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Let’s drill into some of the betting angles for a handful of the most interesting games on the Saturday slate.
Ohio State (-20.5, 66.5) vs. Indiana: A month ago, I did not expect Ohio State and Indiana to be the marquee game of the weekend. And though the point spread would say otherwise, this is unquestionably the weekend’s most meaningful matchup.
Ohio State will be nearly a three-touchdown favorite against a team that is unbeaten and 4-0 against the spread. It is worth noting that Indiana’s four wins have come against teams with a combined record of 3-13. That is not to say the Hoosiers are unworthy of the praise or a top-10 ranking. But they have not faced an opponent with the speed and athleticism of Ohio State (very few have, and this is hard to simulate).
Though Justin Fields has more touchdowns than incompletions, the Buckeyes’ defense hasn’t exactly been lights out. The total has crept up, and I can see why.
Oklahoma (-7, 58.5) vs. Oklahoma State: Let’s talk about Bedlam. It’s one of the best rivalry names in all of sports, but the results have not given off rivalry vibes. The Sooners are 89-18-7 in this series. More recently, the Pokes have won this game just twice since 2003. Nine of those Oklahoma victories were decided by double digits.
Though this matchup regularly produces a ton of points — an average of 76.9 over the last 10 meetings — this game could have a different feel. Oklahoma State and Oklahoma are No. 1 and No. 3 in scoring defense in the Big 12. After a rough start, the Sooners appear to be finding a rhythm (granted, against Kansas and Texas Tech).
Which version of Oklahoma QB Spencer Rattler will we see? And can Oklahoma State’s defense play the kind of game it has been searching for a century? The Pokes might be lively here.
Cincinnati (-5.5, 63) at Central Florida: UCF has the No. 1 passing offense in the country. Cincinnati has the No. 3 scoring defense. The Bearcats are 8-0 and 6-2 ATS. The Knights are 5-2 but have covered the spread just twice.
This spread opened at pick ’em, though Cincinnati was quickly bet up in the first 24 hours. The total, which opened at 67.5, was quickly bet down — a sign that some are likely expecting the Cincinnati defense to factor significantly.
Though the Bearcats have the reputation of being a defensively focused team, they have scored an average of 46 points per game over the last month. Even with the line movement, this feels like an opportunity for Cincinnati to show the football world just how good it can be.
Coastal Carolina (-4.5, 48.5) vs. Appalachian State: Appalachian State is a Group of Five team that has been regularly dominant over the last five years. Coastal Carolina, meanwhile, has quickly become one of the sport’s most fascinating stories.
Like Cincy-UCF, these two have vastly different results against the spread. The Chanticleers are 7-0 and 5-1-1 ATS. The Mountaineers are 6-1, though they have covered just once. Statically, however, they’re neck and neck. Appalachian State averages 36.6 points and allows 16.2; Coastal Carolina averages 36.7 and allows 15.1. Both teams have dodged close calls. Both have the firepower to win this game outright. I like the underdog some here.