The opening week comes to an end with a terrific matchup featuring top-ranked Ohio St. & Virginia Tech, the only team to beat the Buckeyes in 2014. Let's examine some betting props from 5Dimes.
|Ohio State To Score First: -195 (best line at BetOnline)
Virginia Tech To Score First +170 (best line at Bookmaker)
|Score in first 6 minutes: -150 (best line at WagerWeb)
No Score in first 6 minutes: +125 (best line at Bovada)
|1st Half Highest Score: -115 (best line at 5Dimes)
2H + OT Highest Score: +103 (best line at BetDSI)
|All Touchdowns by Offense: -145 (best line at 5Dimes)
Spec. Team or Defense TD +120 (best at Bookmaker)
Heisman Boost Already?
You can't win the Heisman Trophy in Week 1 but certainly a huge game on national television would do nothing to hurt the candidacy of Ohio State quarterbacks J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones -- we still don't know which will start the game -- and running back Ezekiel Elliott. Two years ago, a little-known redshirt freshman at Florida State named Jameis Winston burst onto the scene on Labor Day night against Pittsburgh. Winston was spectacular in his first collegiate start, completing 25 of 27 for 356 yards and four touchdowns in a 41-13 win. That was a springboard to him winning the Heisman and of course FSU won the national championship that season.
But then you can also look to last year. Texas A&M quarterback Kenny Hill had the national spotlight in his season opener at South Carolina and he went all Johnny Manziel (the good college version, not the NFL first-round bust version with Cleveland) on a Top-10 South Carolina team, completing 44-for-60 for 511 yards and three touchdowns. He was immediately a Heisman contender but wasn't even starting for the Aggies by the end of the season and has since transferred to TCU; Hill is sitting out this season. I will look at updated Heisman odds following Week 1 later this week here at SBR.
In Week 2 last season, Virginia Tech pulled off a 35-21 upset in Columbus of the No. 8 Buckeyes. That was only Barrett's second career start and he looked raw, going 9-for-29 for 219 yards with three interceptions. It was easily his worst game of the season. I think he starts on Monday night as well. By the way, at +13.5, Virginia Tech is a bigger underdog at home than it was on the road in 2014.
Let's Talk Props
Ohio State is a -205 favorite to score first in this one with Virginia Tech at +165. In last year's game, Tech scored first, a Shai McKenzie run for 2 yards. That the first score in this game is a touchdown is -285 with not at +225. You can even bet on whether there's any type of score in the first six minutes, with yes at -155 and no at +125.
The Ohio State quarterbacks' completion total is 18, with 'over' a -135 favorite and 'under' at +105. The Hokies were actually a pretty weak defensive team last season, which is rather unusual under highly respected coordinator Bud Foster. They do have, however, one of the nation's top cornerbacks in Kendall Fuller, a preseason All-American. But otherwise that group is full of questions. Brandon Facyson is coming off a leg injury, Desmond Frye is making his first career start at rover, and Chuck Clark has shifted from cornerback to safety. Foster generally stacked the box against OSU last season and left his cornerbacks in single coverage. It worked then. Fuller likely will be matched up with Buckeyes receiver Michael Thomas, another future first-round pick in the NFL Draft. Thomas is given a total of five receptions, with 'under' a -145 favorite. Thomas did have a 53-yard catch for a score vs. Tech last year. The yardage of the longest score in this one is 'over/under 50.5 yards, with both at -115.
The key to the game obviously will be Elliott because if he runs wild, then the Hokies have no shot. He wasn't even the true featured back yet in this game last year, finishing with only eight carries for 32 yards. But he was probably the best player in college football by the end of the season, rushing for 220 yards in the Big Ten Championship Game win over Wisconsin, 230 in the Sugar Bowl semifinal victory over Alabama and 246 in the national title game against Oregon. Foster is no doubt not going to let Elliott beat Virginia Tech. He has a total of 155 rushing yards, with 'under' at -165 and 'over' at +135.
College Football Free Picks: I'm going 'under' on Thomas receptions and Elliott yards. But 'over' on the longest play at 50.5 yards. Tech scores first -- a field goal -- but it won't be in the first six minutes. 'Over' on OSU QB completions. All Odds from 5Dimes.