Toledo vs. Ohio State Betting Odds & Picks: Rockets to Keep It Close?

Toledo vs. Ohio State Betting Odds & Picks: Rockets to Keep It Close? article feature image

Photo by Gaelen Morse/Getty Images. Pictured: Ryan Day (Ohio State)

  • Toledo makes the trip to Columbus on this Week 3 college football Saturday to face Ohio State in an in-state showdown.
  • Ohio State enters this game as favorites of more than 30 points, but Toledo is one of the best teams in the MAC.
  • BJ Cunningham breaks Toledo vs. Ohio State down below and shares his top betting pick based on his analysis.

Toledo vs. Ohio State Odds

Saturday, Sept. 17
7 p.m. ET
Toledo Odds
-106o / -114u
Ohio State Odds
-106o / -114u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Toledo makes the short trip to Columbus to take on in-state foe Ohio State.

Toledo is one of the favorites to take home the MAC title after having one of the best defensive seasons in program history just last year.

The Rockets breezed by UMass in their opener, but Ohio State is a much bigger challenge.

Ohio State hasn't gotten off the start it had anticipated as one of the favorites to win the national title. The Buckeyes needed to come from behind against Notre Dame and then allowed Arkansas State to control 37 minutes of possession and failed to cover.

The Buckeyes are also in a textbook lookahead spot with a Saturday night game against Wisconsin on the horizon.

Toledo Rockets

Rockets Offense

Toledo was the most explosive offense in college football a year ago, ranking in the top 10 in both Passing and Rushing Explosiveness. A lot of that had to do with the Rockets' incredible dual-threat quarterback, Dequan Finn.

As a passer in 2021, Finn averaged 8.5 yards per attempt and had a lot of success with his deep ball. Per PFF, on throws over 20 yards in the air, Finn had seven touchdowns, zero interceptions and 11 Big Time Throws. He gets his top target Devin Maddox back, but everyone else has moved on.

As a runner, Finn averaged a whopping 7.8 yards per carry with 19 runs over 10 yards.


Dequan Finn takes it to the house on the 1st play from scrimmage!!

UMass 0

— Toledo Football (@ToledoFB) October 2, 2021

Toledo also brought in Maryland transfer Peny Boone to help fill the void after losing star running back Bryant Koback.

Plus, Toledo has 79 starts returning on its offensive line. However, the success of Toledo's offense is in Finn's hands.

Rockets Defense

Toledo is coming off of a 2021 season where it was graded as the seventh-best defense (91.5) in all of college football by PFF.

Even better, the Rockets are returning eight starters from that stellar unit, which allowed just 4.7 yards per play and ranked 19th in Finishing Drives Allowed.

Toledo only allowed Long Island and UMass to put a total of 10 points on the board, so there isn't a lot we can take from those two games.

Toledo's defensive line was monstrous in 2021. It ranked ninth in Power Success Rate Allowed, had a 91.5 PFF pass rushing grade and was 10th in Rushing Success Rate Allowed.

Guess what? Toledo only lost one starter from that line and both of its best pass rushers are back, including Jamal Hines, who had 10 sacks in 2021.

This is the best defensive line in the MAC.

🤭 @jamal_hines chases down and 𝗣𝗨𝗠𝗠𝗘𝗟𝗦 the quarterback to the ground in this week's Wayne Lumber "Bringing the Lumber" hit of the game‼️

— Toledo Athletics (@ToledoRockets) November 5, 2021

The linebacking core loses its top tackler in Jonathan Jones, but replaced him with, funny enough, Dallas Gant, a former four-star recruit who transfers in from Ohio State.

Toledo had the third-best tackling grade in 2021, so Ohio State is not going to be able to break off explosive runs at will against this defense.

The secondary was just as good as the rest of the defense in 2021 and ranked 20th in Passing Success Rate.

Toledo also had the 12th-best coverage grade in college football (per PFF) and allowed only 6.3 yards per attempt.

The Rockets lost star cornerback Samuel Womack, but brought in a couple of high-value transfers to help make up the production.

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Ohio State Buckeyes

Buckeyes Offense

One of the most exciting and electric offenses in college football last season has almost all of its pieces back in 2022.

C.J. Stroud is one of the favorites to the win the Heisman Trophy Award, and you can see why, as he put up a whopping 10.0 yards per pass attempt, a 91.6 PFF passing grade and threw for 44 touchdowns (with just six interceptions) last season.

While Stroud has all of the talent in the world, it also helps to have the best wide receiver in college football in Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who will be returning this week after missing the Arkansas State game due to injury.

Smith-Njigba led college football last season with a 91.9 PFF receiving grade. He also averaged an insane 9.3 yards after the catch per reception last season — a mark only bested by Treylon Burks.

Marvin Harrison Jr. has emerged as a fantastic compliment to Smith-Njigba, and actually leads the team with 240 receiving yards through two games.

Unreal grab by Jaxson Smith-Njigba

— Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) November 27, 2021

The backfield has one of the best running backs in the country in TreVeyon Henderson, who averaged a whopping 6.8 yards per carry and had 15 touchdowns in 2021.

After a less than stellar performance against Norte Dame, Ohio State put up 10.0 yards per play against Arkansas State. But this is an underrated Toledo defense that the Buckeyes are going up against, and I don't think you will see them hang 50 points on the board.

Buckeyes Defense

Ohio State's defense struggled a bit compared to expectations last season. The Buckeyes ranked 66th in Success Rate Allowed and 85th in Explosiveness Allowed.

They are returning eight starters from that defense and should be improved.

The defensive line repeatedly got gashed in the run game in 2021. The Buckeyes were 45th in Rushing Success Rate Allowed and 55th in Explosive Rushing Allowed.

That's one of the reasons why Ohio State brought in Jim Knowles from Oklahoma State as its defensive coordinator — to fix those problems.

Early showings this season are a tad concerning if this team is going to contend for a national title. Against Arkansas State, the Buckeyes allowed the Red Wolves to get inside their 40-yard line six times. They held them to just 12 points on those six trips, but that is still concerning.

Image via

So, with Finn's dual-threat ability, Ohio State may give up more points than most people are expecting.

Toledo vs. Ohio State Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Toledo and Ohio State match up statistically:

Toledo Offense vs. Ohio State Defense
Rush Success2514
Line Yards357
Pass Success8425
Pass Blocking**9575
Finishing Drives2334
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Ohio State Offense vs. Toledo Defense
Rush Success4661
Line Yards2865
Pass Success196
Pass Blocking**2054
Finishing Drives3727
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling241
PFF Coverage1860
SP+ Special Teams33110
Seconds per Play23.8 (28)27.0 (77)
Rush Rate60.1% (27)49.6% (79)
Data via (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

Toledo vs. Ohio State Betting Pick

Toledo is the best team in the MAC and a spread this large is kind of insulting to one of the best Group of Five defenses in college football.

Sure, Ohio State will put points on the board, but Finn's dual-threat ability against a defense that was just average last season is a perfect recipe for a Toledo cover.

I only have the Buckeyes projected as -25.5 favorites, so I like the value on the Rockets at +32 (DraftKings), and would play it down to +30.

Pick: Toledo +32

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