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NCAAF Odds and Best Pick – Ohio State Buckeyes at Indiana Hoosiers

Ohio State Buckeyes(0-0) @ Indiana Hoosiers(0-0)

  • Where: Memorial Stadium. Bloomington, IN
  • When: August 31, 2017 8:00 pm EST
  • Spread: Ohio State (-21) at Indiana (+21)
  • Moneyline: Ohio State (-2000) at Indiana (+1175)
  • Over / Under: Over 57.5 (-110) vs Under 57.5 (-110)

MSB usually shies away from touting against-the-spread when we can help it. After all, typically serious cash players prefer the money line. One reason is that a straight-up W/L bet helps a football fan enjoy a scrum like it’s supposed to be enjoyed – instead of cheering for one or the other team to kick an unwise field goal, or (if you’re a Fantasy player) hoping that your favorite QB falls behind so he’ll need to throw more.

For the gambling purist, often nothing but the money line will do. However, in NCAA football (typically in the early-going) point spreads will appear that, just like an ML, pose one definitive game-outcome vs another.

That’s the “tweener” game. CFB includes a lot of point spreads like Auburn (-34) vs Georgia Southern; in those contests, the wager must be placed with an eye on what happens in “mop-up” time. Other Top 25 match-ups are close to pick’em, also making a simple money line bet more appealing. A “tweener” can be defined as a point spread somewhere between 15 and 24 points.

In other words, if it’s a competitive game of any sort, the underdog is likely to cover. If it’s a blow-out, the favorite will almost certainly cover and win for its wagerers.

This Thursday, the Ohio State Buckeyes begin their campaign for another trip to the College Football Playoff. They are matched against the Indiana Hoosiers, a solid if ordinary Big Ten program which bobs its head into the semi-major bowl picture every so often. The point spread is (-21) for the visiting Scarlet and Gray.

Can the Hoosiers can somehow contain Urban Meyer’s mighty Buckeyes, or will a returning J.T. Barrett roll over the home team? In the answer lies a potential payoff…and a fun bet.

Tale of two perspectives

Indiana enjoys a nice home-field advantage, and new HC Tom Allen is calling this “the biggest home opener in the history of Indiana football.” On the other hand, they’ve got hole where the Buckeyes have weapons. Second-year Hoosier QB Richard Lagow threw a dismal 17 interceptions in 2016, and will be facing another talented Buckeye defensive backfield.

Bookies are uncertain about Ohio State’s wide receiver position, reasoning that Meyer has lost most of his starting corps of wide-outs. But a burly, dynamic OL will compensate. Receivers don’t generate a great offense, they only benefit from it and enhance it.

Indiana returns nine of eleven first-stringers on defense. That’s imposing. But there’s a tactical mismatch that we think is going to tell the tale in this one.

Simple math for Ohio State

Click here to bet on the Ohio State Buckeyes (-21) to beat the Indiana Hoosiers by 22 or more points and receive a welcome bonus from Bovada Sportsbook.

Allen must build from the ground up to raise the Hoosiers to another level, and is putting in a 4-2-5 defense. That should work pretty well considering the experience on the ’17 unit, but not against an Urban Meyer offense.

The way to stop the read-options and Veer attacks of Barrett and the Buckeyes is to “float” or “sit” one or both of your defensive ends, confusing his reads. The problem is that if Indiana does that, they’ll only have four guys left in the front seven. If they compensate by firing blitzers out of the secondary (a common theme in the 4-2-5), Barrett has the experience and the smart/tough blocking to pick a defense apart.

Halftime…or right now

The Hoosiers, with a brand new coach, are likely to come out on fire in front of their home crowd, fail to produce game-changing plays while they have the momentum, then begin to wilt in the 3rd quarter. If you are open to an in-play, one or two units on Ohio State could serve well after 30 minutes as the odds adjust. Bettors may panic and believe Indiana has a shot out-right, but that will be a mirage.

Meanwhile, our value ATS bet is Ohio State (-21). Bookies think this is looking like 42-21, we think it will be closer to 53-15 for the Buckeyes.

Kurt BoyerThis article was written by Kurt Boyer

A freelance sportswriter from Missouri, Kurt has covered court, gridiron, rink and ring for 10+ years. He muses about High School football on social media as The Gridiron Geek.

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