Heralded quarterback Justin Fields is set to make his first college start on Saturday when his fifth-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes host the Florida Atlantic Owls in the teams' season opener at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. A five-star recruit and the No. 2 overall player in the 2018 class, Fields played in 12 games last season at Georgia, completing 27 of 39 passes for 328 yards and four touchdowns, before transferring to Ohio State in the offseason. He takes over the starting job from Dwayne Haskins, who left Columbus early for the NFL. Fields & Co. will face a Florida Atlantic squad, led by Lane Kiffin, that went 5-7 last year. Kickoff is set for noon ET. The Buckeyes are favored by 27.5 points in the latest Ohio State vs. FAU odds, while the over-under for total points scored is 64. Before making any Ohio State vs. Florida Atlantic 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 134 of 252 college football picks against the spread. And he is on a stunning run in games involving Ohio State. Dating back two years, Oh is a perfect 12-0 picking Buckeyes games, and anyone who has followed his lead is way up.
Now, Oh has crunched the numbers and generated a strong point-spread selection for Ohio State vs. FAU. It's available only at SportsLine.
Oh knows that Ohio State has one of the best running backs in the country in J.K. Dobbins. The junior from La Grange, Texas, has 2,456 rushing yards and 17 rushing touchdowns entering his third season in Columbus. He ranks eighth among current players in career rushing yards. With last season's backfield mate, Mike Weber, now with the Dallas Cowboys, Dobbins will be counted on even more this season.
Oh also knows that Ohio State's defense should be much improved from last season. Last year the Buckeyes ranked 10th in the Big Ten and 72nd nationally in yards allowed per game (403.4). They also were seventh in the conference and 51st nationally in points allowed per game (25.5). This year, with nine starters and five seniors back from that side of the ball, Ohio State has the most experienced defense in the Big Ten.
But just because the Buckeyes have the talent advantage does not guarantee they will cover the Ohio State vs. FAU spread.
Oh has factored in that Florida Atlantic will be facing a rebuilt Ohio State offensive line. The Buckeyes are replacing four starters on the line and seven on offense overall. The Owls' defensive tackle rotation of Kevin McCrary, William Davis and Marcel Southall has experience and could pose problems for the new Ohio State personnel.
Plus, Florida Atlantic linebacker Rashad Smith is a tackling machine. Though he's listed at just 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, Smith has 185 tackles over the last two seasons. Quick, athletic and experienced, he sets the tone for a defense that has a new coordinator this season, Glenn Spencer.
Oh has analyzed this matchup and while we can tell you he's leaning over, 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 Florida Atlantic 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 Florida Atlantic vs. Ohio State spread you need to jump all over Saturday, all from the data scientist who's hit 12 straight Buckeyes picks.