Lock Northern Illinois +34.5 as the Savvy College Football Pick vs. (1) Ohio State

David Lawrence

Tuesday, September 15, 2015 12:51 PM GMT

Tuesday, Sep. 15, 2015 12:51 PM GMT

The Ohio State Buckeyes host Northern Illinois Huskies this weekend, with the defending champions trying to clean up their offense & develop some momentum heading toward the Big Ten betting season.

Momentum
Northern Illinois handled Murray State rather easily, scoring 57 points. The Huskies moved to 2-0 after holding off UNLV in week one. Murray State, though, represents a downgrade in terms of quality of opponent from UNLV, and UNLV is not very good in its own right. Therefore, Northern Illinois has not really done anything to merit much of any critical praise this season. The Huskies are frankly in a position where they can’t realistically focus on winning this game. They need to gain a lot of information from this game and grow as a team so that when Mid-American Conference play arrives, they’ll be ready to move through that league, which is how they can contend for a Group of Five bowl berth.

Ohio State is a team which has half of its problems fully under control right now. The Buckeyes are right where they should be on defense after shutting out Hawaii, 38-0. Ohio State’s defense was such a source of worry last season. The Buckeyes got shredded by Indiana running back Tevin Coleman and some other very capable ballcarrierrs. This season, the Buckeyes are a lot more disciplined and have exhibited a better ability to provide containment on the edges. If these defensive instincts endure, the Buckeyes should be in very good shape. If the offense, though, which struggled against Hawaii, can finally rev up its engines, that should be what this team needs in order to be a complete team.

 

Line Moves
The College Football Betting Odds were at minus-34.5 points in some places, but 34 in several others. This line is not higher because of what you saw last week against Hawaii. Ohio State’s offense is in a transitional stage, especially when you realize that three players were suspended in week one against Virginia Tech. A lot of sorting out has to occur, and the process of polishing this offense might require a number of weeks, not just one. If Ohio State figures everything out this week, it will cover, but a lot of bettors aren’t so sure that’s going to happen right away.

 

Notable Injuries
Northern Illinois linebacker Rasheen Lemon is out indefinitely due to longstanding legal problems. Running back Keith Harris, Jr. is likely out for the season with a knee injury.

Ohio State wide receiver Noah Brown was lost for the season due to an injury suffered in late August. More recently, running back Mike Weber suffered an injury, but he is probable for this game on Saturday. Both teams are in relatively good shape as far as injuries are concerned.

 

Handicapping The Game
As for this College Football Pick the Buckeyes seem to be a few weeks away on offense. They are in a stage where they won’t want to open up too much of the playbook. They will try to play it safe. Northern Illinois can keep this game under the number.

College Football Pick: Northern Illinois +34.5 at 5Dimes.

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