Cincinnati Bearcats at Ohio State Buckeyes Prediction
Cincinnati Bearcats (1-0) at Ohio State Buckeyes (1-0)
When: Saturday, September 7, Noon EST
Where: Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
Point Spread: OHST -16.5 (Bookmaker)
Total: O/U 55.5
Outlook For Week 2
Ohio State comes off a comfortable win over Florida Atlantic in which the Buckeyes jumped out to a 28-0 lead in the first 15 minutes before coasting to a 45-21 victory over the Owls. Cincinnati was in control the entire way against UCLA, beating the Bruins 24-14.
How the Public is Betting the Cincinnati/Ohio State Game
The line opened at Ohio State -17 and an over/under at 55.5, and has dropped to Ohio State -16.5, while the over/under has risen to 56 points.
Running back Gerrid Doaks left with an undisclosed injury against UCLA and is questionable for Ohio State. Safety James Wiggins tore his left ACL and is out for the season, while corner ArquonBush is doubtful with a toe injury.
Defensive end Jonathon Cooper is doubtful with a high ankle sprain, while tight end Rashod Berry is questionable with an unspecified ailment. Wide receiver C.J. Saunders is questionable with a knee injury, and defensive tackle Davon Hamilton is questionable with an undisclosed injury that kept him out against Florida Atlantic.
When Cincinnati Has the Ball
Desmond Ridder has come a long way in a short time and has emerged as a confident college quarterback as a sophomore. He made solid decisions with the football throughout last season, tossing 19 touchdowns against five interceptions, and he threw just eight incompletions out of 26 passes against UCLA, suggesting he’s’ moved past being a game manager and can now confidently lead his team to success.
This test, however, will be unlike any that he has ever faced before. Ridder needs to keep making plays with his arm and get help from Michael Warren in the backfield. Cincinnati didn’t get much of a ground game going against the Bruins, and that’s a recipe for disaster against Ohio State. Ridder’s not going to be able to attack the Buckeyes much if they don’t have to worry about a running game. Ohio State allowed just 22 yards on the ground to Florida Atlantic and is likely going to place a key emphasis on taking away the ground game and seeing how Ridder responds.
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When Ohio State Has the Ball
Justin Fields was able to do whatever he wanted against Florida Atlantic, but he should find a stiffer test this week in Cincinnati. For one, the Bearcats are coached by Luke Fickell, who knows the Ohio State program inside and out, having coached Ohio State himself on an interim basis before becoming Urban Meyer’s defensive coordinator. For another, the Bearcats’ defense was outstanding against UCLA, outside of one deep touchdown pass. The Bruins gained just 218 yards in the contest, and without that one 75-yard strike, it would have been a mere 143 yards.
Fields, though, proved that he’s good at taking shots when they come. In the first quarter against Florida Atlantic, the Buckeyes never entered the red zone, but still put up 28 points, courtesy of three touchdown passes and a 51-yard scoring run from Fields. He’s going to have to be patient and pick his spots against Cincinnati, but if he can show that patience, the spots will be there for him to exploit.
Ohio State also needs to get J.K. Dobbins going on the ground early. The Buckeyes didn’t need the ground game much against Florida Atlantic’s weak defense, but Cincinnati can and will stop Fields if Ohio State doesn’t establish a ground threat. If the Buckeyes have the attack going, they’ll be hard to stop.
The good news about Cincinnati is that they’ve been a solid bet in September, covering four of their past five contests in the first full month of the season. However, when they go on the road, they’ve struggled to get results, going 0-4 ATS in their past four road games. Meanwhile, Ohio State has been strong against other strong opponents, winning its past four ATS against an opponent that had a winning record. In the series between these in-state foes, the home team has covered in each of the previous four meetings.
Cincinnati’s defense has been a bright spot on the road, as the under has hit on six of the Bearcats’ past seven true road games. Ohio State, meanwhile, has put up the points pretty well against good teams: the over has hit on eight of the Buckeyes’ past ten against teams with a winning record away from home.
The weather should be perfect in Columbus on Saturday, with a high temperature of 75 and sun in the forecast.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
Cincinnati is talented and has a coach who would love nothing more than to come back to his old stadium and depart a winner. But I’m not sure if it’s going to happen here. The Bearcats certainly have the talent to hang with Ohio State, but their lack of a running game could be their Achilles’ heel, given the Buckeyes’ strength in the front seven.
On the other side of the coin, Ohio State cannot let its foot off the gas pedal the way it did against Florida Atlantic. The Owls weren’t going to come back from down 28-0, but Cincinnati can come back against this Ohio State and make life difficult for the Buckeyes.
I think the Bearcats do make life difficult for Ohio State for three quarters, but the Buckeyes put the game and the spread out of reach in the final 15 minutes. I’ll take Ohio State for the cover based on Cincinnati’s inability to establish a running game.