If Ohio State parts ways with football coach Urban Meyer, who was placed on paid administrative leave Wednesday, Las Vegas oddsmakers expect the Buckeyes to barely miss a beat this season.
“I consider Meyer one of the best coaches in the country,” Westgate sports book manager John Murray said. “I definitely think it would have an impact. But that team is absolutely loaded. They can put one of us in there and still probably have one of the best teams in the Big Ten.”
As Ohio State investigates claims that Meyer’s wife knew about allegations of domestic violence against former assistant coach Zach Smith years before he was fired last week, the Buckeyes remain tied with Clemson as the 9-2 second choice at the Westgate to win the 2019 national championship behind 7-4 favorite Alabama.
“If he were to get fired, we might revisit that,” Murray said.
When the Meyer news broke, Las Vegas sports books took Ohio State’s regular-season win total and games of the year off the board while adjusting the odds to win the Big Ten.
The Westgate moved the Buckeyes from minus 110 favorites to plus 125 favorites to win their conference championship and moved Michigan from 4-1 to 3-1 and Penn State from 6-1 to 5-1. Wisconsin is the 5-2 second choice.
The Westgate and South Point sports books also moved the line on Ohio State’s Sept. 1 season opener against Oregon State. The Buckeyes moved from 39-point to 35½-point favorites at the Westgate and from 38-point to 36-point favorites at South Point.
“Some guys did come in and bet on Oregon State,” South Point sports book director Chris Andrews said. “(Meyer) might mean 1½ or two points to the power ratings. It seems small for a great coach, but you’ve got a really good staff in place.
“You get a guy like Urban Meyer, it’s not a game-to-game thing where he’s so great, which he is. But it’s really just running the whole program.”
Meyer’s leave caused Wynn Las Vegas sports book director Johnny Avello to move Michigan’s win total from 9 (Over minus 150) to 9½ (-110).
Ohio State’s win total, which was 10½ at the Wynn, is expected to be off the board until the coaching situation is resolved.
“They can still win the whole thing, but I want to see who’s coming in, if anybody,” Avello said. “Anybody in the world will take the job except for Nick Saban. They have to make the decision quick. It’s football season.”
Murray makes Meyer a favorite to keep his job.
“Maybe I’m wrong, but I’d still be kind of surprised if they fired him. Just because (Michigan State basketball coach) Tom Izzo and (Spartans football coach) Mark Dantonio didn’t get fired (in the wake of the Larry Nassar scandal),” Murray said. “I could see a scenario where they slap him on the wrist and suspend him for the first game, which they’re going to win anyway.
“The Michigan-Ohio State game in Columbus, no matter who the coach is, Ohio State is going to probably be favored. That game will go a long way to deciding who wins the division and who wins the Big Ten.”