A week ago at this time, Ohio State opened as inexplicable 23-point favorites over Northwestern.
Though a 23-point win was certainly not out of the realm of possibilities, based on how the Buckeyes had played the previous night in Happy Valley and how Northwestern had been presenting themselves in the previous couple weeks, it definitely seemed improbable.
Now the oddsmakers at some of Vegas’s smaller bookers seem dead determined to get more eager (easy?) Ohio State money. For whatever reason, after limping past NU to the tune of a 24-20 win and after Mike Riley’s Nebraska Cornhuskers came up just short in hostile Madison, 23-17 in overtime to Wisconsin, the Buckeyes open this week as 16.5-point home favorites.
The big question for the Huskers heading into Saturday’s primetime Big Ten West potential deciding contest was whether or not the then unbeaten side was “for real”. Anyone who watched Nebraska trade shot-for-shot against Bucky Badger probably can answer affirmatively at this point “yes”.
Meanwhile, on the opposing sidelines, OSU continues to find themselves offensively, with a mix of predictable playcalling and poor execution limiting their ability to be multiple. The Buckeye defense in recent weeks has fallen into some of the same mental pitfalls as their offensive counterparts, leaving the Buckeyes, the youngest team in major college football, looking like a talented shell of the one that beat Oklahoma on the road in the elements in mid-September.
Can Urban Meyer and the suddenly under fire Buckeye coaching brass turn the right knobs and get things back on track? Or will Nebraska +16.5 prove one of the easiest bets college football gambling diehards make since, well, the last Ohio State home game?