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Last updated: 06/16/2014 0:58 AM
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Football
'Vegas' Sees the Buckeyes Going 11-1 in 2014
By Tony Gerdeman

COLUMBUS, Ohio — On Friday downtown Las Vegas sportsbook the Golden Nugget released their annual college football "Games of the Year" odds, and they have the Buckeyes favored in all of their big games but one.

(Please do not feel the need to reply that this is not the linemaker's prediction of outcomes, but rather an attempt to lure the most bets, because we all know that. But we also know that Vegas usually picks the teams to win that they believe will win. So can we please continue? Okay? Okay.)

That one game where the Buckeyes are an underdog? You probably already know -- at East Lansing. The Golden Nugget has the Spartans as a slight one-point favorite over Ohio State.

This would be the second outing to Michigan State in a row where the Buckeyes made the trip as an underdog. In 2012, the Spartans were a 2 or 2.5-point favorite, but Ohio State pulled off the upset 17-16, spurring them on to an undefeated season.

The Buckeyes open this season against Navy in Baltimore and are currently a 14-point favorite over the Midshipmen. The last time these two teams met in 2009, OSU was a 22-point favorite, yet only won the game 31-27 when they were saved by a Brian Rolle interception return on a two-point conversion.

The following week the Buckeyes host Virginia Tech, and the Golden Nugget has OSU as an 18-point favorite in that game. The last time the Hokies were such a large underdog was the season opener a year ago when they were 21.5-point underdogs to the Alabama Crimson Tide. They lost that game 35-10.

Three weeks later the Buckeyes host the Cincinnati Bearcats, where they are a 21-point favorite over their redheaded cousins. The last time OSU played UC, the Buckeyes were a 29-point favorite in 2006. They won that game 37-7.

Up next in the Golden Nugget's list of big games for Ohio State is their trip to Happy Valley, where they have the Buckeyes as a nine-point favorite over the Nittany Lions. Ohio State hasn't been a consensus favorite at Penn State since they were a 3.5-point favorite as the #1 team in the nation in 2007.

Ohio State last went to Penn State in 2012, and by kickoff, the game was a pick 'em. The Buckeyes won the 2012 game by 12 points and the 2007 game by 20.

The last "big game" on Ohio State's schedule is the game against Michigan and the J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Head Football Coach Brady Hoke.

As you might expect, the Golden Nugget likes the Buckeyes in that game, but only by eight points. In 2012 when Michigan last made the trip to Columbus, the Buckeyes were only a 3.5-point favorite.

The last time Michigan was a favorite at Ohio State was 2004. The Buckeyes won that game 37-21.

Presumably, Ohio State will be favored in every other game this season as well. The last time they weren't a favorite the week of a game was at Wisconsin in 2012, which they won 21-14 in overtime.

There are some other notable Big Ten games on the Golden Nugget's list as well.

Perhaps the most interesting is Michigan State at Oregon, where the Spartans are a 13-point underdog. That same day Notre Dame is a three-point favorite over Michigan.

Nebraska is a three-point favorite over Miami (FL) a couple of weeks later. A month or so after that, the Huskers are a eight-point underdog at Michigan State.

Michigan is currently a seven-point home favorite over Penn State on October 11. Two weeks later, the Wolverines are a 7.5-point underdog on the road against the Spartans. Then two weeks after that, Michigan is a three-point favorite at Northwestern.

One of the more interesting Big Ten West games -- if you still care about the Big Ten West -- is Iowa at Minnesota, which is currently a pick 'em. The Hawkeyes are a six-point underdog at home to Wisconsin, however.

And what about Nebraska at Wisconsin? The Badgers are a seven-point favorite at the moment. The Huskers are also a one-point underdog at Iowa.

Yes, each of these lines are sure to change, but they give you an idea of what those in the know think they know. At least for now.

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