No. 3 Alabama is a 10.5-point favorite over No. 18 Wisconsin on Sept. 5 at Dallas Cowboys Stadium. It is the 69th consecutive game the Crimson Tide have been favored in, a modern-day record.

No. 2 TCU is a 14-point road favorite over Minnesota in a Thursday night opener on Sept. 3. No. 7 Auburn is a 10.5-point favorite over Louisville on Sept. 5 at the Georgia Dome, and No. 11 Notre Dame is a 10-point favorite over visiting Texas on the first Saturday of the season.

No. 1 Ohio State was a 12.5-point favorite over Virginia Tech, before coach Urban Meyer announced last week that four players, including star defensive end Joey Bosa would be suspended for the opener on Labor Day night in Blacksburg. Sports book operator CG Technology dropped the line down Ohio State -11, while other shops went as low as -10.

William Hill opened a prop wager on "Will Ohio State go undefeated and win the national championship?" Yes is plus-550; No is minus-800.

The Buckeyes' season win total is 11.5, even-money on the over at CG Technology.

"People are betting the over," Jason Simbal, CG Technology vice president, said.

The biggest Week 1 line movement came on the Georgia Southern-West Virginia game. In early July, the sports book at the Stratosphere opened the Mountaineers as 31-point favorites. Heavy support for underdog Georgia Southern poured in, including multiple $1,000 limit bets, according to Stratosphere supervisor Hugh Citron.

"We haven't taken a bet on West Virginia yet," Citron told ESPN Chalk on Friday.

West Virginia is currently a 19-point favorite.

The Wynn sportsbook will release the first weekly lines in Las Vegas at 3 p.m. PT on Sundays during the season.

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