Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Ohio State Buckeyes Expert Predictions and Betting Odds
Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Ohio State Buckeyes, Saturday September 7, Noon ET
This game has a lot more drama surrounding it than you might expect for a Week 2 nonconference game against a foe outside of the top tier for the Buckeyes. Cincinnati is coming off a solid year and is off to a very good start with their complete dismantling of UCLA to open their season. Ohio State got a comfortable win in their opener, but it was a long way from perfect. And then there is the coaching drama. Luke Fickell was named head coach of Ohio State when Jim Tressel resigned, but after one disappointing season he was cast aside for Urban Meyer. And now he returns to Columbus to face the guy charged with replacing Meyer - Ryan Day. You can be sure that Fickell will want to beat Day just as much as Day will want to be sure he doesn't lose to Fickell. This is an interesting one.
Cincinnati at Ohio State Betting Storylines
Playing against Lane Kiffin and his Florida Atlantic squad, the Buckeyes got off to a great start last weekend. New QB Justin Fields looked great early, and the game felt like it was over almost before it started. But then the Buckeyes seemed to lose interest. Their intensity evaporated. And though FAU never truly threatened to get back into the game, they did make more of a showing than they had any right to. And when FAU, in a 28-point hole, made some adjustments, the Buckeyes didn't counter with adjustments of their own. It's important not to overreact here, of course - there was little incentive for Ohio State to put too many of their tricks on tape for future opponents to see. But even in the absence of different schemes, it was the lack of execution that was a concern. The Buckeyes are still clearly the better team here, but they can't afford to ease up here - and they certainly need to break that habit before conference play begins.
The Bearcats had a lot of success with their pass rush against UCLA. They had six sacks and had QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson running for his life all game. They are up against a much better offensive line here, and Fields is a little more athletic at QB, but Cincinnati is experienced on defense, and Fickell will have a trick or two up his sleeves. There is a good chance that Fields will face some adversity at some point in this one after not having to at all against FAU. The Bearcats have nice wins against Virginia Tech last year and UCLA this year, and in both cases what really stood out was that they don't make a lot of mistakes. They may not be the most athletic team in games - they certainly won't be here - but they know their assignments, and they aren't going to beat themselves. It will be a good test for this Ohio State offense. The better they come out of this one, the more confidence we can have about this team going forward.
Running back J.K. Dobbins is one to watch for Ohio State here. He is the man in the backfield now that Mike Weber is gone, and there are high expectations for him. He was fine against FAU, running for 91 yards, but he was not particularly ferocious or intimidating. He's behind a talented but raw offensive line and against a decent defense. It will be very interesting to see if he can do some real damage here.
Cincinnati at Ohio State Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with Ohio State favored by 17, and it has fallen very slightly to 16.5. Action is pretty much evenly split between the two sides at this point. So, barring a major development, we aren't likely to see a dramatic change in the odds. The total opened at 55.5 and has fallen slightly to 54 in early action.
The Bearcats are 4-1 ATS in their last five games in September but have covered just once in their last five road games against teams with winning home records, and they are 0-4 ATS in their last four road games. The Buckeyes have covered their last four spreads against teams with winning records and four of their last five following a straight up win. The home team has covered the spread the last four times these teams have met. Ohio State has won all eight meetings between the programs.
Cincinnati at Ohio State Predictions and Picks
I really want to pick the Bearcats here, but I just can't do it. They have a lot of things going for them, and they will be fired up under Fickell. But the Buckeyes are just so much more talented, and they are at home. I would need to get more than the 16 or 16.5 points I would get here to take a gamble on the underdog. Ohio State is the safe but not massively inspiring pick here.
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