Inflated spreads seem to be taking a toll on Ohio State, as the Buckeyes are 0-4 against the spread over their last four games and just 4-10 ATS over their last 14 home games.
Ohio State takes on another large number when it hosts Nebraska in a big game in the Big Ten on Saturday night at the Horseshoe in Columbus.
Point spread: The Buckeyes opened as 15.5-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report)
College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 43.0-26.2 Buckeyes (College football picks on every game)
Why the Nebraska Cornhuskers can cover the spread
Nebraska was 7-0 until suffering a 23-17 overtime defeat at Wisconsin last week. The Cornhuskers trailed the Badgers 17-7 through three quarters but rallied to tie the game on a Tommy Armstrong touchdown run and a Drew Brown field goal. But they gave up a score in the top of the overtime period and couldn’t respond.
On the night Nebraska was outgained by Wisconsin, but only by a 337-305 margin. It actually won time of possession, 32 minutes to 28. The Cornhuskers also covered the spread as nine-point dogs.
At 4-1 in conference play, Nebraska still leads the Big Ten West by one game over four teams.
Why the Ohio State Buckeyes can cover the spread
The Buckeyes avoided the upset bid of Northwestern last week, holding on for a 24-20 victory. Ohio State grabbed an early 10-0 lead and allowed the Wildcats to tie the game at 17 late in the third quarter. But it took the lead for good on a Curtis Samuel scoring run early in the fourth and hung on from there.
The Buckeyes secured the victory when they held Northwestern to a field goal after 1st-and-goal, then ran the last 3:31 off the clock.
On the evening, Ohio State outgained Northwestern 431-406, outrushed the Wildcats 208-148 and held the ball for almost 33 minutes. So the Buckeyes have outgained and outrushed nine of their last 10 opponents.
Two weeks ago, Ohio State blew a lead and lost at Penn State 24-21. At 4-1 in conference play, the Buckeyes trail first-place Michigan by a game in the East Division, but they get the Wolverines in Columbus in the season finale Nov. 26.
It’s not a perfect barometer, but performances against common opponents can be useful handicapping tools. In this case, we note that both these teams played Wisconsin into overtime and both teams got outgained by the Badgers by short margins.
Also, as mentioned above, Ohio State is favored by so much so often it’s affecting the Buckeyes’ bottom line. The smart money here at online betting sites takes the points with Nebraska.
Ohio State is 4-10 ATS in its last 14 games at home.
Nebraska is 23-6 SU in its last 29 games after a loss.
The total has gone under in Nebraska’s last seven games against its conference.
All college football betting lines and point spreads data courtesy of Bleacher Report’s official odds partner Odds Shark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line movement updates and Odds Shark YouTube for picks and analysis, or download the free odds tracker app.