Ohio State Buckeyes (5-1, 5-1 ATS) vs. Purdue Boilermakers (1-5, 3-3 ATS), Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, Saturday, Oct. 17th, noon Eastern, Big Ten Network
By Z-Man of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Buckeyes -13 1/2/Purdue +13.5
Bet this game at a sportsbook where you can buy up to 15 points on any single side or total: 5Dimes.
The Ohio State Buckeyes, coming off a mediocre performance, at least offensively, in a win over Wisconsin last week, look to avoid the upset bid of the error-prone Purdue Boilermakers in a Big 10 border battle Saturday afternoon in West Lafayette.
Most online sportsbooks opened Ohio State at -13 ? for Saturday’s game, but that number quickly got bet up to 14 at several places. And while most college football betting outlets, as of Wednesday morning, were holding off on posting a total on this game, some opened it at right around 48.
The Buckeyes are also listed at right around -525 on the various CFB moneylines, with the Boilers getting +400 as home underdogs.
OSU began this season with an underwhelming 31-27 victory over Navy, then that tough 18-15 home loss to USC. Since then, the Buckeyes have beaten Toledo, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin by an average score of 33-7.
Last week Coach Tressel’s troops beat Wisconsin 31-13, despite getting outgained by the Badgers by a 368-184 yards margin. The Buckeyes returned two interceptions and a kick-off for touchdowns, though, and stymied a late Wisconsin drive to garner a lucky cover as 14 1/2-point home chalk.
Purdue opened the Coach Hope era with a 52-31 win over Toledo, but has since lost by two points at Oregon, by seven to Northern Illinois, by three in the waning moments to Notre Dame, by six to Northwestern (after leading 21-3) and, last week, 35-20 at Minnesota.
So while Ohio State sits atop the Big 10 standings at 3-0, the Boilermakers are near the bottom at 0-2.
In playing their one common opponent so far this season, the Buckeyes outgained Toledo 522-210 and covered the spread as 22-point road chalk, while Purdue outgained the Rockets 535-493, and covered as 10-point home favorites.
On the season Ohio State is outgaining opponents by a 338-272 YPG margin, and outrushing foes by a 173-89 YPG average.
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Meanwhile the Boilermakers are outgaining opponents 410-380 but getting outrushed 167-145.
OSU dual-threat quarterback Terrelle Pryor had a tough game vs. the Badgers last week, completing just five of 13 pass attempts for 87 yards. On the season Pryor has hit on 56% of his throws, with nine TD passes and six INTs (two more picks than he threw all of last season). But Pryor has helped the Buckeyes running game by rushing for 334 yards this year, and three scores.
On the other side of this quarterback match-up, Purdue’s Joey Elliott has been busy this season, already having thrown 213 passes. He’s completed 60% of those throws, and owns a 12/9 TD/INT ratio.
Those nine interceptions are almost half of the 20 turnovers the Boilermakers have coughed up this year, second-most among all FBS teams.
Last year Ohio State beat the Boilers 16-3 at the Horseshoe, despite getting outgained 298-222. The Buckeyes scored the game’s only touchdown on a blocked punt return, and failed to cover the spread as 18 1/2-point favorites.
The totals are 1-4-1 in OSU games this year, which have averaged 42 points, while the O/Us are 3-3 in Purdue games, which have averaged 59 points.
The Sagarin PREDICTOR rankings at USAToday.com rate the Buckeyes at 88.4, the Boilers at 70.1. Taking into account Sagarin’s updated CFB home-field advantage figure of 3.0, and Ohio State is a 15 1/2-point road favorite on the Sagarin line.
Last week, teams ranked in the USA Today coaches’ poll went 12-1 straight up vs. unranked teams, but just 4-6-1 vs. the pointspreads. And over the course of the last three weeks, ranked teams are 40-8 SU but only 19-24-1 ATS vs. unranked teams.
Zman’s Pick: Look for Purdue to bring everything they have to the table and lose the game straight up, but cover the point spread.