Ohio State doesn’t get the luxury of looking past any opponent anymore, even a Nebraska team with a 2-6 record. The Buckeyes return from a week off after having to soak in their 29-point loss against Purdue. The oddsmakers still believe in them as they were -21 point home favorites with an over/under of 71 at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
The last two matchups between these teams have not been close. Ohio State won 56-14 on the road last year and then 62-3 the year before that. This one could look a bit different only because OSU’s defense appears to be worse and Nebraska has at least moved the ball offensively. Maybe the best predictor for this Game is that OSU came out firing after losing big to Iowa last year and dominated a solid Michigan State team 48-3. If they come out the same way, it could be another blowout.
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The problem is that Ohio State’s defense hasn’t really stopped anyone and is allowing close to 400 yards per Game. And conveniently for the Cornhuskers, they actually have some firepower with Adrian Martinez at quarterback, who is completing more than eight yards per attempt, but also has some mobility that gives the offense another element. The important thing for Nebraska is that it can find room on the ground as Devine Ozigbo has gone for at least 110 yards in Four of the last five Games and since the Bucks are giving up 150 rushing yards per contest, there’s at least a route to some offensive success.
Of course, the Huskers have one of the worst defenses in the Conference giving up at least 28 points to every Big Ten opponent and that came in a 53-28 win against Minnesota. They haven’t stopped anyone and facing Dwayne Haskins off a bye week could lead to another 50 points for Ohio State. Haskins has been dominant through the air and has thrown for at least 400 yards in the last three Games and has 30 touchdowns for the season to go with a 71.1% completion rate. There’s a chance all of his top receivers (K.J. Hill, Parris Campbell, Terry McLAurin) have a touchdown and some big gains. OSU’s rushing attack hasn’t been great this year between J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber, but that shouldn’t be a problem against a defense that’s allowing 4.5 yards per carry.
Coming off a huge loss, this is a bounce back spot for Ohio State and it could easily reach 50 points. That being the case, Nebraska may have to Score30 if it wants to cover and while Martinez has been good, that’s a hard thing to bet on.
The Cornhuskers are 5-2-1 ATS in their last eight road Games, but 2-6 ATS vs. a team with a winning record. The Buckeyes are 2-6 ATS vs. a team with a losing record and haven’t covered in their last Four overall. The over has hit in the last Four meetings between these schools and Ohio State has covered in all of those.
Our Pick – Ohio State -17.5