COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Saturday’s game between Ohio State and Michigan will be the last of the legendary rivalry before sports betting becomes legal in Ohio.
Even before Ohioans can legally bet on sports betting starting January 1st, the Ohio State-Michigan match is still one of the biggest money makers for sports betting. It was the second-highest-grossing college football game of 2021, according to DraftKings.
“I expect this to be the biggest draw of the day on Saturday,” said Johnny Avello, DraftKings director of racing and sporting operations.
Avello expects betting on The Game to exceed 2021 activity as both teams are unbeaten, for the first time since 2006 both the Buckeyes and Wolverines have unblemished matchup records.
“They are great teams. It’s a tradition,” said Karol Corcoran, General Manager of FanDuels Sportsbook. “It’s a marquee game, it’s a great time for people to watch it on TV. I think that’s what drives interest and betting volume.”
According to FanDuel, Michigan residents have placed about 60,000 bets on the game, totaling about $2 million. Nationwide, the sportsbook has registered 304,000 bets totaling more than $10.2 million.
Last year, Ohio State won 68% of the bets placed, and the 2023 matchup has the potential to become even more popular.
“We assume people are going to bet on these teams because they’re — you know — from the home state,” Avello said, noting that games featuring smaller programs like Bowling Green, Miami and Ohio University are likely to see a bet will also increase. “And that would translate to revenue for the state as people bet on these teams.”
The Legislative Service Commission projects that 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 sportsbook generated nearly $48 million in September revenue, generating $1.9 million in revenue for the state.
The big sportsbooks favored the Buckeyes to win Saturday’s game by a margin of 7.5. Saturday’s winner will advance to the Big Ten Championship game to play against Iowa, Purdue or Illinois on December 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, the Ohioans will be able to legally bet on their home team if Ohio State makes it to the January 9th national championship game in Los Angeles. The College Football Playoffs semifinals are scheduled for New Year’s Eve.