Why Oddsmakers Won’t Miss Urban Meyer at Ohio State

Dec 04, 2018 2:00 PM EST
Credit:

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Urban Meyer, Thad Matta and Gene Smith

  • Urban Meyer is stepping down at Ohio State after a tumultuous year.
  • Meyer is one of the best coaches in the nation, and that's reflected in his against-the-spread results.
  • Meyer is also worth 2.5-3 points to a spread, one of the most valuable coaches for bettors.

This story is updating from a previous version originally published on Aug. 3.


After a tumultuous year that included an investigation into a former assistant coach, a three-game suspension and health problems that were apparent on the sideline, Urban Meyer is stepping down as Ohio State’s coach.

He’ll be replaced by Ryan Day, the Buckeyes’ co-offensive coordinator and a rising star in the coaching ranks.

In my eyes, Meyer is worth between 2.5 and 3 points to a spread, and 3.5 to 4 with more than a week to prepare. That equates to about one-half win per season. He’s one of the best coaches in the country, both by traditional measures and for bettors.

I know oddsmakers won’t miss Meyer roaming the sidelines on Saturdays, as Meyer has been a cover machine. During his time at Bowling Green, Utah, Florida and Ohio State, Meyer has amassed an impressive 122-90-1 (57.28%) against-the-spread (ATS) record.

Although his overall ATS mark has dropped to a pedestrian 50.55% (46-44-1) at Ohio State if you don’t count the games he was suspended this year, he’s still absolutely money in three specific situations:

  1. With extra time to prepare
  2. As an underdog
  3. In top-25 matchups

Don’t Fade Urban Meyer With Prep

I personally tried to never fade Urban Meyer when he has time to prepare — which means I love to back his teams in the following scenarios:

  • Season openers (11-3*, 78.6%)
  • Bowl games (11-3, 78.6%)
  • Extra prep in-season (20-9**,  68.97%)

*No line for Bowling Green’s opener against Tennessee Tech in 2007
**Eight-plus days of prep during regular season; 24/29 after bye weeks

Meyer has an almost unbelievable 42-15 (75%) ATS record when he has at least eight days to prepare for an opponent. He also owns a 22-1 straight-up (SU) record after a bye week, with the only loss coming in 2001. Silliness.

The Buckeyes are 5.5-point favorites over Washington in the Rose Bowl, Meyer’s last game with the team.

Don’t Fade Meyer as an Underdog

Don’t ever fade Meyer as an underdog. Not only is he 7-0 ATS as Ohio State’s coach when not favored, but he’s also 7-0 SU in those games after bashing Michigan two weeks ago.

Overall, Meyer is 21-6 ATS as an underdog — having won 19 (or more than 65%) of those 27 games outright.

Don’t Fade Meyer in Top-25 Matchups

How’s a 35-17-1 ATS record in top-25 showdowns sound? That’s good enough for a staggering 66.04%.

This rule might need an “except if he plays Clemson” asterisk, as Dabo Swinney owns a 2-0 head-to-head record against Meyer with both wins coming as a small underdog in bowl games.

In the 2016 College Football Playoff, the Tigers actually handed Meyer the worst loss of his career in a 31-0 Clemson win.

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