Our very own sports handicapping professional provides with a betting preview article, pertaining to the ESPN nationally televised game between Ohio State and Virginia Tech on Labor Day.
“You Can’t Always Do What You Want”
I’m going to be touching upon two things in this writing assignment. The first of those two issues, regards extending betting advice on a college football game that’s a few days shy of two months away. The second of those pertains to my actual point-spread college football pick of leaning toward a double digit road favorite. Having said all of that, I’ll attack this with my usual passion and zest.
Defending Champs open on the Road
The Ohio State Buckeyes begin defense of their national championship season on the road versus Virginia Tech on Monday 9/7 at 8:00 PM ET. According to the early college football lines posted at BetOnline.com, Ohio State is a 14.5 point favorite, and the posted total is 54.0. The game will be nationally televised by ESPN.
Ohio State went 14-1 a season ago on their way to winning the national championship. However, their only loss came against you guessed it, Virginia Tech. That defeat occurred during their second game of the season, and even more surprising happened in Columbus. The Hokies were able to spring a 35-21 upset as a 10.0 point underdog. Ironically that game was played on 9/6/2014 which is almost an exact year to the day of this season’s scheduled matchup.
After running various queries on my college football 4D handicapping software, it was apparent that this situation was a rare one. College football road favorites playing with revenge in their season opener, and won 8 or more games in the previous year, resulted in that exact scenario transpiring only 18 times since 1980. The road favorite went 13-5 ATS in those contests, and if they were a favorite of 5.0 or more, the betting angle improved to 10-2 ATS.
The Urban Meyer Effect
There’s unquestionably little doubt about the impact that Urban Meyer has had on the Ohio State football program. Since taking over as head coach prior to the start of the 2012 season, Ohio State has gone a remarkable 38-3, and that includes a perfect 13-0 in true road games. Last season’s national championship was the third of Meyer’s head coaching career, and the other two came while in charge of the Florida Gators program.
Legendary Head Coach on the Hot Seat
Long time Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer has had a magnificent career. However, he’s came under fire in recent seasons. Since the start of the 2012 campaign, Virginia Tech has gone a very mediocre 19-13 versus FBS opponents. What’s even more alarming is their 3-6 record during their last nine games played in Blacksburg. Rubbing a bit more salt into the wound, 2 of those 3 wins came against William and Mary and Western Michigan. It wasn’t too long ago when visitors coming away with a win at Blacksburg, seemed to be an insurmountable task.
Buckeyes Offense loaded for Bear
Entering last season there were two areas of major concern for the Buckeyes. Their offensive line was very inexperienced, and they had no experience at quarterback following Braxton Miller sustaining a season ending injury during summer camp. Turning the page to 2015, the offensive line returns four starters, and there are three quarterbacks on the roaster with starting experience including Miller. Not to mention, last season’s budding star at running back Ezekiel Elliott also returns. All Elliott did in the final three games of last season was rush for 696 yards, including 200 yards or more in each of those contests, and score 8 touchdowns. Even more remarkable, those three performances came against the likes of Wisconsin, Alabama, and Oregon.
The Virginia Tech defense figures to be very good this season under veteran coordinator Bud Foster. The offense is another story. They’ll need to replace three starters on the offensive line, and that will be a process as the season progresses. The worst case scenario for that unit will be realized, having to face a caliber of defense (Ohio State) like the one they’ll contend with in their season opener. The defense will keep the Hokies in this game for awhile, but the physical Buckeyes offensive line will wear them down, and it will be painfully evident after halftime. I’m going to have a small lean at this juncture on the road favorite.
College Football Pick: Ohio State -14.5 over Virginia Tech at BetOnline