Ohio State is still the favorite to win the National Championship, but after a few lackluster non-Conference wins, many are doubting just how good the Buckeyes are. Of course, it’s all about headlines for the media and that’s the head of the problem. Still, they are -21 point favorites (mybookie.ag) on the road at Indiana for their Big Ten opener.
OSU started the season with a nice 42-24 win at Virginia Tech, which led some pundits to predict that this team would Score60 points per Game. Instead of that happening, the Buckeyes have only run into problems with their undecided two-quarterback system. While they are 4-0, they are only averaging 34 points per Game and that includes a slim 20-13 win over Northern Illinois a couple weeks ago.
Starting QB Cardale Jones looked better against Western Michigan, throwing for 288 yards, and should have similar success against a weak Indiana defense. But the reason the Buckeyes have not covered in their last three Games is because of an offense that just hasn’t gotten the job done. This spread is a little smaller as the Hoosiers are also 4-0, but this Indiana team probably isn’t all that better than Western Michigan or Northern Illinois.
The Hoosiers beat Southern Illinois 48-47 in their opener, Western Kentucky 38-35 and at Wake Forest 31-24 last weekend. While they have covered three straight, the line may be more of the result of OSU’s struggles.
Indiana has little-to-no defense as seen in its early Games and if Cardale Jones can’t reach the 30- or even 40-point mark in this Game, it would be a disappointment and JT Barrett would probably make an appearance. At the least, the Hoosiers will have no way of stopping Ezekiel Elliott (455 yards, 5 TDs) out of the backfield. If Jones is halfway decent, Ohio State should cover this Game, as they also boast one of the best defenses in the country.
But to cover, Indiana will need to Scorebecause stopping Ohio State may be out of the question. So far, the Hoosiers have been successful in all phases, whether it’s quarterback Nate Sudfeld (1,143 passing yards, 7 TDs) or running back Jordan Howard (675 yards, 4 TDs), they’ve been moving the ball with ease. Then again, they have also been helped by the lack of quality defenses faced so far. Ohio State will be a much different opponent than they’ve seen.
However, previous results can’t be ignored and Indiana has actually covered in Four straight Games in this matchup, with three of those being on the road. Even with Zander Diamont at quarterback last year, they stilled dropped 27 points behind Tevin Coleman’s 228 yards and three touchdowns. Coleman is gone, but Sudfeld is a much better quarterback than Diamont.
Indiana always seems to be a tricky test for this Ohio State team, but entering Big Ten play, there is always the chance the Buckeyes turn it up another notch. The Hoosiers haven’t held OSU to fewer than 42 points in three straight years and they’ll likely need to in this Game to have a chance to cover. That seems like a big ask, but Indiana does play up in this matchup so that can’t be taken lightly.
Our Pick – Not much interest in this one. Ohio State should Scorebuckets of points here. The question will be, can Indiana find the endzone as they have thus far this season against much weaker opposition? We see this one right around the number for both the side and total. Somewhere around 42-21 with the Buckeyes on top. So, we pass.