Ohio State didn’t demolish Northwestern last weekend. Are the second-ranked Buckeyes broken?
Of course not!
Northwestern benefited tremendously from wind and rain in Saturday’s game, which helped even the playing field between the subpar Wildcats and one of the nation’s best teams. Fortunately for the Buckeyes (9-0, 6-0 Big Ten), they came through with a 21-7 victory despite star quarterback C.J. Stroud throwing for only 76 yards in the tough weather conditions.
The wind for Ohio State vs Northwestern 😳
— PFF College (@PFF_College) November 5, 2022
Buckeyes giant favorite again
Perhaps the best sign that Ohio State is just fine is that for Saturday’s home game against Indiana, it’s a 40-point favorite on DraftKings and PointsBet. Those two are among national online sportsbooks with odds on the game, though Ohioans can’t bet legally in the state until a Jan. 1 launch overseen by the Ohio Casino Control Commission. FanDuel lists Ohio State as a 40.5-point favorite, and BetRivers lists Ohio State as a 41-point favorite.
Thankfully for Stroud and the Buckeyes, the weather forecast doesn’t call for rain or gusty winds. It’ll likely be cold at kickoff — near 40 degrees — but that’s much better than blustery conditions.
While the spread is massive, there’s reason to believe Ohio State can cover. Indiana (3-6) has lost six consecutive games, including a 21-point home loss to Michigan and a 31-point home loss to Penn State.
The Hoosiers have the worst scoring defense in the Big Ten, allowing 32.2 points per game. Ohio State leads the conference in scoring with 45.8 points per game. The game could get ugly quickly, as Ohio State’s elite-level offense should take advantage of Indiana’s weak defense.
The total for the game hovers around 58 points at most sportsbooks. Could Ohio State hit that number by itself? The Buckeyes have scored at least 49 points in four Big Ten games this season.
Big games coming
After the Indiana game, Ohio State’s schedule gets harder. The Buckeyes face a competent Maryland team on the road on Nov. 19, and they end the regular season at No. 3 Michigan.
The winner of that rivalry game holds a clear path to the College Football Playoff. The loser still might make the playoffs if the two teams play a competitive game on Nov. 26.
FanDuel lists Ohio State at -700 to make the College Football Playoff. The mobile sportsbook lists Michigan at +135 to qualify for the playoff.
Photo: Adam Cairns/USA TODAY