Ohio State vs. Cincinnati Betting Odds & Angles: Will Justin Fields & Co. Cover?
Joe Maiorana, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Justin Fields
Cincinnati vs. Ohio State Betting Odds
Odds: Ohio State -14.5
Time: Noon ET
All odds via PointsBet and current as of 12 p.m. ET on Saturday.
There will be plenty made leading up to this game about Cincinnati’s excellent defense and if it can contain Ohio State and quarterback Justin Fields.
But to me, that’s not what this game is about.
Instead, the focus should be on how Cincy can protect quarterback Desmond Ridder against a ferocious and deep Buckeyes defensive front, and how Ridder can move the chains like he did last season.
Because he was often in some pretty disadvantageous spots and made miracles out of them anyway.
Cincinnati was magical on third down in 2018, ranking seventh nationally at 48.73% conversion. The rest of the top 10 is littered with the best offenses in the country like Alabama, Oklahoma, Boise State and Georgia (and Army, but that’s different). Cincy does not belong in that group, though I do really like Ridder, running back Michael Warren, and where this program is going.
Per SB Nation’s and now-ESPN’s Bill Connelly, Ridder had a stellar 184.8 passer rating on 3rd-and-7 or longer, but just a 138.5 on first downs. He can move around and make plays, but that feels a little fluky to me.
Cincinnati was also 16th in passing-downs efficiency — when teams knew they had to pass, they could do it anyway.
All that is to say that Ohio State’s defense, with its talent advantage, has more of an edge than the market is giving the it credit for. Maybe that’s why the total has dipped from 55 to 52.5 throughout the week.
Bets to Watch: As of Friday afternoon, I saw a few 27’s and 27.5 available as first half totals, a derivative that wasn’t fully adjusted as the full game total fell. And at that number, I’m interested in a first-half under.
I do think Ohio State wins comfortably, as well, in a lower-scoring game, but it feels pretty spot on at -16, so it’s a pass for me unless I can get a better number.