This Saturday the No. 5 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes (1-0) will play host to the Cincinnati Bearcats (1-0). Kickoff for this Week 2 showdown is set for 12:00 EST at Ohio Stadium in Columbus and will be televised nationally on ABC.
Oddsmakers opened up this line at Ohio State -17, but early money on the Bearcats are driving the number the other way. Most books are at Ohio State -16.5, though one already has the Buckeyes down to -15.5. The total opened at 55 and climbed up as high as 56.5 at some places.
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Vegas Game Odds & Betting Preview: Ohio State vs Cincinnati
The Bearcats got the 2019 season started the same way that they opened up 2018, with a win over UCLA. Cincinnati defeated the Bearcats 24-14, covering as a slim 2.5-point favorite. The game stayed well UNDER the total of 55.5.
While the Bearcats only won the game by 10-points, they were clearly the better team. Cincinnati had 23 first downs to the Bruins 12 and a 417-218 edge in total yards. The Bearcats really shot themselves in the foot. They fumbled, threw an interception and turned it over on downs in UCLA territory.
Sophomore quarterback Desmond Ridder had a strong first start of 2019, throwing for 242 yards and 2 scores, while also adding 34 yards on the ground. However, it was the defense that really shined in the opener. Many thought UCLA would be a much improved offense in year two under Chip Kelly and they completely shut them down. UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson was 8 for 26 (30.8%) for 156 yards and the Bruins had just 62 rushing yards and 36 attempts.
Ohio State Buckeyes
The Buckeyes came away with a comfortable 45-21 win at home over FAU, but failed to cover as a 28-point favorite. The game just barely went OVER the posted total of 65.5.
Ohio State backers have to be wondering what happened to the offense. The Buckeyes had a 28-0 lead with 6:50 to play in the 1st quarter. They didn’t score again until late in the 3rd quarter and scored just 17 the rest of the way.
All eyes were on Georgia transfer quarterback Justin Fields and he didn’t disappoint. Fields was 18 of 25 passing for 234 yards and 4 scores, while also rushing for 61 yards and a touchdown. Ohio State’s offense was very balanced, as they threw for 232 and rushed for 327.
The defense gave up a few big plays late, but for the most part were dominant. FAU couldn’t get anything going on the ground. The Owls had 22 rushing yards on 33 attempts (less than 1 yard/carry).
While these are two storied programs from the state of Ohio, they play each other pretty sparingly. This will be the first meeting since 2014 and only the 5th time they have played this century. Ohio State has won 11 straight in the series and are 14-2 all-time versus Cincinnati. The Buckeyes won 50-28 as a 17-point home favorite back in 2014.
Free NCAA Football Predictions & Betting Free Pick: UNDER 56.5
I would be tempted to take the points with Cincinnati in this one, but my early lean would have to be on the UNDER at 56.5. I just think we have two exceptional defensive teams facing off.
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I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t think the Bearcats would be able to do what they did defensively to UCLA. Cincinnati completely shut down Chip Kelly’s uptempo attack.
I think a lot of people will chalk up Ohio State’s offense going cold to the team just not trying as much once they had a 28-0 lead less than 10 minutes into the game. I just don’t think that’s a legit explanation. Keep in mind the Buckeyes had great field position on 3 of the 4 scoring drives in the 1st quarter, as they had to go fewer than 60 yards on 3 of them.
Cincinnati is drastically better on the defensive side of the ball than FAU and there’s little doubt the Bearcats’ defenders are going to play their hearts out for their head coach Luke Fickell, who was the DC at Ohio State from 2012-16 and was the interim head coach for Ohio State in 2011.
Enough about Cincinnati’s defense, I couldn’t have been more impressed with the Ohio State defense in Week 1. After not playing anywhere close to their potential on that side of the ball in 2018, the Buckeyes looked elite on that side of the ball. They should with 9 starters back and arguably the best defensive player in the country in junior defensive end Chase Young.
I think that unit is playing with a chip on their shoulder in 2019 and while I like the talent that Cincinnati has on offense, I think they are going to have a hard time moving the ball in this one. Keep in mind that the Bearcats lost 3 starters on the offensive line and that Ohio State front 7 is one of the best in the country. Give me the UNDER 56.5!