College Football Week 1 Picks: Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Navy Midshipmen

Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Navy Midshipmen
Saturday, 8/30/14, 12:00 EST
Opening Point Spread:  Ohio State -20
Current Betting Line:  Ohio State -20
Opening Total:  N/A
Current Total:  N/A
Odds Courtesy of 5Dimes

The Ohio State Buckeyes are 4-0 SU versus the Navy Midshipmen
The Ohio State Buckeyes are 4-0 SU versus the Navy Midshipmen

Ohio State hasn’t lost a regular season game in its two years under head coach Urban Meyer, which will lead directly to improving to 5-0 SU all-time in this series—something that can’t be ignored when making your Week 1 college football picks.  The Buckeyes welcome back 12 starters overall, with the biggest name being quarterback Braxton Miller, who accounted for 3,162 yards of total offense in 2013.  Offensively, the team has relieve heavily on the run game under Meyer—averaging 278.0 rushing yards per game since his arrival in Columbus.  Ohio State is 0-4 ATS in its last four games on field turf.

The Buckeyes will possess one of the best defenses in the country under coordinator Luke Fickell, who welcomes back every lineman from a group that combined for 53 tackles for loss, including 31 quarterback sacks.  Ohio State will need that group to live up to its lofty expectations early on, considering just three starters return at the linebacker, corner and safety positions combined.  Any hopes of landing in the newly-adopted college football playoff system will depend on the health of Miller throughout.

Navy has won two of its last five games versus ranked opponents, but it’s hard to imagine an upset in this spot despite welcoming back 15 starters to Annapolis, MD.  The Midshipmen will definitely test the Buckeyes with their option attack, especially with junior quarterback Keenan Reynolds back in the fold—posting a 15-6 record as a starter.  His 31 rushing touchdowns last year were the most by a single-caller in NCAA history for a single season.  Navy has covered the number in its last four overall games, which is important to consider when looking over the college football betting lines.

The Midshipmen have won 21 games versus BCS opponents since 2003—the most of any non-BCS school over that span.  Navy definitely places a premium on protecting the football under seventh-year head coach Ken Niumatalolo, which led directly to a plus-12 turnover margin last season.  It’s certainly possible that the program will force Ohio State into making an early mistake, as most of these players were part of last year’s squad that outscored opponents by a 65-32 margin in the first quarter.

Sports bettors will likely back the Midshipmen due to their 8-3 ATS mark versus non-service academy members last season.

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