The opening lines for next week’s college football games are now being released, and the Buckeyes have opened as 50.5-point favorites over conference foe Rutgers. [Note: As of 5:30 pm — or roughly three hours after this posting — the spread is now up to 54 points.]
The line is larger than any Ohio State line in at least the last 22 years. Larger even than Ohio State’s 2013 matchup with FCS opponent Florida A&M, who were 49.5-point underdogs.
The Buckeyes are currently ranked No. 1 in the College Football Playoff rankings, but will likely move to No. 2 behind LSU in Tuesday’s next release. Rutgers, meanwhile, is 2-7 on the season with their lone wins coming against Massachusetts and Liberty. Massachusetts, by the way, has opened as a 40-point underdog to a Northwestern team that has scored just 100 points in nine games this season.
Getting back to the Scarlet Knights, this has been a difficult season for Rutgers, who fired head coach Chris Ash in late September.
Rutgers is currently 13th in the Big Ten in scoring (14.7 ppg), 14th in scoring defense (36.7 ppg), 13th in total offense (280.3 ypg), 13th in total defense (431.2 ypg), and last or second-to-last in just about any other category you can think of.
The over/under for this game is also just 56 points, meaning the linemakers don’t see Rutgers scoring many points.
The Scarlet Knights have been shutout three times this season — by Iowa, Michigan, and Indiana. Even Maryland held them to seven points.
The Buckeyes were favored by 42.5 points this past weekend against Maryland when the lines closed, which was the previous high over a Big Ten team for Ohio State in at least 22 years as well.
The Buckeyes have been favored by at least 40 points just nine times over the last 22 seasons. Two of those times have come in the last two weeks.
2019: Maryland -42.5
2017: UNLV -40.5
2017: Illinois -41
2015: Hawaii -41
2013: Florida A&M -49.5
2010: Eastern Michigan -44.5
2009: New Mexico State -44
1999: Ohio -43