Ohio State Buckeyes To Handle Bowling Green, But Can The Falcons Cover ATS?

Jay Pryce

Thursday, September 1, 2016 4:14 PM UTC

Thursday, Sep. 1, 2016 4:14 PM UTC

Urban Meyer leads a young Ohio State team against his former employer Bowling Green at the Shoe on Saturday. The Falcons have covered the spread in the last four matchups. Can they do it again?

Bowling Green Falcons
The Falcons recent success has turned the school into a coaching carousel. Former head coach Dave Clawson, who reinvigorated the program, jumped ship to Wake Forest in 2013 after winning the Mid-American Conference (MAC) championship. It was déjà-vu last season with Dino Barbers departing to Syracuse to coach the Orange after leading the team to a 34-14 victory over Northern Illinois to claim another MAC title.

Mike Jinks, a long-time fixture in the Texas high school ranks, comes over as the new man in charge; the Falcons third coach in five seasons. He last served as assistant and running backs coach under Kliff Kingsbury at Texas Tech.

Jinks is the only head coach of 29 new FBS appointees this year not to hold a job as a collegiate coordinator in his career. Expect him to continue the Falcons air-raid offense, though. Both Texas Tech and the Falcons used the scheme last season, each ranking in the top five in points scored in the FBS (TTU, 43.9; BGU, 42.2).

Bowling Green has just 10 returning starters, four of them on the offensive line. Senior QB James Knapke will take the snaps in place of record-setting Matt Johnson who graduated. Knapke won eight games under center in 2014 in place of the injured Johnson. He may have trouble finding outlets for production. Gone are four of last year’s five wide receivers, and running back Travis Greene.

Defensively, the Falcons were quite porous in 2015, forced to be on the field long stretches covering for a quick-pace offense. Their 54 percent opponent time of possession ranked 105th nationally. Since 2013, the unit has allowed 39.6 points on 527.4 total yards per game in eight contests against Power 5 programs.

Dating back to 1992, the Falcons and Buckeyes have met up four times. Bowling Green covered the spread in each, by a touchdown average.


Shop & Compare Live Odds For Bowling Green vs Ohio State


Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State lost 12 players to the NFL Draft, returning only six starters on each side of the ball. Head coach Urban Meyer fields the youngest team in FBS, but the depth chart is loaded with four- and five-star recruits.

Quarterback inconsistency plagued the offense last season, particularly early in the year when the Buckeyes failed to hit their projected team total in four of its first five games by an average 12 points. J.T. Barrett is firmly implanted as the No. 1 this season, and playing behind an O-line that fields the most experience on the team. The offense should hit the ground running.

Ohio State is 25-0 SU, 11-14 ATS in its last 25 matchups versus MAC teams, winning by an average margin of 26.8 points. The far superior and oversized defense allows just 10.6 points per game, yielding more than 20 (21, 22) just twice. In the last 35 years, the Buckeyes are 123-1 SU (65-56-3 ATS) when favored by 20 points or more across NCAAF odds board, so don’t throw away money on some huge moneyline upset bid.


Final Analysis
Expect Meyer to pull back on the reigns after halftime, not to embarrass his former employer (2001-02) and first school to give him a stint as collegiate head coach. Meyer remarked to reporters that his biggest concern headed into the meeting is his secondary and linebackers reacting and tackling on quick screens. Anticipating a fast-paced game, the Falcons may be able to put up a few points against a unit working itself into game shape, and a garbage touchdown late may be just enough to cover the spread. Bowling Green +28.5 is the play.


Free NCAAF Picks: Bowling Green +28.5
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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