CFB: Iowa at Ohio State (3:30 PM ET, ABC)

CFB: Iowa at Ohio State (3:30 PM ET, ABC)

The Big Ten title is on the line in Columbus, but oddsmakers believe it will be one-sided. Ohio State has been installed as a hefty 16.5-point favorite. It seems to be a well-set line, since the action on the Sportsbook.com BETTING TRENDS page shows that


2009-11-13

The Big Ten title is on the line in Columbus, but oddsmakers believe it will be one-sided. Ohio State has been installed as a hefty 16.5-point favorite. It seems to be a well-set line, since the action on the Sportsbook.com BETTING TRENDS page shows that 54%of players favor Iowa, and 46% favor the Buckeyes, a relatively even split. Read on for a preview of this key clash.

Ohio State (8-2 SU&ATS) understands their Big Ten fate after winning impressively at Penn State 24-7. The Buckeyes offense has never found a comfort zone and in recent weeks and has dipped into coach Jim Tressel's bag of tricks to score or setup better field position to score points. Though quarterback Terrelle Pryor has made improvements this season, he's not taken the big stride forward. Part is a dissonant offensive line, barely average running backs and receivers lacking experience. The defense has been at usual Buckeye standards, holding eight opponents to 18 or fewer points, including three shutouts. Ohio State is 11-0 ATS the week after battle with the Nittany Lions.

While Iowa (9-1, 6-3 ATS) had drawn comparisons to 2002 Ohio State national championship team by winning a large number of close games, they are not in the same class, which the home loss to Northwestern proved. If anything, that Buckeyes team underachieved, winning half their games by seven or fewer points and having 19 players drafted over a two-year period. The Hawkeyes talent level is not anywhere close to that benchmark and has achieved success by playing hard and never giving up.

Iowa has trailed on the scoreboard in eight of nine wins this season and that was with Ricky Stanzi at quarterback. Now QB James Vandenberg gets his chance. Last week he had a lot of pressure on his, especially after the Hawkeyes fell behind. This week, nobody is giving the Hawkeyes a chance. Mental resolve goes a long way as Iowa has outscored the opposition 148-57 in the second half, including 107-44 in the final 15 minutes. Iowa will be a conference road underdog for the fourth time this season and they are 3-0 SU and ATS and 9-1 ATS on the road the last two seasons. Since 2000 the Hawkeyes are 17-10-1 ATS in this exact role.

Ohio State is 12-2 SU and 11-3 ATS since 1989 against Iowa including five straight SU and ATS beat-downs with average margin 20 points per game. If Iowa doesn't turn the ball over, they'll have a great chance to cover, if they do, the Buckeyes build on aforementioned numbers over the Hawkeyes.

The StatFox Power Line shows Ohio State by 17, so it seems that Sportsbook.com oddsmakers were sharp in putting up the lofty number.

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