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Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers Point Spread - Pick

Ohio State Buckeyes (5-1 SU, 3-3 ATS) vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers (3-3 SU, 2-4 ATS)
College Football Week 7
Date/Time: Saturday, October 14, 2017 at 7:30PM EST
Where: Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Nebraska
TV: X

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: OSU -24/NEB +24
Over/Under Total: 56.5

The Ohio State Buckeyes come to Lincoln on Saturday for a Big Ten Conference matchup against the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Ohio State is 5-1, coming off a lopsided 62-14 win over Maryland last Saturday. They have now won 4 straight since their disappointing loss to the Sooners in their second game and they look to be in good form as they get into the meat of their conference schedule. They now face a Nebraska team that again came up with a disappointing game in their 38-17 loss to Wisconsin last Saturday. At just 3-3, they could use a positive development and giving Ohio State a run for their money would be a good start.

The Buckeyes are rolling well now, albeit against dicey opposition. They have scored a robust 172 combined points in their last three games, while giving up only 35. They're not a perfect team by any stretch. JT Barrett is good, but makes mistakes. The offense fell flat when tested against a good team. Their defense is solid, but young and exploitable at times. At the same time, there are some big wins on the table for the Buckeyes and a win over Nebraska would be the perfect set-up, as Penn State, Michigan, and a possible spot in the conference title game still loom in the future.

Buckeyes' quarterback JT Barrett put up decent numbers against Maryland with three TD passes. On the season, he has thrown 16 touchdowns against just one pick so there is only so much bad you can say. He has also compiled over 300 rushing yards with 3 touchdowns. We still see him missing some easy passes and not always coming up with the best answers in a pinch. But as far as big-time college quarterbacks go, you can do a lot worse than Barrett. Helping the cause is the infusion of freshman back JK Dobbins, who scored another TD on Saturday. When he's on, his talent is of a game-changing nature. With Mike Weber still doing his thing and Barrett chipping in, they can really pound away with the run. Through the air, Binjimen Victor caught a TD on Saturday, as did Austin Mack and Marcus Baugh, while Parris Campbell and Weber made contributions in the passing-game. Campbell even ran one in. There is room for a lot of players to shine on the Ohio St. offense.

The Ohio State defense has given up just 42 total points in the last 4 games. They offer good balance, with no major weaknesses in any one area. They have a good pass-rush and it was on display against Maryland, with Nick Bosa registering another sack, along with Dante Booker, Jerome Baker, Jashon Cornell, and Tyquan Lewis. Against the pass, Damon Arnette and Damon Webb made plays. Nebraska can still be tough at home and they have some weapons on offense that surpass what Ohio State has seen in recent weeks. We'll see better where this defense stands this week.

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After beating Rutgers and following it with their second straight win in a 22-point road win over Illinois, you could understand why some people would have identified the Cornhuskers as interesting X-factors against the Badgers on Saturday. Getting 12.5 points, you could at least see why some liked them against the spread. But it wasn't meant to be and a close game broke open late in the third quarter with the Badgers pulling away to win by three touchdowns. It's really quite a damning testament for a team that used to be a constant national threat that they can barely remain competitive with the better teams from their conference. They're good enough to beat the bottom-feeders of the Big Ten, but their prospects against the conference's big dogs seems to be diminishing with each passing season. As much as some might like to see Mike Riley thrive in this spot, his philosophy just hasn't taken hold. We've seen the athletic director get fired, with Riley likely in lame-duck status.

The Nebraska offense had some good moments in the first half against the Badgers, with some nice plays against a Wisconsin defense that is one of the best in the nation. We saw QB Tanner Lee connect with Stanley Morgan, Jr. with an 80-yard catch-and-run. But mistakes were costly and early in the game, Lee saw a pass deflect off RB Devine Ozigbo and get corralled by a Wisconsin defender, who took it in for a TD. Lee has talent and could become better with time, but he is inexperienced and he has already thrown ten picks on the season. The Huskers compiled 313 first half yards before going dead in the second half with just 68 yards. Ozigbo had 112 yards on the ground. There were positive signs, but they couldn't apply it for four quarters and lost touch with their opponent. And when considering that seven points came from a defensive TD, their point-total on Saturday just isn't going to cut it.

In recent meetings between Nebraska and Wisconsin, the Badgers have relied on a robust run-game to win and that was no different on Saturday. Wisconsin ran for 353 yards on the day, led by 249 yards by Jonathan Taylor. It was the most Wisconsin had gained on the ground on the road in five seasons. Among the runs were a lot of big plays. Even when pinned close to their goal, the Badgers were able to get something going with their deliberate-moving offense. The lack of resistance was alarming at times. Aaron Williams returned an interception for a TD. And some guys had good games, like LB Chris Weber and DB Joshua Kalu, but as a whole, it was an uninspiring performance, especially late with the game on the line.

If anything, Nebraska hopes to avoid anything resembling last season's 62-3 wipeout in Columbus, when Nebraska was shredded in the pass and on the ground by the Buckeyes. This is a Nebraska team that can play better than they showed last week. But the defense looks completely under-equipped against the better offenses they match up against, with Ohio State qualifying as a better offense. But at home and getting 24 points, we'll take another whirl on the Cornhuskers this week.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Nebraska Cornhuskers plus 24 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 50% sign-up bonus!

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