Pick with Analysis
Everyone expected Ohio State to average 60 points per Game this year and then they went and only scored 38 points against Hawaii. A part of that was likely due to a quick turnaround, but this team isn’t entirely flawless. The Buckeyes host Northern Illinois in their third Game and are hefty -34.5 point favorites (as of Tuesday at mybookie.ag).
The Buckeyes likely disappointed a lot of people when they failed to cover by three points against Hawaii, despite shutting them out. They are slightly less favored in this Game against UNI because the Huskies actually have a viable offense. This isn’t the same high-scoring team from a couple years ago with Jordan Lynch, but can put points on the board. It’s just a question of how much they can Scoreagainst one of the best defenses in the country.
The problem for Northern Illinois in this Game is that its defense is struggling as well, maybe more so than last season. The Huskies gave up 30 points in their first Game to UNLV and then 26 to Murray State last weekend, an FCS team.
With a full week of rest, Ohio State’s offense should get out to a better start in this Game. Five days after dismantling Virginia Tech, the Buckeyes only scored 17 points in the first three quarters against the Rainbow Warriors, and then 21 in the Fourth. They struggled so much that Cardale Jones was benched and J.T. Barrett was given an opportunity. Urban Meyer has already said that Jones will be the starter for this Game, but it was a bit interesting to see. Even running back Ezekiel Elliott had trouble getting going against Hawaii. While had had three touchdowns, he still only reached 3.7 yards per carry. No matter, their defense still looked dominant and will give Northern Illinois a real test.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see Ohio State come out gunning in this Game after the lackluster Hawaii win. Northern Illinois can compete against MAC-level schools, but its defense is going to continually be a problem against better schools. They gave up 52 points to Arkansas and Marshall last season and this could be another case of 50-plus points allowed for them. If that’s the case, the Huskies will need to Scorein the 20-point range to cover this Game and that’s not a guarantee.
Quarterback Drew Hare has had success so far, completing 78.1% of his passes for 718 yards and six touchdowns without a turnover, but Ohio State is a lot different than UNLV and Murray State. The Huskies will probably have a hard time finding room to run, which means Hare is going to have a lot on his shoulders. OSU made some mistakes against Virginia Tech and Michael Brewer in Week 1, so there could be opportunities here. Granted, Joey Bosa and a few others didn’t play in that first Game against the Hokies.
Expect Ohio State to come out and Scorein bunches early on, more than they did last weekend. The question will be whether Drew Hare and the UNI offense can Scorea couple touchdowns to have a shot at covering. The Buckeyes may have disappointed last weekend, but it’d still be hard to bet against them in another matchup against a less-than-average defense.
Our Pick – As we frequently mention, laying this big of a number simply isn’t something we do, despite the fact that all signs point to te likely outcome being a Buckeye cover. Instead, in this spot, we’ll go OVER 66.5 as Our model suggests Ohio State can get their all by themselves.