Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Date and Time: Saturday, September 30, 2017, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: High Point Solutions Stadium, Piscataway, NJ
Opening College Football Odds: Ohio State -29
Ohio State vs. Rutgers TV Coverage: Big Ten Network
The Buckeyes are in the part of their schedule where they shouldn’t have any problems whatsoever. After getting beaten by Oklahoma, Ohio State had to play Army and UNLV, both easy victories, and now it starts off its Big Ten campaign with Rutgers, Maryland and Nebraska before the showdown against Penn State on October 28.
Urban Meyer’s team actually didn’t cover against UNLV last week in a 54-21 triumph, and it wasn’t even really all that close either. The Buckeyes were 40.5-point favorites and would have needed two more scores to cover the spread. That said, the third-string offense was on the field in the fourth quarter, and J.T. Barrett didn’t even make it to halftime before getting sat down for the rest of the night. The Bucks put 44 points on the board in the first half, and Barrett threw five touchdowns to five different receivers before his day was said and done with.
Things won’t always be that easy for Barrett, but he was part of a day for Ohio State in which it threw for 474 yards as a team and had seven passing touchdowns.
We’re a little puzzled by what Rutgers is trying to accomplish at the moment offensively. The team used freshman Johnathan Lewis a ton against Morgan State a couple weeks ago, and he earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors as a result. Last week against Nebraska, Lewis was on the field for a total of just two snaps while Kyle Bolin slumped to just 126 passing yards with two picks and an average of 4.3 yards per pass attempt.
The Scarlet Knights’ defense has hung in there at times this year, including when the unit got a pick six against the Cornhuskers to make that a surprising game. That said, Jerry Kill’s offense has been all over the place, averaging just 282.3 yards per game against FBS competition, and Bolin has done nothing to help out under center. It’s time to turn the ball over to Lewis and see what he can bring to the table.
Betting Trends of Note
Ohio State might be just 1-3 ATS this season, but its one cover came on the road against Indiana in Week 1. The Buckeyes went just 2-3 ATS on the road last season, but historically, Meyer is a fantastic coach to back on the road in these squash matches. Go back to 2015 when the team blew out Rutgers 49-7 here at High Point Solutions Stadium or a couple weeks later when the Bucks destroyed Illinois 28-3. Road games at places like Virginia Tech and Oklahoma have been no problem either.
We’ve already mentioned all of the major struggles that Rutgers has had. The team had lost 11 straight games before beating Morgan State, and that win should hardly count. The Scarlet Knights also only have two wins in their history in the Big Ten at home, and both of those were back in their first season in the conference.
Ohio State vs. Rutgers Free Picks
Last week, we suggested that Ohio State wasn’t really going to have the desire to cover a spread like the one it was up against versus UNLV. This week, all of the college football sportsbooks have put it in the same sort of spot by asking it to give 29-points at Rutgers.
For all their flaws, the Scarlet Knights have at least kept games competitive this year. Sure, this is going to be their most lopsided defeat of the season, likely by a large margin. But Rutgers is a capable defensive team that can keep Ohio State in the 30s. If that’s how this plays out, this game is sure to be covered.
College Football ATS Pick: Rutgers +29 at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Ohio State 31, Rutgers 16