Sugar Bowl Picks: Arkansas Razorbacks vs Ohio State Buckeyes Handicapping Predictions

Arkansas Razorbacks vs Ohio State Buckeyes
Tuesday, 1/4/11, 8:30 PM EDT, TV:  ESPN
Opening Point Spread:  Ohio State -3
Current Betting Line:  Ohio State -3
Opening Total:  58
Current Total:  57

Ohio State Buckeyes Football Team
The Ohio State Buckeyes are small favorites versus the Arkansas Razorbacks in the 2011 Sugar Bowl

Arkansas will make its first BCS appearance when it takes on sixth-ranked Ohio State in the 2011 Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome.  Head coach Bobby Petrino will coach a January bowl for the fourth time in his career, coming in with a January bowl record of 2-1.  While at Louisville, Petrino led the Cardinals to a 24-13 victory over No. 12 Wake Forest in the 2007 Orange Bowl, while dropping a 35-24 contest to Virginia Tech in the 2006 Gator Bowl.  The Razorbacks are 1-4 in the Sugar Bowl and have made all five appearances in the pre-BCS era.  Overall, the program will be making its 38th trip to a postseason bowl game and is 12-22-3 in the previous 37 appearances.  Arkansas tallied a 9-2 ATS mark this season and is currently an underdog on the college football lines page.

The Razorbacks won 10 games in the regular season for just the eighth time in school history and won six SEC games for the fourth time.  Arkansas’ strength of schedule ranked No. 6 nationally and played nine teams that qualified for a bowl game this year.  The squad has won six straight games and is averaging 42.5 points per game while allowing only 22.2 per contest over that span.  The Razorbacks have gained an average of 498.5 yards per game during the six-game stretch.  A key statistic in this contest will be success in the red zone, as the team was 42-of-46 during the regular season, which leads the SEC and is tied for fifth nationally.

Ohio State is playing in its sixth consecutive BCS bowl and its ninth overall, which happens to be the most of any team in the nation.  The Buckeyes have posted a 2-3 mark in the previous five years during the bowl season and look forward to playing another school from the SEC.  Since head coach Jim Tressel was hired in 2001, the program has gone 0-3 versus the conference.  The team will be making its 42nd overall bowl appearance, tallying a 19-22 record and is 5-3 in eight BCS game appearances.  For the Buckeyes, 24 seniors will be playing their final game in Tuesday night’s contest, coming in with a 43-8 overall record.  Ohio State is 25-11 ATS over the past three seasons.

The Buckeyes have been dealing with the distraction of five players being caught violating NCAA rules, suspending all of them for the first five games of next season.  Tressel stepped up and took full responsibility for the kids actions of receiving improper benefits.  “We as coaches fell the buck stops here,” he commented.  “We’re the ones who need to make things even more crystal clear.”  Quarterback Terrelle Pryor was one of the individuals implicated, entering tonight’s game with 639 rushing and 2,551 passing yards.

Bettors will be interested in the Razorbacks being 6-0 ATS, while the Buckeyes are 8-0 ATS in non-conference games.

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