Ohio Bobcats (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS) vs. No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes (2-0 SU,
7-3 ATS), Week 3 NCAA Football, 12:00 p.m. EST, Saturday, September
18, 2009, Ohio Stadium Columbus, Ohio, TV: Big Ten Network
by Badger of Predictem.com
Betting Odds: University of Ohio +32/OSU -32
With a big victory in their showdown against Miami now in the
rearview mirror, the 2nd-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes can finish up the final half of their non-conference schedule with two tune-ups before
the start of the Big Ten season in October.
The first of those two tune-ups is this week when the Buckeyes host
their in-state rival Ohio Bobcats in the horseshoe of Ohio Stadium
Saturday on the Big Ten Network.
If the Bobcats have any hope in pulling off the upset to shock the
world, they certainly better play with more urgency on offense than
they did last week in their 20-13 loss at home to Toledo. Ohio could
only muster 183 yards of total offense against a Toledo defense that
isnt even on the same planet as the unit the Buckeyes will throw at
them on Saturday (for about two quarters).
The books are expecting this game to be as lopsided as it looks on paper, installing the Buckeyes as huge 32-point favorites when the
board opened on Sunday. Depending on where you wager you might find
the number down or up the hook (31.5 to 32.5), but for the most part
the number is holding so Ohio State sill have to find the end zone
five times to cover the large point spread.
There has yet to be an over/under total listed for this game as of press time.
On offense theres really only one position that you have to look at
in order to get a feel for what each team is going to do come
Ohio State junior Terrelle Pryor really seems to have turned the
corner in his progression at the position, with last week against the
Hurricanes as the perfect example of his maturity as a signal caller.
Pryor threw for 233 yards and a score and added 113 yards rushing and
a touchdown on the ground in the big win over Miami, but it was his
grasp of the offense and his ability to stay within it and not force
things that stood out.
Ohios QB Boo Jackson has struggled so far in 2010, and is starting
to hear a lot of boos himself from the home crowd. In the Bobcats
opener (exhibition) against Wofford in week one (a 33-10 Ohio win) he
was good (7-for-12 for 97 yards) but very sloppy and indecisive. Last
week he got worse instead of better, throwing for 177 yards and a
score, but his three interceptions were critical and he simply cannot
force plays in the passing game if the Bobcats want to try and keep
the Buckeyes under 40 points.
With the Bobcats running game grounded by Toledo (46 yards, 1.6 yards
per carry), Jackson was forced to throw a lot on third down with
terrible results (3-for-13 on 3rd down) and the result was Ohio was
upset in a game that closed with them as 10-point favorites.
Worse yet for Jackson and Ohio is the fact that the Buckeyes defense
intercepted Miamis Jacory Harris four times last week, and Harris
was a Heisman candidate before that game. Harris did rebound to throw
for 232 yards in the game, but the Bobcats dont possess the speed or
skill on the outside like Miami does, so the Buckeye secondary should
have little trouble forcing the issue against Jackson and the Bobcats.
The one facet of the Buckeyes game that will need improvement will be
special teams, as they gave up two long kick returns for touchdowns
in the game against Miami. Again, Miamis speed is worlds away from
what the Bobcats will put on the field, but it is a phase the
Buckeyes will have to hone before the start of Big Ten season.
Two years ago the Bobcats nearly pulled off the stunner in Ohio
Stadium to open the season, putting a big scare in Pryor (as a
freshman) and the Buckeyes before the home team pulled away late for
a sloppy, 26-14 victory. Still, the Bobies covered as very similar
33.5-point favorites on that day, so its not completely
unconceivable to see them do it again on Saturday with a nearly
identical point spread.
Ohio does seem to play up to their competition well, going 8-2 ATS
against teams with winning records their last 10 tries. They are also
10-4-1 ATS in their last 15 road games, and 5-2 ATS against the Big
Ten in their last seven tries, but those numbers have not come
against a team as deep as this Buckeyes squad so take those betting
trends for what they are worth.
The under wager could end up being the best bet of the game (if you
dont want to eat the huge juice), since the under is 13-3 in the
Bobcats last 16 road games versus a team with a winning record. The
under is also 5-1 in the Buckeyes last six meetings with a team from
the MAC, and 8-3 in their last 11 non-conference games overall.
Badgers Pick to Cover the Spread: With no total listed yet its hard for me to make a
pick here. I expect very little resistance from Ohio on Saturday, but
I cant condone wagering on a 32-point favorite simply because thats
just too much wiggle room for a back door cover. Ill take a look at
the under when a total comes out, but otherwise Im laying off in