NCAA FB Free Pick | Michigan State @ Ohio State

Not believing in the fourth-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes last week proved to be wrong. We are not making the same mistake this week. For the seventh time in the past eight seasons, the Buckeyes and Spartans face each other as ranked opponents. For the fifth consecutive week, Ohio State enters a game as a double-digit favorite and the Buckeyes have been good to spread bettors.

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Game: Michigan State Spartans (4-1, 2-3 ATS) at Ohio State (5-0, 4-1 ATS)

When: 7:30 PM, Saturday, October 5, 2019

Where: Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio

Current Line: OSU -20 Total: 49

TV Coverage: ABC

The Buckeyes have covered in four straight games. The only game they failed to cover was their season opener against Florida Atlantic when the Owls scored two late touchdowns in a 45-21 Buckeyes win. Ohio State has now won 10 straight since losing to Purdue last year. The Buckeyes have also won 10 straight home games and they have had some recent success against the Spartans.

Ohio State has won 12 of the last 15 against Michigan State, including the last three straight. Ironically, the Buckeyes are just 1-2 ATS in those three games winning by scores of 26-6, 48-3, and 17-16. Also surprising is the fact that none of the Spartans three wins in the last 15 games have come in East Lansing. All three have been on the road.

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Still, one must wonder how Michigan State, one of the country’s better defenses, will stop the Ohio State offense. Quarterback Justin Fields is outstanding. He has completed almost 70 percent of his passes for 1,092 yards and 16 touchdowns. Even better, Fields has yet to throw an interception.

Fields doesn’t do it alone either. Ohio State rushes for 281.6 yards per game. Junior J.K. Dobbins leads the Buckeyes with 654 yards and freshman Master Teague III has 326. Ohio State also has one of the best defenses in the nation. They are fourth in scoring defense allowing just 8.6 points per game and second in total defense giving up just 224 yards a game.

The Buckeyes are on a roll and they are at home. In addition to being 4-1 ATS in their last five games, they are 5-1 in their last six Big Ten games. The Buckeyes are also 9-3 ATS in Week 6 games. Ohio State has won by 20 or more points in 10 of their last 12 games and I expect them to do it again.

NCAA FB Free Pick: Ohio State -20

About the Author

A native of Western Pennsylvania, Rick, a Generation X-er, who now lives just north of the Motor City, Detroit, Michigan. A former high school, college, and professional football player, Rick now spends his time as a high school coach and as a personal quarterback trainer. An all-state high school quarterback, he went on to become an Academic All-American at Division II Indiana University of PA. He later coached at his alma mater helping lead the program to the 1990 NCAA Division II national championship game. Rick has also served as a high school head coach and as an assistant in Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan.

His passion for sports writing started when he was the sports editor for his high school newspaper and continued when he worked as a sportswriter for the Jamestown (New York) Post-Journal in the early 1990s. A true sports fanatic, Rick enjoys all things Pittsburgh: Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins. The Immaculate Reception, the 1979 We Are Family Pirates, and the ’91-’92 Penguins are among his favorites. After working as an educator and athletic director for several years, he again took up sports writing and has contributed to several websites and publications, including Coach & Player magazine, X & O Labs, American Football Monthly, and many others.

When not consumed with coaching, watching, thinking about, or writing about football and other seasonal sports, he finds himself working out like he was still in college and reading everything from military history to Brad Thor novels. Rick has also been chasing rock god stardom as a drummer who has played with bands that have opened for the likes of Fuel, Days of the New, and Alien Ant Farm. He continues to play with his church worship group. Most importantly, Rick is married to the love of his life, Lisa, and has two beautiful daughters.