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We’re still a few months away from the start of the 2021 college football season, but the game lines have started to crystallize. While no point distribution has yet been set for the Ohio State season opener in Minnesota on September 2, BetOnline.ag released the lines for four more Ohio State football games yesterday. It should come as no great surprise that the Buckeyes are double-digit favorites in each of these games.
Although Money, Cash & Joes is still two months away from making its season debut, it feels right to come and guest on this summer to give you some food for thought now that these early lines are out. Much value can be found in these early lines as a lot can change between now and the kick-off of these games. It might not be fun to have your money in the game for months, but finding the right lines could really boost your bankroll.
September 11: Oregon v Ohio State (-10)
While Oregon might be the toughest opponent of the season in the state of Ohio, that line feels a little low for the Buckeyes. The main reason I favor Ohio State with over 10 points here is because of the start time. This game begins at 9:00 am PST. Now I’m sure college football players could play in the middle of the night and be fine, but if the Ducks sluggishly come out of the gates the Buckeyes could put them in an early hole they can’t dig themselves out.
Both Ohio State and Oregon will join the game with new quarterbacks this year. It sounds like CJ Stroud is starting for the Buckeyes, while Anthony Brown of Boston College will likely get the nod for Oregon. The Ducks have many figures on offense, but they will face a Buckeye defense that feels disrespected after some shaky performances last season.
Ohio State defense could get an even bigger boost if linebacker Palaie Gaoteote joins Columbus from USC. The Trojans played Oregon twice during Gaoteote’s time at USC, and while the Ducks won both games, the junior definitely has an idea of what Oregon will try to throw against Ohio State. If Gaoteote lands in Ohio State, it will add even more athleticism to a linebacker group hungry to make some noise.
Oregon may very well be a contender in the PAC-12, but that doesn’t mean much these days. The Ducks haven’t beaten Ohio State in nine previous encounters, and I just don’t see them within 10 points of the Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium.
Ohio State 42, Oregon 27
October 23: Ohio State (-11) against Indiana
Who would ever have thought we’d live in a world where Indiana is the biggest threat to the state of Ohio in the Big Ten in football? The Buckeyes have dominated the series with Indiana, winning 25 straight games against the Hoosiers. If Indiana ever had a year to end their losing streak, this would be the year.
A lot could change between now and the end of October, but this feels like one of those bloomington big hits we’ve seen a couple of times over the past decade. In 2012, the Buckeyes held Indiana 52-49, and two years later, Ezekiel Elliott took Ohio State to a 34-27 win with a huge second half.
Michael Penix Jr. and the Hoosiers introduced Ohio State to a stake in Columbus in 2020, with Penix throwing 491 yards and five touchdowns in the 42-35 loss. Indiana showed that they can keep up with the Buckeyes and have plenty of starters returning on both sides of the game. This will be another one of those back-and-forth games where Ohio State once again denies Indiana an angry attempt.
Ohio State 38, Indiana 31
October 30: Penn State vs. Ohio State (-10.5)
The only thing that could hurt the Buckeyes here is that I may have had to expend a lot of energy on a huge road incline against Indiana over the past week. Otherwise, Penn State doesn’t scare me at all. While Penn State has Sean Clifford back for his 47th year quarterback, there are plenty of offspring on this Penn State team. The team may have grown up by the end of October, but I expect a full-capacity Ohio stadium to make the Nittany Lions rattle.
Penn State has played really hard against Ohio State for the past half decade. However, I think the talent gap will grow a bit. James Franklin’s honeymoon in Penn State feels like it’s over, and I think we’ll see Ohio State distance its neighbors a bit to the east. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Buckeyes won with at least two touchdowns on Halloween weekend in Columbus.
Ohio State 37, Penn State 21
November 27: Ohio State (-11.5) against Michigan
What exactly did Michigan do to make you believe they’ll beat Ohio State this year? The Wolverines finish a 2-4 season in 2020, and the Wolverines have lost their last two encounters with Ohio State by at least 20 points. Perhaps Michigan is hoping the Buckeyes will be lost on their way to Ann Arbor this year.
The main reason I choose Ohio State to win this game is because Jim Harbaugh is still Michigan’s manager. Harbaugh has had no idea how to stop the Buckeyes since taking over at Ann Arbor, and his teams are actually in decline. Not a good sign when Ryan Day puts together phenomenal recruiting courses and works on the transfer portal.
For the past few years, I would have worried that Ohio State would take to the streets as a double-digit favorite against their rivals. No more. The last time the Buckeyes were in Ann Arbor, they hung 56 in Michigan. I’ll say the Wolverines have a lot of defense experience, so Ohio State might not be 50+ on Michigan, but they practically win this game.
Ohio State 42, Michigan 20