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Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs. Ohio State Buckeyes Odds - Prediction

Rutgers Scarlet Knights (2-2 SU, 2-2 ATS) vs. Ohio State Buckeyes (3-0 SU, 3-0 ATS)
College Football Week 5
Date/Time: Saturday, October 1, 2016 12PM ET
Where: Ohio Stadium
TV: Big Ten Network
by Evergreen, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com

Point Spread: RUTG +38/OSU -38
Over/Under Total: 59

If you believe that it will take an undefeated record to get into and eventually win the college football playoff, then every game is a big one, regardless of opponent. The Ohio State Buckeyes have goals that include winning a national championship so they are in a must-win situation this week as the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers come to Columbus. Ohio State is sitting pretty as the No. 2 ranked team in all the land but style points remain key in a game where the presumptive winner is a heavy favorite. There is a lot of sideline familiarity in this one as former OSU defensive coordinator Chris Ash squares off with Urban Meyer who now has longtime Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano as part of his staff. I doubt that will matter much to the guys playing the game Saturday but there might be a play or two ran simply to throw off the opposition.

It is no surprise to see Ohio State as big favorites in The Shoe but Rutgers is getting the FCS treatment here as 38 point underdogs. The online betting sites have a little disagreement through the early week action so shop around as 37 and 38.5 point lines can be found. The big reason why Rutgers’ chances appear so limited is that they are without their do-it-all wide receiver Janarion Grant. Before going down to an ankle injury last week, Grant led the team in receiving, had three rushing scores and handled punt and kickoff return duties. The Knights are just 4-12 in conference since joining the Big Ten and are 1-5 against the spread in their last six conference games while OSU enters on a five game ATS win streak.

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OSU has squashed Rutgers in their two previous tilts, 56-17 in 2014 and 49-7 last year. The Buckeyes were pitching a shutout in Piscataway last season until Rutgers got a touchdown with just 13 seconds left to preserve a little dignity. The Knights were only able to muster 293 total yards while the Bucks tallied 534 total, including 287 yards on the ground. That theme might continue as the Ohio State enters the week averaging 306 rushing yards per game with Rutgers allowing an 88th ranked 181 yards on the ground.

There is almost no way to overstate the loss of Grant for Rutgers. It was evident that the Rutgers defense was able to match up well with Iowa last week but the offense could not answer the bell after Grant went out and Rutgers fell 14-7. Chris Laviano provides senior leadership under center but the cupboard is pretty bare for the Knights in the skill department. Jawuan Harris and Andre Patton have snagged five combined touchdown passes but neither receiver has made it to double digit receptions through four games. The running game has been productive behind Robert Martin and his 6.2 yards per carry but Ohio State is a top-20 run-stopping team and will undoubtedly stack the box and make Rutgers throw.

Ohio State has cruised through three weeks, most recently dropping Oklahoma by a 45-24 score two weeks ago. That stands as one of the more impressive wins for an upper-tier team with OSU showing dominance on both sides of the ball. The Buckeyes are top-10 in total yards gained, rushing yards per game and average 56.7 points per contest. Chris Ash is a defensive guru and has Rutgers playing some improved defense in just his first year as head coach but this is a much taller task than the Knights have faced against the likes of Howard, New Mexico and Iowa. The Rutgers D is top-45 in total and passing yards allowed but they haven’t been able to stop the run consistently and that has let opponents average 26 points per game.

J.T. Barrett has flourished as the unquestioned starter, throwing for ten touchdowns and just one interception while rushing for 159 yards and three scores. Mike Weber and Curtis Samuel are both averaging over 6.5 yards per carry with Samuel a big part of the passing game, leading the team in receptions (16) and yards (259). Noah Brown got going in a big way against Oklahoma, catching a school-record four touchdown passes against the Sooners. The names are different in Columbus but the top-notch production has stayed consistent.

