Analyzing college football schedules and making way-early predictions is never an exact science, and selecting NCAAF picks is even a tougher job when you are to looking at the very unpredictable Power Five conferences. But in the Big Ten conference that has been singularly dominated by the trio of Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State over the past many decades, the projections in the college football odds aren’t that hard to figure out, at least on paper. Having just six returning starters obviously means the Buckeyes will be breaking in fresh faces at many levels, but as we’ve customarily known in the Urban Meyer era, good recruitment and getting the next man up is never an issue for Ohio State. With that in mind, let’s take a look at Ohio State’s game-by- game preview and predictions for the soon-to- start football season.
Here’s a Look at the 2016 Ohio State Buckeyes Betting Prediction for Every Game
Sept. 3 vs. Bowling Green
Even with new starters all over the field, I don’t expect Ohio State to break a sweat here. Bowling Green lost talent as well in the offseason and J.T. Barrett is capable of single-handedly using his strong arms alone (minus his legs) to win this game quite comfortably.
Prediction: Ohio State 39, Bowling Green 13
Sept. 10 vs. Tulsa
Tulsa’s offense will find when Ohio State is still in transition, especially in defense, thus allowing the visitors to cause a few problems here and there. But when all is said and done, it should be another routine win for Ohio State.
Prediction: Ohio State 44, Tulsa 17
Sept. 17 at Oklahoma
Given the rather soft nature of competition in the Big Ten, I’d expect Ohio State to continue figuring among the top teams in the conference even with the massive departures in the team. But against a no-nonsense powerhouse like Oklahoma, I doubt if the Bucks will be up to the task, now that the team lost reliable defensive starters like Joey Bosa, Eli Apple, Vonn Bell, Darron Lee, Josh Perry and Adolphus Washington (all of whom were picked in the first four rounds of the 2016 NFL draft), along with offensive maestros like Ezekiel Elliot. Meanwhile, Oklahoma’s talent-heavy offense (read that Samanje Perine, Joe Mixon and Baker Mayfield) should be more than capable of outdoing Barrett and his inexperienced targets. So, in short, don’t expect an Ohio State win here because it won’t happen.
Prediction: Oklahoma 42, Ohio State 29
Oct. 1 vs. Rutgers
Former Ohio State defensive coordinator and now Rutgers head coach Chris Ash will ensure that the Scarlet Knights trouble OSU in one or two phases of their defensive game, but with Ohio coming off an emotional road loss at Oklahoma, the only remedy will be to take their frustrations out on the field. And that’s exactly what we expect to happen in this game, with the Bucks tearing apart the fragile Knights.
Prediction: Ohio State 49, Rutgers 18
Oct. 8 vs. Indiana
By this game, Ohio State’s defense should be playing with more confidence, especially with the experience of facing an explosive Oklahoma offense. Taking care of business against the Hoosiers (who will be breaking into a new inexperienced QB and will be hard-done to replace departed star RB Jordon Howard) should therefore not be a big deal. Oh, and for those of you who love numbers, here’s one for you—The Hoosiers are 0-22- 1 vs. Ohio State since 1988. So, yeah, an Ohio State win it will be, and it won’t even be that close as some deluded Indiana fans think it will be.
Prediction: Ohio State 45, Indiana 16
Oct. 15 at Wisconsin
It’s not that the Buckeyes won’t be battle-tested coming into this game, it’s just that the up- surging Badgers will have faced tougher opponents in LSU, Michigan State and Michigan (all away from home), and that extra experience could easily prove to be the difference here, possibly leading to an Ohio State. My money, though, is on Ohio State, given that the Badgers have an iffy offense and Ohio State’s defense has the talent to go toe-to- toe with the Badgers down in the trenches.
