Former Ohio State Buckeyes coach Luke Fickell returns to Columbus, Ohio, and Ohio Stadium on Saturday when his new team -- the Cincinnati Bearcats -- take on the fifth-ranked Buckeyes. An Ohio State graduate, Fickell spent 15 seasons as a coach in Columbus -- including the 2011 season as head coach after Jim Tressel was fired -- before taking the Cincinnati job in December 2016. Fickell's Bearcats (1-0) are coming off a 24-14 victory over UCLA in Cincinnati. Meanwhile, Ohio State (1-0) opened the season with a 45-21 win over Florida Atlantic in the first game for new head coach Ryan Day and quarterback Justin Fields. Kickoff is at noon ET. The Buckeyes are 15.5-point favorites in the latest Ohio State vs. Cincinnati odds, while the over-under for total points scored is 52.5. Before making any Ohio State vs. Cincinnati picks of your own, be sure to check out the college football predictions from SportsLine data scientist Stephen Oh.

The renowned co-founder of Accuscore, Oh simulates each game 10,000 times using the SportsLine projection model. Over the last three seasons, he has nailed 137 of 250 college football picks against the spread. And he is on a stunning run in games involving Ohio State. Dating to September 2017, Oh is a perfect 13-0 picking Buckeyes games, and anyone who has followed him is way up.

Now, he has crunched the numbers and generated a strong point-spread selection for Ohio State vs. Cincinnati. It's available only at SportsLine.

Oh knows that, through one game at Ohio State, Fields has displayed the talent that made him a five-star prospect in the 2018 recruiting class. Last week against the Owls, the ballyhooed transfer from Georgia made an immediate impact, bolting for a 51-yard touchdown run on the team's first series. He finished the game completing 18-of-25 passes for 234 yards and four touchdowns.

In addition, Oh has factored in the improvement of the Buckeyes defense under new co-coordinators Jeff Hafley and Greg Mattison. Already the most experienced unit in the Big Ten with nine starters back, the defense jumped on Florida Atlantic from the opening kickoff, sending the Owls backwards for minus-14 yards in the first half. Ohio State also had one interception and four sacks.

But just because the Buckeyes looked impressive in their season-opener does not guarantee they will cover the Ohio State vs. Cincinnati spread on Saturday.

Oh also has considered that the Bearcats return 14 starters and more than 85 percent of the roster from a 2018 team that went 11-2 and beat Virginia Tech in the Military Bowl. In addition, 10 of Cincinnati's top 15 tacklers are back this season.

The Bearcats arguably will have the better defense on the field on Saturday. Last season, Cincinnati ranked ninth in the country in scoring defense (17.2 points per game), 11th in total defense (303.5 yards per game) and 13th in run defense (113.0 yards per game). Last week against UCLA, Cincinnati picked up where it left off last year, allowing 218 total yards and 62 rushing yards while forcing four turnovers.

Oh has analyzed this matchup and while we can tell you he's leaning under, he has discovered a crucial x-factor that makes one side of the spread a must-back. He's sharing it only at SportsLine.

Who wins Cincinnati vs. Ohio State? And what crucial x-factor causes one side of the spread to hit hard? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Cincinnati vs. Ohio State spread you need to jump all over Saturday, all from the data scientist who's hit 13 straight picks involving the Buckeyes.