Michael Roth --
Vegas sets Ohio season win total at 7.5, should you go over or under?
Despite being picked as the favorite to win the MAC, the Ohio Bobcats aren’t listed as the highest win total in the conference according to vegas. Instead the Bobcats are tied for second with Western Michigan at 7.5 projected wins with Toledo holding the top spot at 8 wins.
This brings Bobcat fans to the most important question, should you bet over or under on this listed win total?
The Bobcats went under their win total of 8.5 last season by half a game (win totals only count regular season games, MAC championship and bowl victories are not factored into this bet)
Ohio started slow with losses to Virginia and Cincinnati out of conference and then dropped a heart-breaker to Northern Illinois. They built some momentum but fell to rival Miami (OH) to seal the under.
The Bobcats have completely turned around their program under Frank Solich but haven’t won that elusive conference championship. Solich and the Bobcats return Air Canada but not much else from an offense that was one of the best in the country last season. Aj Oulette and Maleek Irons combined for over 2,000 yards on the ground, they’re both gone. Papi White and Andrew Meyer finished with just under 100 catches and 1,500 yards, they’re both gone as well.
The Bobcats also graduated Joe Lowery and Joe Anderson, two offensive line staples for the past couple seasons. Ohio will return Rourke under center on offense, but most of his supporting cast will look very different.
For Ohio to finally win a conference title, they need the defense to step up. After giving up 38.25 PPG in four out of conference games, the Bobcats gave up 18.55 PPG in eight conference games and the bowl game shutout of San Diego State. That defense graduates some key playmakers, but Javon Hagan, Jamal Hudson, Marlin Brooks, and Ilyass Motley return in the secondary and return seven front seven players with 2.5 or more TFL.
Now let’s look forward, Ohio is projected as the 82nd best team in the country according to S&P+. They were at one point ranked 101st last season after a 3-3 start, but rose all the way to the 54th ranking at the end of the season. That ranking was highest in the MAC by a fairly significant margin. They are projected as the 34th best offense and 109th best defense in the nation next season.
Despite this projected dip, they are still projected to win 7.7 games next season and are the highest projected team in the MAC East. S&P+ has the Bobcats underdogs in two games this season, when they go on the road against Pitt and Marshall. There are also three other games where Ohio has less than a 60% chance of victory, those matchups are against Northern Illinois, Western Michigan, and At Buffalo.
What has cursed Ohio recently is losing games that they aren’t expected to lose, if the Bobcats are going to exceed expectations then avoiding ‘trap’ losses to teams like UL-Lafayette, Miami (OH) and At Ball State could be the difference if the Bobcats make it to Detroit and go over this projected win total of 7.5.
I would personally not touch this season win total and would advise Bobcat fans to stay away from placing a wager on either side. When you have Nathan Rourke and an improving defense you always have a shot in the MAC, but this team is relying on a ton of new offensive talent and the non conference schedule is quietly very tricky.
With the main projection system I use coming so close to the win total posted by vegas, I would advise just tipping your cap to the oddsmakers for making a fair line and try to pick specific games to wager for or against Ohio, instead of making a season long bet.