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Can No. 2 Ohio State Cover The Overwhelming Spread Against No. 5 Notre Dame?
One of the marquee games in week one of the College Football season pins the Ohio State Buckeyes against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Ohio’s top college sports program comes into this season with high expectations, as they are ranked second in the country going into the start of the season.
They are favored by 17 points against Notre Dame, with the question being whether or not the Buckeyes can cover that large number against a fellow top-five opponent.
One thing working in favor of the Buckeyes going into this game is their decided advantage at the quarterback position. C.J. Stroud is one of the top-three Heisman Trophy candidates heading into this season for an Ohio State team that is expected to make the College Football Playoff.
Even if Stroud does not live up to those lofty expectations, he puts Ohio State in a better place in the passing game than any of the options available at Notre Dame at his position.
Notre Dame does not have a quarterback on their roster that is more experienced than a sophomore. More importantly, their quarterback options lack the high-level game experience in college football to come into an environment like this one and play well. Those quarterbacks could develop into something special in the future, but that time might not be now for Notre Dame.
Home Field Advantage
Home field advantage is key in college football, and that advantage belongs to Ohio State in this contest. Ohio State lost one game at home last season to an Oregon team that is one of the better offensive teams in the country year in and year out. Given the lack of quarterback experience on this Notre Dame team, crowd noise will be much more of an issue for the Fighting Irish here.
On the flip side, Notre Dame does not typically take such high-level true road games against one-off opponents. The Fighting Irish often get by on a schedule that features teams that are tougher in name than they are on the field, but that is certainly not the case here. It will be interesting to see how they adapt to such a hostile environment in Columbus.
Style Points Imperative
When a point spread is this big, bettors have to consider the motivations of each team when deciding whether to bet on one side or the other. In the case of college football, blowout wins against top-five opponents are so valuable.
That can help Ohio State cover the number in this game, as they should be motivated to play their best for all four quarters against their independent opponents.
A game like this can really lay the groundwork for a season that the College Football Playoff selection committee cannot ignore. If the Buckeyes cover the spread, it would be a signal that they are capable of not just beating top-five opponents, but beating them convincingly.
Whether or not Ohio State can do that remains to be seen, but the motivation will certainly be there.
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