Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers Point Spread – Pick Against the Spread

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Cornhuskers vs. Ohio State Buckeyes Pick

Ohio State Buckeyes (3-2 SU, 2-3 ATS) vs. No. 15 Nebraska Cornhuskers (4-1 SU, 1-4 ATS), 8:00 p.m. EST, Week 6 NCAA Football, Saturday, October 8, 2011, Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Neb., TV: ABC
by Badger, College Football Handicapper, Predictem.com

Point Spread: OSU +11/Neb -11
Over/Under Total: 44

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The train wreck that is the Ohio State Buckeyes this season will make their next stop down the line this week, traveling to Lincoln to take on the No.15-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers in Big Ten Conference action Saturday in Memorial Stadium.

The Buckeyes continued their free fall from prominence with perhaps their worst loss in the regular season in decades, dropping their Big Ten opener to the Michigan State Spartans, 10-7. The Spartans No. 1-ranked defense literally stopped the struggling Buckeyes offense in its tracks, limiting them to just 178 yards of offense and nearly notching the shutout if not for a token Buckeyes score in the closing seconds.

If the embarrassing loss at home in the Horseshoe wasnt enough to turn the stomachs of Buckeye fans and players, now comes word that the turmoil surrounding the football program isnt over just yet.

Running back Daniel Herron and receiver DeVier Posey, both scheduled to return to action this week following their five-game suspensions for Tattoo-gate this summer, will both be forced to sit one more game due to receiving too much pay for too little work for a booster this summer for their summer jobs. Offensive lineman Marcus Hall was also suspended on Monday in the newest summer job scandal, so the Buckeyes offense that was hoping to get back to full throttle will have to wait one more week.

The Cornhuskers will also enter the game Saturday fresh off a little adversity, as they were handed their own embarrassing loss in their first-ever Big Ten Conference contest at the hands of the Wisconsin Badgers, 48-17. Nebraska was actually leading the game in the second quarter when a turnover sparked the Badgers to back-to-back touchdowns before halftime, and before the Huskers knew what hit them they were down 41-14 and never recovered.

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Now these two national powers will be playing for redemption and the chance to get back into the Big Ten title hunt on Saturday, instead of the ultra-important battle for BCS position that the executives at ABC thought these two would be playing for back in the spring when they decided to make it the featured game in primetime.

The opening odds on this game had Nebraska as low as 9.5-point favorites, but with everyone running from the Buckeyes right now it quickly shot up to 11-points at a majority of the sportsbooks on the Web. There are a few sportsbooks still listing the Huskers at minus -10.5, but some of those come with extra juice on it at -115.

The over/under total has opened at 44 at a few sportsbooks, but a large majority of the books have yet to post a number, so chances are there could be line movement in the days leading to kickoff.

This game should be interesting to see if it gets to 44 points because both offenses had problems in the conference opener last weekend, and both offenses lack a consistent passing game to stop defenses from stacking the box to stop the run.

Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez is way better at throwing the football off of play action, not in a dropback fashion when youre playing catch-up down a few scores like they were at Wisconsin. Martinez, running back Rex Burkhead and the Huskers were running the ball well at Wisconsin (159 yards, 3.7 ypc), but the game turned when Martinez threw an interception. The Badgers scored on the short field off the turnover, put Martinez and the Huskers into catch-up mode and never gave the momentum back.

Plus, Nebraska will face an Ohio State defense that is still playing up to its reputation with rankings still in the top-15 (285.2 yards 13th; 14.6 ppg 11th), so the sledding might be a little tougher for the Huskers this week than in any of their previous contests.

Ohio State freshman QB Braxton Miller and the Buckeyes running game was denied by the Spartans last week (35 yards, 0.8 ypc), and in the process it exposed what most observers knew a few weeks ago that Miller is not polished enough to pass over the top of Big Ten defenses.

Former starter Joe Bauserman came in and drove the Buckeyes to their only score last week, and after the game interim head coach Luke Fickell answered a question by saying maybe he would open up the QB job again for competition, only to later backtrack and state Miller as his starter.

The Buckeyes offense should be encouraged that the Nebraska defense has yet to really play up to its famous Blackshirts standard. The Huskers are allowing 152.8 yards on the ground this season (66th in NCAA), and was gouged for 231 by Wisconsin, but without the addition of Harron as expected the Buckeyes might miss an opportunity.

On Saturday, these two schools will be meeting for the third time in history. Back in 1955 and 1956 the Buckeyes swept a series against the Cornhuskers, winning 28-20 and 34-7, respectively, in both years in games that were both played in Columbus.

If youre a fan of following betting trends then youll want to note that the Buckeyes have faired well lately in the underdog role (4-1 ATS in L5 as dog), while the Huskers have struggled as a favorite (1-4 ATS in L5) and at home (0-4 ATS in L4 at home).

The trends for the over/under total point toward an under play, with the Buckeyes being a strong under team historically (5-0 in L5 as road dog, 9-1-2 in L12 on road) and the Cornhuskers also having a propensity toward under play (16-5 in L21 in Oct., 14-6 in L20 home games).

Badgers Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The Buckeyes offense may be struggling, but the defense is good enough to keep them in this game all day. A double-digit point spread is too high, Im taking the points in a game the Buckeyes might just win straight up. Take Ohio State plus the 11-points.

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