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Odds and Ends

Hoosiers will have hands full with Ohio State

by Sam Panayotovich
Updated On: November 18, 2020, 8:04 pm ET

It'll be a big one in the Big Ten this weekend with undefeated Ohio State hosting undefeated Indiana at the Horseshoe. Many sports bettors will take a look at the 4-and-0 Hoosiers catching almost three touchdowns and sprint to the window. 

I would be very, very careful. 

"Indiana has played really well this year and they're a good team," Golden Nugget sportsbook director Aaron Kessler told NBC Sports. "But Ohio State is in a whole different echelon than Indiana. The question is, how high do you make the number?"

The market opened Ohio State -21 at Circa Sports and that number lasted all of nine minutes. Somebody somewhere was quick to grab a solid +21 almost immediately and you expect that. One Vegas bookmaker told me he wanted to write his first handful of bets on Indiana. So there you go. 

Ohio State is painted -20.5 pretty much everywhere right now in the market with a consensus total of 66.5. And sportsbooks around the country are reporting that lots of the early tickets are piling up on the Hoosiers. Indiana has all the makings of the dreaded public underdog. 

"People like to be first on the next big thing," Kessler said. "People want to say they were first on the Indiana bandwagon. We've seen some action on them, but we've seen this scenario play out a million times. You get a team that looks really good in the beginning of the season and then they come up against the big boys and uh oh." 

The Buckeyes are just a different animal. They have five or six NFL players on both sides of the football and a Heisman Trophy contender in Justin Fields. He is going to have to all day to sit back and pick apart a Hoosier defense that has yet to be tested by a quarterback with a pulse. It's a massive step up in competition from the four cellar dwellers that Indiana has faced so far this season. 

"None of those teams are particularly tough," Kessler opined. "Penn State and Michigan are both way down this year. Michigan State has been bad for a while. And Rutgers is Rutgers. Rutgers might be the best team in that bunch, which is terrifying." 

I always say that big numbers in college football aren't that big and they're certainly not uncoverable. Every year, the best teams in the country have the ability to win by four or five touchdowns on any given Saturday. And Ohio State is definitely one of those teams. 

"Alabama is laying 20-25 every single week no matter who they're playing," Kessler explained. "This isn't uncharted territory here. Clemson is laying -35 to Florida State. That's a lot. Twenty is a big number, but I don't think it's anything crazy."

Sam Panayotovich

Sam Panayotovich is a sports betting analyst from the South Side of Chicago. He'll probably pick against your favorite team a lot. Follow him @spshoot