Prediction: Ohio State 30, Wisconsin 24
Oct. 22 at Penn State
No Christian Hackenberg, No Problem. Or maybe not. Even with their departed star QB, who is now with the Jets in the NFL, the Nittany Lions still have a good number of talented players, including sophomore dual-threat QB Trace McSorley and a slew of pass-rushers and tacklers to take care of things defensively. The problem, though, is that Penn State has a weak O-line and the team will have a new DC and OC, meaning several new hit-or- miss systems being implemented. So, at best, this team will keep OU’s win within a two-touchdown range.
Prediction: Ohio State 32, Penn State 19
Oct. 29 vs. Northwestern
If QB Clayton Thorson is able to improve his game even to an average level, the Northwestern will certainly give the Buckeyes a run for their money. I mean, the Wildcats had an anemic passing game in 2015, but still managed to record a double-digit win season and make an appearance in a solid New Year’s Day Bowl, all thanks to stellar coaching from the underrated Pat Fitzgerald and an on-point running game. Their few replacement challenges in defense and Thorson’s iffy game will prevent them from winning this game, but be sure that the Cats will be a tough out, staying close enough to lose to Ohio State in respectable fashion, kind of like the 40-30 defeat to the Bucks in their last meeting two seasons ago.
Prediction: Ohio State 36, Northwestern 28
Nov. 5 vs. Nebraska
With Tommy Armstrong at quarterback, Ohio State’s defense must and should be very mindful, or else things could get real ugly. Not to forget, coach Mike Riley will be in the hot seat this season, so he’ll want to win this game or at least give a strong effort to save his job at the end of the season. The problem, however, is that Nebraska has plenty of problems in the defense (O and D lines), and that means Barrett and his accomplices will get good scoring opportunities as the Cornhuskers struggle with turnovers and incomplete plays. The game should thus end in OU’s favor.
Prediction: Ohio State 44, Nebraska 25
Nov. 12 at Maryland
The Bucks have won their two All-time meetings against the Terps and are looking for a third one in 2016. Had this been Melo Trimble and his basketball envoys, we’d be talking about a near-sure loss for Ohio State. But with Maryland’s football program entering 2016 in rebuilding mode under new head coach D.J. Durkin and the roster littered with holes in both offense and defense, there can only be one winner here. And that’s right, you can bet your last damn dollar that the winner we are talking about won’t be Maryland.
Prediction: Ohio State 41, Maryland 16
Nov. 19 at Michigan State
The Spartans have been a pain in the you-know- what for the Bucks, especially when playing in their own back yard, and this fixture figures to be no different. Both teams are legit top-10 teams and if the Big Ten predictions are to be believed, the East division title and a chance at the conference game should be in play here. Needless to say, Malik McDowell and gang will hound Barrett and his targets as Sparty seeks to use its superior defense, while MSU’s offense (mainly running game) could cause all kinds of problems for the visitors. Nonetheless, Oho State is coming off a stellar retooling offseason that should put Barrett in a strong position to return to his impressive 2014 form as a starter, so a road could easily be in the offing for Urban Meyer’s squad.
Prediction: Ohio State 24, Michigan State 21
Nov. 26 vs. Michigan
Last year, the Buckeyes embarrassed the Wolverines and their critically acclaimed alma mater Jim Harbaugh, so you can be certain that revenge will be on top priority for the visiting Michigan team. And like all rivalry games that come at the end of the season, motivation will be aplenty for both teams in this game that will possibly have divisional, conference and national title aspirations on the line. Now, I can’t speak for Michigan’s offense that has a few questions ahead of the new season. It largely remains to be seen what will become of the duel between Michigan’s offense and Ohio State’s defense, two units that are both in rebuilding mode. Even so, I can tell you that the Wolverines will have an excellent defense that will almost certainly clamp Barrett’s game, and if all goes just a bit better for John O’Korn/ Wilton Speight at the helm of Michigan’s offense as is widely expected, then the Bucks could very easily lose this game in pure rivalry heartbreaking fashion.
Prediction: Michigan 25, Ohio State 19
2016 Ohio State Big Ten Season Total Prediction: 7-1
2016 Ohio State Overall Season Total Prediction: 11-1