The Ohio State Buckeyes host the Florida Atlantic University Owls in Week 1 action from Columbus, Ohio. Kickoff is set for 12:00 PM EST on Saturday, August 31st at Ohio Stadium and the game will be televised nationally on FOX.
Taking a look at the Week 1 college football odds, Ohio State opened as a massive 26.5-point home favorite at the beginning of the week. That number has jumped even higher after early betting, as the Buckeyes are currently listed at -27.5. The total for the game is sitting at 63.5 points.
Vegas Betting Preview & Game Odds: Ohio State vs Florida Atlantic
FAU couldn’t repeat their impressive 11-win season that occurred in 2017 last year, as they finished the season with a disappointing 5-7 record. The Owls also struggled in conference play, going just 3-5 in Conference USA action. Head coach Lane Kiffin should still have some time to turn the program around, as Florida Atlantic has still won more games over his two year tenure than they did over the previous four seasons. QB Chris Robison will start at quarterback for an offense that averaged 31.1 points on 478.8 total yards per game in 2018. He should receive plenty of help from TE Harrison Bryant, as the skilled pass-catcher has racked up 1,000 receiving yards and nine touchdowns since 2017.
Things didn’t go all that well for the Owls on defense last season, as Florida Atlantic gave up an alarming average of 31.8 points on 424.4 total yards of offense per game. FAU was well below average defending against both the pass and the run, as they ranked outside of the top 80 teams in both categories nationwide.
Ohio State had a pretty impressive season in 2018, going 13-1 overall en route to another Big Ten East division title. The Buckeyes were 8-1 in conference action and ended up winning the Big East title game after they crushed Northwestern 45-24. However, their season ended on a disappointing note after they failed to qualify for the College Football Playoff as Clemson, Georgia, Alabama, and Oklahoma all advanced. Ohio State did get to play in the Rose Bowl though, which was certainly a decent consolation prize that they took full advantage of. Despite giving up 20 unanswered points in the 4th quarter, the Buckeyes managed to edge out Washington 28-23 to emerge victorious. It will be very interesting to see how things take shape for Ohio State over the first few weeks of the new season, as new starting quarterback Justin Fields will have a fantastic opportunity to showcase his skills after transferring from Georgia. RB J.K. Dobbins should have another monster year on the ground after rushing for more than 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns. As a whole, the offense averaged a ridiculous 42.4 points per game on 535.6 total yards.
The Buckeyes weren’t quite as impressive on the other side of the ball last year, as they gave up an average of 25.2 points on over 400 total yards per game. Ohio State should continue to improve, however, as they will welcome back nine defensive starters including their top five tacklers.
NCAA Football Betting Predictions & Free Pick: Ohio State -27.5
I am fulling expecting Ohio State to come out firing on all cylinders in this matchup, especially since they have a new head coach after Urban Meyer stepped down after the Rose Bowl. Justin Fields has a ton of hype surrounding him despite the fact that he has yet to make a single appearance in a Buckeye uniform. While Fields should have a fine debut, it will be tough to live up to Dwayne Haskins and his 4,800 passing yards / 50 touchdown season in 2018. However, FAU was so bad defensively in 2018 that Fields could have a first game to remember in front of a rowdy home crowd.
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With the amount of faith I had in the FAU offense under Lane Kiffin a few season ago, I may have reconsidered laying this many points in Week 1, especially since this Ohio State team is starting the year with a brand new starting quarterback AND coaching staff. However, the offense for the Owls took a massive step back in 2018, as Chris Robison ended up throwing the same number of interceptions and touchdowns (12). Ultimately, Florida Atlantic is badly outclassed on the road against a team that went 13-1 overall last season and had a chance to make the College Football Playoff – I’ll take the Buckeyes to win big at home!