What: California Golden Bears vs #12 Ohio State Buckeyes NCAA Football
When: 12:00pm EST. Saturday. September 15, 2012
Where: Ohio Stadium. Columbus, OH
Can the Cal Bears (1-1, 0-2 ATS) hang in the big leagues with Ohio State (2-0, 1-1 ATS) after giving up huge numbers to unranked opponents? It’s a situation college football bettors, particularly those with an eye for over/under wagers will be watching closely.
The California Golden Bears have underwhelmed fans and bettors this season but are always capable of stepping up their game in big-time situations. It’s a tricky game to handicap, so be sure and check out our free point spread, money line and over/under picks at the end of this post.
Cal vs. Ohio State Betting Lines: Point Spread, Money Line & Over/Under
The Ohio St. Buckeyes are looking to add a name brand team to go with their current collection of generic wins. Under new head coach Urban Meyers they’ve had no problem knocking off smaller conference teams like UCF, but Cal is their first opponent from a major conference.
Ohio State hung 31 points on the UCF Knights last week in a solid effort that failed to cover the 15 point line. The Bears have struggled to cover point spreads this season and have shown a tendency to give up lots of points. We’ll take a look at the over/under below.
California Golden Bears
Cal has not exactly come barreling out of the gates this season, dropping their opener 31-24 to the Nevada Wolfpack (1-1, 1-0-1 ATS). They followed up with a big 50-31 win over Southern Utah, but that’s not much of an accomplishment.
The problem with the Golden Bears isn’t QB Zach Maynard (34-53, 474 yds, 3 TDs, 1 INT). He’s turned in a couple of solid, but not spectacular performances.
What’s troublesome is a Cal defense that’s given up 62 points in two games to teams that are nowhere near as good as Ohio State. Southern Utah was able to pass for almost 300 yards last week, and the Wolfpack put up a whopping 450 yards of offense (230 passing, 220 rushing). Considering the difference in quality of these teams, what will the Ohio St. Buckeyes be able to do?
A repeat performance of their first two games will spell major trouble for California.
Ohio State Buckeyes
Urban Meyer is doing a great job of heading off a post-scandal/sanctions slump for the Buckeyes. Though they’ve outscored their opponents 87-26 this season, the former Florida coach is expecting bigger and better performances from his team.
He’s particularly disappointed with the team’s sloppy performance against the underrated Knights. Though the win was easy, three turnovers and 80 yards in penalties are definitely a cause for alarm.
Sophomore QB Braxton Miller (32-48, 362 yds, 3 TDs, 1 INT) is a great passer, but he’s an even better runner. He’s already carried the ball 44 times for 302 yards and 4 rushing TDs. That type of athleticism gives Ohio State a lot of flexibility on offense, and keeps defenses guessing.
The Buckeyes are stacked with talent and very motivated this year. They’re a real threat to the Bears and their biggest challenges are going to overcoming sloppy, cocky play.
California vs. Ohio St. Betting Predictions
The betting public jumped Ohio State early and drove this point spread from -13 to -17 by Tuesday. It’s held steady since then, but could rise again by game time.
Cal @ Ohio State Point Spread
The Ohio State Buckeyes are -17 favorites and that’s about as high as we’re willing to go. We expect Ohio State to play a much tighter game this week and dominate the pourous Cal defense. I’m comfortable recommending Ohio State at the current point spread, but not any higher. At 17.5 or higher, I’d take Cal and the points.
Right now, I’m taking the Ohio State point spread of -16.5 (-115) at BetOnline.com.
If you prefer the Cal point spread, you can get them at +16.5 (-105) at BetOnline or +17 (-110) at Bovada.
Cal vs Ohio State Money Line
Ohio State is the clear favorite in this one. They’re playing at home and ready to be tested a bit. The question is, is there value at -720 on the money line? I think Ohio State wins this game 80-85% of the time, so based on that we have some value. However, I rarely recommend money lines this big because it opens us up to too much risk. If you have deep pockets, then you might like the Ohio St. money line. If you’re working with a limited roll, then you should probably stay away from the ML.
Ohio State vs California Over/Under
Cal’s defense has been rather weak defense and both teams have shown an ability to put up big numbers. At the time this post is being written, the Cal/Ohio State over/under is 54.5 (-110) at BetOnline, and 55 (-110) at Bovada.
I like the over, so I’m taking o54.5 (-110) at BetOnline.com.
If you prefer the under, take u55 (-110) at Bovada and get the free 1/2 point.
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