This Saturday the No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes will travel to Lincoln to take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Kickoff is set for 7:30 EST at Memorial Stadium and will be televised nationally on ABC.

Oddsmakers opened this line up at Ohio State -17 and early action on the Buckeyes has them currently at -17.5. The total opened at 67 and that’s where it sits right now.

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Ohio State vs Nebraska Betting Preview & Vegas Game Odds

Ohio State Buckeyes

Any concerns of Ohio State taking a step back without Urban Meyer on the sidelines have been quieted with the Buckeyes start to the 2019 season. Ohio State is 4-0 and have completely dominated the competition along the way.

This past week there were probably a few people who were checking scores that saw the Buckeyes holding a mere 7-5 lead at the end of the 1st quarter against Miami (OH). Not the margin you would expect to see for a team favored by 38.5-points. Clearly Ohio State was just toying with the competition, as they outscored the RedHawks 42-0 in the 2nd quarter and won the game 76-5.

The previous week the crushed Indiana 51-10 on the road as a mere 17.5-point favorite and the week before that they rolled Cincinnati 42-0 as a 14.5-point favorite. The only game they haven’t covered is the opener against FAU, where they coasted after taking a 28-0 lead midway thru the 1st quarter and only won 45-21 as a 27.5-point favorite.

Nebraska Cornhuskers

Nebraska is a team that a ton of people were really high on this year. They were definitely better than their 4-8 record and they were headed into year two under head coach Scott Frost with a dynamic quarterback returning in sophomore Adrian Martinez.

People thought this team could win the Big Ten, but I don’t that is still the case. Nebraska only won 35-21 as a 35-point home favorite against South Alabama in the opener. They then blew 17-0 halftime lead in a 34-31 overtime loss at Colorado. They bounced back with a convincing win over Northern Illinois, but then had to rally from behind to knock off Illinois 42-38 as a 13-point favorite.

Was that just another sign of the Cornhuskers not being as good as we thought or did they get caught looking ahead to this game against the Buckeyes. We will find out a lot about this team on Saturday.

Matchup History

While these two are not in the same division, this will be the fourth straight year they have faced off against each other. Last year the Buckeyes snuck out a 36-31 win at home as a 17-point favorite. It was the Buckeyes 4th straight win in the series. While they didn’t cover, they are still a solid 4-1 ATS against the Cornhuskers since Nebraska joined the Big Ten.

Free NCAA Football Pick Against the Spread: Nebraska +17.5

My early lean here would be to grab the points with the Cornhuskers at home. I just think that we are seeing an inflated number here with the Buckeyes coming off 3 straight covers that really weren’t close. They covered the spread by 27.5 against Cincinnati, by 23.5 against Indiana and by 32.5 against Miami (OH).

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It’s not like we haven’t seen the Buckeyes slip up in a similar spot the past two years. In 2017 they went on the road to face Iowa as a 18-point favorite and lost outright 55-24. Last year they were a 12-point favorite at Purdue and lost 49-20.

Even though Nebraska hasn’t looked as good as anticipated, there’s no question that the atmosphere for this game is going to be electric. This is a potential program defining game for Scott Frost.

With that said, I 100% believe the sloppy play and near upset at Illinois last week was a direct result of this game being on deck. One thing to note is that while the game was decided by just a few points, Nebraska was hands down the better team. The Cornhuskers outgained the Fighting Illini 673 to 299 (+374) with a 32-14 edge in first downs.

I know they haven’t seen anything like the talent that the Buckeyes have on offense, but I think it’s worth noting how good the Nebraska defense has been against the run. Cornhuskers are only giving up 117 yards/game and a mere 3.1 yards/carry. Considering Ohio State is averaging 262 rushing yards/game, if they can slow down the ground game I think they got a chance.

Buckeyes are just 2-10 ATS going back to 1992 after 4 straight games where they put up 450 or more total yards. Nebraska is also 16-4 ATS since 1992 after scoring and allowing 30 or more points in their previous game.

Home underdogs who have scored 42 or more in 2 straight games are 59-26 (69%) ATS since 1992. Also home dogs of 14.5 or more off 2 straight wins with a winning percentage of 60% to 80% are 29-7 (81%) ATS when playing a team with a winning record. Give me Nebraska!