Sports books and College Football Odds makers send Ohio State on the road as 13 point favorite as they face Virginia Tech in Week 1. True betting value lies with the number one team in the country.
Ohio State Buckeyes
After taking home the trophy as the no. 4 seed in the first ever playoff system, the Buckeyes are undoubtedly in the hunt in 2015 for a repeat. They return a plethora of talent on both the offensive and defensive side of the football and with head coach Urban Meyer leading the way, the scarlet and gray are in the spotlight to stay.
The ground game should pick up right where it left off with four returning starters to the offensive line: tackle Taylor Decker, guards Billy Price and Pat Elfein and center Jacoby Boren providing solid protection for the quarterback and big holes for the running game.
Senior running back Ezekiel Elliott can do it all after finishing with more than 1,800 yards and 18 TDs and proved he could run against elite defensives like Alabama, Wisconsin and Oregon (696 yards and 9 TDs). He proved a duel threat with 28 catches for 220 yards.
The aerial attack will start with the quarterback position and what a great problem that is with Braxton Miller, Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett all getting playing time last season. Though OSU only averaged 248 yards in the air, it was about their efficiency of 9.06 yards per attempt and 42 TDs both ranking them in the top-10 nationally.
Defensively the Buckeyes were stout all around. DE Joey Bosa and DT Adolphus Washington spent a lot of time in the opponent’s backfield with a combined 18.5 sacks and 31.5 TFL. The linebackers will be stout lead by MLB Raekwon McMillan and OLD Joshua Perry. Perry is an an established starter and McMillan was one of OSU’s biggest recruits.
Safety Vonn Bell (6 INTs and 92 tackles) leads a polished and tested secondary that can flat shut down the passing game. Helping Bell with that task will be fellow safety Tyvis Powell (4 picks and 76 tackles) and corner Eli Apple (53 tackles, 10 pass break-ups and a forced fumble).
Their first test; a trip to Blacksburg, VA to take on Frank Beamer’s VA Tech Hokies lead by senior quarterback Michael Brewer.
Despite a 7-6 finish, the Hokies have always had the reputation of playing opponents tough on their home turf. Brewer can certainly improve his passing numbers (2,692 yds, 18 TDs, 15 picks) from last year and will want to throw to playmakers Isaiah Ford and Cam Phillips as often as possible.
The defensive line only allowed 15 TDs and less than four yards per play and even better at applying pressure with 3.69 sacks and 8.4 tackles for loss, both ranking 3rd in the nation. DE Ken Ekanem and Dadi Lhomme Nicolas were the main faces of that group coming for 18.5 sacks and 34 stops behind the line.
The secondary will be tested early and often in 2015 mainly because they were so susceptible to the big passing plays. Bad news is FS Detrick Bonner is gone, but corners Kendall Fuller and Chuck Clark have the experience and wherewithal to correct year-old mistakes.
OSU vs. VA Tech Betting Verdict
College football handicappers agree that everything on paper favors the Buckeyes. OSU has played well, in the past, against the spread (10-5) and even better on the over/under having won 12 of their last 15 games. VA Tech, on the other hand, is on the opposite end against the spread (6-7) and (7-6) straight up. This match-up doesn’t do them any favors.
The Buckeyes are favored by two touchdowns and that speaks volumes to this lopsided affair. More importantly, OSU has a bit of a sour taste in their mouths after a loss last year to the Hokies on their home turf and will work to exact their revenge.
College Football Final Score Prediction: OSU 44, VA Tech 21