Ohio State Buckeyes Mathematical Chances of Making the CFP

Ohio State Buckeyes Mathematical Chances of Making the CFP

Barry Devoe
3 years ago
3 min read
Ohio State Buckeyes Mathematical Chances of Making the CFP

The Ohio State Buckeyes are ranked 4th in the latest CFP rankings that came out on Tuesday night heading into their noon matchup with the Michigan State Spartans. This is one of the toughest 3 game stretches in college football this year if the Buckeyes plan on getting a trip back to the playoff. 

Michigan State

The Buckeyes are a -19 favorite over the Spartans on Saturday, basically, the exact same line as the Purdue game last week, and one of the main reasons for that is the Michigan State pass defense that ranks the worst in the FBS in total yardage allowed. This stat is a bit skewed, but it is still a major problem heading into a game against a team that could go down as one of the most talented passing games in college football history. 

The Buckeyes are -1100 to win the game outright, which is an implied odds of 91.67%, this includes a bit of juice, so let's make it 90% to win the game to make it a bit easier. With this game being at home and the specific matchups seemingly favoring the Buckeyes, this will be the easiest game on the schedule if they were to play Wisconsin in Indianapolis. 


The Wolverines are trying to fight their demons and that will come to a head next week in Ann Arbor. I have seen early lines floated around -6.5 for the Buckeyes, but to be quite honest, there is no way this thing closes within a TD unless Ohio State struggles with the Spartans. I will throw out an estimate of this line at 8.5 or nine, meaning that I think that we should see the Buckeyes enter this game with an implied probability of about 77% winning it.

This means that heading into the Big Ten Championship game, the Buckeyes are about 70% to be undefeated in conference play on their way to Indianapolis. Wisconsin is the odds on favorite to see the Buckeyes there, so that is what we will assume happens. I will say that I do believe Wisconsin would have the best odds to beat the Buckeyes out of any Big Ten West team.


I would expect this line to be something like 15.5 with this game being on a neutral site and Wisconsin on a roll with one of the best defenses in the country. Ohio State has a very up and down nature this season, so it’s not impossible that they win the next two games by 50 combined points and this line gets a bit inflated, but we’ll just assume the odds if Ohio State were to win these next two games by the spread itself.

I would expect Ohio State to be about 85% to win this matchup, meaning that their odds of going undefeated are about 59% during this stretch. 

Other Scenarios

I do think that a world exists where Ohio State loses to Michigan State, stomps Michigan and Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship and craziness occurs around the country like another Alabama loss, a Cincinnati loss, ACC, Pac-12, and Big 12 champions all with 2 losses and I do think that this is honestly the least likely from the standpoint of Ohio State losing. We are not far away from those 3 conferences mentioned having a 2-loss champ and that will create a bunch of interesting debates. 

I would give the Buckeyes about a 60% chance to make the playoff based on the current odds of the games leading up to that point. 

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