Even before Ohioans can legally wager on sports starting Jan. 1, the Ohio State-Michigan game is still one of the biggest moneymakers for sportsbooks. According to DraftKings, it was the second highest-bet college football game in 2021.
“I anticipate that’ll be the highest betting game of the day on Saturday,” said Johnny Avello, director of Race and Sports Operations for DraftKings.
Avello anticipates betting on “The Game” will top 2021’s activity because both teams are undefeated, the first time since 2006 both the Buckeyes and Wolverines have unblemished records in the matchup.
“They’re great teams. There’s the tradition,” said Karol Corcoran, general manager of FanDuel’s sportsbook. “It’s a marquee game, it’s a great time for people to watch on TV. I think that’s what drives interest and betting volume.”
According to FanDuel, Michigan residents have placed approximately 60,000 bets on the game, totaling about $2 million. Nationally, the sportsbook has recorded 304,000 bets totaling more than $10.2 million.
Last year, 68% of the bets placed had Ohio State winning, and 2023’s matchup has the potential to be even more popular.
“We presume that people are going to bet on those teams, since they’re — you know — from the home state,” Avello said, noting that games featuring smaller programs like Bowling Green, Miami, and Ohio University will likely see a betting boost as well. “And that would translate the revenue for the state if people are wagering on those teams.”
The Legislative Service Commission projects sports betting will generate $7 million in revenue in 2023 and $24 million in 2024.
As for Michigan, which has allowed sports betting since 2020, its sportsbooks pulled in nearly $48 million in receipts in September resulting in $1.9 million in revenue for the state.
The major sportsbooks have the Buckeyes favored to win Saturday’s game with a spread of 7.5. Saturday’s winner will move on to the Big Ten Championship game to play Iowa, Purdue, or Illinois on Dec. 3 in Indianapolis.
Avello and Corcoran said their respective platforms are fully prepared for a New Year’s Day launch in Ohio. If all goes according to plan, Ohioans can legally bet on their home team if Ohio State makes it to the Jan. 9 national championship game in Los Angeles. The College Football Playoff semifinals are scheduled for New Year’s Eve.