The No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes will open up the 2017 campaign with an early road test. The Buckeyes have to travel to Bloomington to take on the Indiana Hoosiers. Kickoff is set for 8:00 EST on Thursday, August 31st at Memorial Stadium. The game will be televised on ESPN.

It’s been a lopsided series to say the least. Ohio State has won 22 straight over the Hoosiers. Last year they defeated Indiana 38-17 at home, but it was a struggle at times for the Buckeyes. Ohio State got a gift TD in the final seconds of the first half, right after Indiana cut the deficit to 10-17. The Hoosiers again got it to 7 with an early TD in the 3rd quarter, but wouldn’t score again.

Indiana easily covered as a 28-point dog and have now cashed in at the betting window 6 straight times in the series. That include a couple of near upsets in their last two at home. Hoosiers lost 49-52 as a 19-pt dog in 2012 and 27-34 as a 21-pt dog in 2015.

Taking a look at our Week 1 lines, the Buckeyes are currently a 20.5-point road favorite with the total set at 51 points.

Ohio State vs Indiana Vegas Betting Preview & Game Line

Ohio State went 11-2 last year and will be playing with a chip on their shoulder. That’s because of they way the season ended. Despite not winning their own division in the Big Ten, the Buckeyes still got invited to the 4-team playoff. They didn’t make the committee look good, as they shockingly lost 31-0 to Clemson as a 2-point favorite.

The Buckeyes certainly looked poised to make up for that performance in 2017. They return 15 starters, including senior signal caller J.T. Barrett. Ohio State first order of business will be winning the B10 title for the first time in 3 years. Buckeyes have gone a ridiculous 61-6 in the first 5 seasons under head coach Urban Meyer with a 40-3 record in league play.

The Hoosiers come in off a 6-7 campaign, falling to Utah 24-26 in their bowl game. Despite taking Indiana to back-to-back bowl games, head coach Kevin Wilson was fired. Note that they had been to just one bowl game since 1993 prior to Wilson taking over.

The Hoosiers replaced Wilson with defensive coordinator Tom Allen, who has 15 starters back from last year. That includes 9 on a defense that made huge strides last year. Indians gave up just 27.2 ppg on 380 ypg after allowing 37.6 ppg and 509 ypg in 2015.

NCAA Football Free ATS Betting Selection: Ohio State -20.5

Given the Buckeyes struggles of late in the series, you might be thinking about taking the points. I can’t blame you, but I believe the value is with Ohio State.

Click here for more free expert NCAAF picks from our handicappers on staff.

Meyer and his players have been chomping at the bit to get back on the field after that showing against Clemson. Getting shutout on that stage leaves a sick feeling in your stomach. I believe the Buckeyes are going to come out looking to make a statement against what a lot of people think is going to be a solid defense.

That’s not the only motivation here. It just so happens that Ohio State’s new offensive coordinator is Kevin Wilson. Note that Wilson’s departure from Indiana wasn’t a pleasant exit. Not only is he going to want to lay it on his old team, but he’s going to know exactly how to attack Indiana’s defense.

Keep in mind that it was under Wilson’s control that the Hoosiers gave Ohio State fits. Indiana isn’t expected to play with the same uptempo spread attack. That’s a problem, as most of the players were recruited by Wilson for that scheme. I think this is one of those instances where a team like Indiana has a whole bunch of starters returning, but will actually take a step back in terms of their play on the field.

It’s worth mentioning that Ohio State has covered 3 straight and 4 of 5 in season openers under Meyer. The Buckeyes are also 42-20-1 ATS in their last 63 road games. That includes a 14-4 ATS record in their last 18 road games in the first month of the season.