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UNLV

vs.

Ohio State

College Football

Free Pick

9/23/17

Things have come full circle for UNLV. After losing as a -45 point favorite in their first game to Howard, the Rebels are massive -40 point road underdogs (at 5Dimes Sportsbook) for their trip to Columbus. The Buckeyes are huge favorites despite some sketchy play in the early going.

Ohio State started slow against Indiana, but then dominated en route to a late cover. From there, the Bucks have failed to cover their last two, losing to Oklahoma and then failing to cover against Army by only a point (-32.5). But with another big line, backing Ohio State will mean this is the kind of game they have to go all out in and score in bunches off the bat.

It’s clear that the Buckeyes should score at least 40 points in this game and probably 50 if all goes right. If the UNLV defense gave up 43 points to Howard, then how will it stop OSU? Of course, the Rebels were a bit better last time out, easily taking care of Idaho as an underdog. Needless to say, they’ve been all over the map in their first two games.

The problem for the Ohio State offense is that it stalls more often than it should and that was seen in the Oklahoma loss. J.T. Barrett is a decent passer, but isn’t considered a top NFL prospect for a reason. He’s a good college quarterback that can sometimes win with his arm, but is more of a creator on the ground. The Bucks will use Barrett and freshman J.K. Dobbins (425 yards) to run over the UNLV defense and that’s probably all they’ll need. But yet, Ohio State scored just 38 points last week even though they ran for 8.4 yards per carry and Barrett threw for another 270 yards.

Covering this game for UNLV would require the Rebels to use plenty of the clock, which is exactly what the Army triple-option did. The good news for the Rebels is that they also like to run the ball with Lexington Thomas (341 yards) and quarterback Armani Rogers (168 yards) having solid starts to the season. But while Army ran for 4.5 yards per carry last week against OSU, it’s going to be a bit harder for UNLV to do that, despite averaging 7.3 ypc in its first two games. Going against this defensive front, the Rebels could easily get eaten up and average less than three yards per carry. If that’s the case, running time off the clock may not be a possibility.

The last time UNLV saw a defense anywhere close to this OSU group was a trip to San Diego State last season and that’s still not a great comparison. The Rebels only managed seven points in that loss with 3.1 yards per carry. Freshman QB Rogers has looked solid as a passer early, but he clearly hasn't faced a defense like this one. This game could easily blow up in UNLV’s face as the Rebels struggle to get anything going offensively while the Ohio State offense averages 10 yards per play. If that’s the case, covering 40 points will be more than possible for the Bucks.

Our Pick - Did we mention that UNLV lost to Howard University? Yeah, so, there's that........Ohio State -40

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