I’ll be making predictions on all conference games and using them for the purpose of trying to select winners vs. the Vegas point spread. There is only one game to look at this week.
My current record: 0-0
Until gambling becomes legal in my state, I’m sticking with my regular source so I won’t know the point spread that’s available to me until game day, which will essentially be the closing line. So I’ll have to wait until then to see if I get the number I need to make a play (wager). At the bottom of my write-ups, I submit the number I’ll need to make a play, and how that number compares to the current line.
Can a team let down in only the second week of the season? I think so. I don’t think it will matter much in terms of who wins the game, but it could affect the final score. The Buckeyes have TCU on the schedule after this game, which represents what most would consider to be their first real test. They’re past the anticipation and uncertainty of the season opener, which they won easily and looked good in the process. Now comes a Rutgers team that the Buckeyes shellacked last season, 56-0. But then, this is the conference opener and HC Urban Meyer is back in charge of practice, if not on game day. So, I could be wrong about this being a “sandwich” game. But I’m going to stick with idea that Ohio St. gets off to a sluggish start, which in this matchup means that the game will not be completely out of reach by the end of the first quarter. Rutgers played well in their opener, although the talent level of their opponent is questionable. They have some playmakers on offense and freshman QB Artur Sitkowski looked good enough. It’s a tall order for a frosh to come into Ohio Stadium and play well, so I’m expecting a few interceptions. But I also think he’ll help his team move the ball on occasions and even turn in a few scoring drives. I think Rutgers will be coming into this game not so much with expectations of winning, but to be inspired to come out with some positives. I figure Ohio St. to start out flat and turn the ball over a couple of times and kill some drives with penalties. But, flat or not, I still have the Buckeyes winning comfortably. Ohio St. has too much depth and too many playmakers on offense for Rutgers to keep up for four quarters. Eventually the pass rush is going to force turnovers and those playmakers are going to turn in some big scoring plays, which add up pretty quick on the scoreboard.
As of now, Ohio St. is favored by 34.5 points, which is pretty close to how I see it so I won’t be wagering on this game.
My method is to begin making my predictions for the upcoming week on Sunday while Saturday’s games are still fresh in my mind. I don’t look at the Vegas point spreads until I’m done handicapping all of the games. If the point spread that I predict for a particular game differs from the closing line by seven or more points, I consider it a “play”,—i.e. a game that I would wager on. If the difference is less than seven points, I back off. I’ll also back off if a report comes out during the week (after I’ve already handicapped the game) that there is an issue involving the starting quarterback (an injury I did not know about) or the head coach (health issues, scandal, etc.).