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Ohio State is already through their hardest stretch of the season and they remain unscathed at 6-0. The Buckeyes took out Wisconsin at home and held strong at Northwestern. Now, they're coming off a bye week and get two straight home games. In fact, they may not be tested again until the final week of the season at Michigan. Iowa hasn't been great, but the Hawkeyes are actually playing better than expected. A couple home losses to Northern Illinois and Michigan State (a team they beat last year) don't help, but road wins at rival Iowa State and Minnesota are good for the conscience. The Buckeyes are -18 point favorites at 5 dimes sportsbook with a total of 55.5.
The last two games between these teams have been decided by three points, but that was also three years ago. It's going to be very tough for Iowa to stick with Ohio State's high-powered offense.
Braxton Miller is back, and while his Northwestern game wasn't great, he should get back on track in this one. Miller can hurt you on the ground with his legs or through the air with the help of Philly Brown and Devin Smith. Throw in OSU's running back duo and you can see why they are so good. Jordan Hall (427 yards, eight TDs) is dealing with a knee problem, but even if he misses this game, Carlos Hyde has plenty of experience as a starter from last year. Not to mention, Hyde went for 168 yards and three TDs against Northwestern last game.
Iowa was labeled as one of the best Big 10 defenses going into their last game, but that may have been because of opponents. After giving up 277 passing yards to Connor Cook of Michigan State, it doesn't look like a top unit anymore. While they stopped the Spartans on the ground, the Hawkeyes ended up getting outscored 16-0 in the second half at home.
The Hawkeyes offense is suspect at best. Led by a solid rushing attack of Mark Weisman (624 yards) and Damon Bullock (256 yards), they have some nice points. However, they completely abandoned the ground game against MSU, totaling 23 yards as a team. Forcing first-year starter Jake Rudock to make plays is not the exact route you want to take with him. Rudock has eight TDs and six INTs on the year and is attempting less than seven yards per pass. The Buckeyes have given up points, but that was against better offenses. If Iowa can score 20 points on the road, that would be considered a success.
The Hawkeyes are 4-12 ATS in their last 16 road games and 1-5 ATS in their last six games following a straight up loss. The Buckeyes are 8-0-1 ATS in their last nine games following a straight up win and have covered in four straight coming off a bye week. Ohio State is also 7-2-1 ATS in the last 10 games in this meeting.
When taking a look at the betting trends at sportsbook.com we see that a whopping 98% of the betting action has been on Ohio State.
We'll buck the public here. Ohio State is the better team and will win this game and stay undefeated. But these two teams may be closer talent-wise than the oddsmakers are reflecting in their number. Iowa +18
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