I get leery of massive spreads in league games but Rutgers has only been part of the Big Ten for two years so the familiarity has not reached the levels you’d normally expect. Rutgers is so limited on offense without Grant and no amount of system knowledge on Ash’s part is going to make up for that. Maybe Urban takes it easy on his former assistant, that might the only way to prevent another rout. Tim Beckman found out the hard way what it is like to face Meyer after taking over the Illinois program. Ohio State won by an average margin of 32 points in the first three meetings against Beckman. Good luck, Chris Ash. Ohio State is coming off a big game so you might think they are looking past a lesser opponent but they are also coming off a bye week. Ohio State rolls 51-7.

Evergreen’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Ohio State

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NCAA Football Week 5 Betting Previews

Here are some additional game previews from this week's college football card.

Free Picks

Editor's Picks - Each weekend our very own in-house All-American Editor makes his NCAA point spread predictions in an attempt to force fumbles, sack and intercept your bookie!

Expert College Football Picks - Free premium college foots plays against the spread from expert handicappers from around the web from week 1 through the National Championship.

Underdog of the Week Pick - We sort through it all and find out which University is getting "too many points" this week. If there was a Heisman Trophy for picking underdogs, we'd be a frontrunner. Expect a 57%+ winning percentage with these picks as we've got a keen ear for loud barking dogs.

Line Movement - NCAA football lines open early in the week and often times move up or down based on wagering activity, injuries to key players and weather. We decipher whether it's square or wiseguy action and predict the point spread winner based on value.

College Football Consensus Picks - We assess the public perception each week and let them pick the winners for us as we fade their selections which provides us with many trips into our bookies endzone.

Computer Picks - We enter them into the computer and the machine makes it's picks. This is a great guide especially when betting totals! These are available after the first few weeks of the season.

Trends - Despite what you have been told or read on tout sites, the trend ain't your friend. We however turn the tables and fade the almighty trend for what should be some great profits over time.

2017/2018 College Football Predictions - Bob gives his picks to win each major conference. At the end, he gives his prediction on who thinks will win the 2018 National Championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 8th.

2017 Heisman Trophy Predictions - USC QB Sam Darnold is a heavy pre-season favorite to win college football's most coveted award, but Jay isn't buying it. In fact, he's passing up the top (3) favored players in favor of a QB who he's confident will be NCAA football's best player in 2017.

2017-2018 College Football Championship Predictions - NCAA football experts have the Alabama Crimson Tide running away with the National Championship this season and who can blame them? Roll Tide is LOADED! It never happens that easy though. The USC Trojans (+825), Florida St. Seminoles (+850) and Ohio St. Buckckeyes (+875) all have a legit shot. Oddsmakers have Oklahoma (+1300) on the bubble and everybody looking from the outside in at 20/1 or higher. Jay gives his pick to win it all along with how his top 15 rankings for season's end. Get your bets in early before your favorite team's line drops!

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Heisman Trophy Betting Odds - USC QB Sam Darnold starts the season off as a heavy favorite at +350 odds. Sooners QB Baker Mayfield is second on the list at +700 but can he keep his nose clean? Louisville QB Lamar Jackson should dominate this season but will Louisville be taken seriously? Oregon Ducks RB Royce Freeman is worth a pop at 60/1 if he gets the carries. Bama WR Calvin Ridley brings experience and big-time playmaking ability and will be featured on National TV a bunch, giving him a legit darkhorse shot. But will they throw the ball enough with a QB who likes to run? Missing from this year's list of odds is a defensive player.

Odds to Win the 2017 College Football Championship - The Alabama Crimson Tide are heavy favorites to win the National Championship this year at 5/2 followed by Ohio St. at 13/5, USC at 7/1 and FSU at 17/2. Things drop off a bit with the Oklahoma Sooners coming in at 12/1, Auburn Tigers at 14/1 and Michigan Wolverines at 16/1. Check out your favorite school's odds here!

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