The #4 overall Ohio State Buckeyes (6-0) travel to Evanston, Illinois on Friday for a BIG 10 battle against the Northwestern Wildcats (1-4). Kickoff is set for 8:30 PM EST on October 18th at Ryan Field and the game will be televised on FS1.
Taking a look at the Week 8 college football odds, Ohio State opened as a massive 27.5-point road favorite earlier this week. That spread has increased by half a point after early betting, as the Buckeyes are currently listed at -28. The total for the game is sitting at 49.5 points.
Vegas Betting Preview & Game Odds: Northwestern vs Ohio State
Ohio State improved to 6-0 overall their last time out, crushing Michigan State 34-10 at home to stay perfect on the season. The Buckeyes held a 27-10 lead at the half and never looked back, completely shutting down the Spartans offense over the final two quarters of the game. QB Justin Fields went 17/25 for 206 yards and two touchdowns through the air while RB J.K. Dobbins racked up 172 rushing yards and a touchdown on a game-high 24 carries. Binjimen Victor also found the end zone on one of his three receptions for 79 yards. As a whole, Ohio State generated just under 550 total yards of offense and scored four touchdowns in their double-digit victory.
The Buckeyes also had a very strong game on the other side of the ball against Michigan State, giving up well under 300 total yards of offense and just one touchdown. Ohio State was especially strong defending against the run, holding the Spartans to 69 net rushing yards on the ground.
Northwestern lost their third consecutive game their last time out, falling 13-10 on the road against Nebraska to drop to 1-4 on the season overall. The Wildcats gave up seven unanswered points in the first quarter and never recovered, scoring ten points the rest of the way but still coming up just short on the scoreboard. QB Aidan Smith went 19/32 for 136 passing yards and got picked off once while also adding 64 rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground. WR Riley Lees led the way for the receiving corps but only managed to catch seven passes for 48 yards. Overall, Northwestern gained 293 total yards of offense and found the end zone just once against a tough Cornhuskers defense.
The Wildcats were pretty solid defensively against Nebraska, giving up just over 300 total yards of offense and only one touchdown. Northwestern really did a great job shutting down the Cornhuskers through the air, allowing 186 yards and no passing touchdowns.
NCAA Football Betting Predictions & Free Pick: Ohio State -28
While I certainly think that the OVER on 49.5 total points also offers pretty decent value, I’m just not sure that Northwestern will be able to put up more than 14-17 points in this matchup. Of course, there is a good chance that the Buckeyes score 40+ points on their own despite having to play on the road here in Week 8, as they have scored at least 42 points in five out of their first six games. Still, I think the optimal play here is to lay the four touchdowns and roll with the chalky road favorite. There is no doubt that the Buckeyes should be able to dominate on both sides of the ball, especially on offense.
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Ohio State has now won six straight games by at least 24 points, while the Wildcats have not recorded a win since the middle of September. Northwestern has also scored just 35 points combined over their last three outings overall – an average of less than 12 points per game. The Buckeyes are a very solid 5-1 against the spread since Week 1 and have also dominated this matchup as of late, going 6-3-1 ATS over their past ten meetings with the Wildcats. Finally, Northwestern is only 2-6-1 against the spread in their last nine home games. This BIG 10 clash should be over well before the fourth quarter, as the Wildcats simply don’t have the personnel on offense to keep pace with the high-flying Buckeyes. I’ll lay the 28 points and side with the road favorites – give me Ohio State to cover !