USA Today Sports

Books, bettors expect Miller to be in Buckeyes lineup

The Ohio State Buckeyes are holding their breath on the status of star QB Braxton Miller for Saturday’s road showdown with the California Golden Bears.

Miller suffered a sprained ligament in his left knee during the Buckeyes’ 42-7 win over San Diego State last weekend and is not yet cleared to return. However, he has undergone treatment and OSU head coach Urban Meyer is optimistic about Miller’s return.

"It's not as sore, it's an MCL so it's a little unstable," Meyer told the media. "He's got to get used to that brace."

Some sportsbooks are keeping the Ohio State-Cal game off the board while others are expecting Miller to play, and their odds reflect that. The Buckeyes opened around a two-touchdown road favorite and have since been bet up to as high as -16.5 as of Thursday morning. Betting limits have been lowered for these odds until Miller's status is confirmed.

“The spread reflects Miller starting,” says Russ Candler, head of trading at UWin.com. “The line touched 14 at one point but is now back to 16, which suggests he’s on course for the start.”

The Golden Bears are also dealing with injuries and have a laundry list of ailments on both sides of the ball heading into Week 3, namely leading tackler LB Michael Barto and starting FS Michael Lowe. Cal was nearly knocked off by FCS Portland State last weekend, squeaking out a 37-30 win as a 31-point favorite.

Kenny Guyton stepped in for Miller versus SDSU, throwing for 152 yards and two touchdowns while adding another 83 yards and one score on the ground.

“Even if (Miller) doesn’t start, Guyton showed enough with his arm and his legs to think that the line won’t be affected that much – especially with Cal banged up as well,” says Candler.

The total for Saturday’s Big Ten-Pac-12 showdown opened at 64.5, climbed to 66.5 and is now down to 65.5.

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