Bet of the Day – Miami Hurricanes at Ohio State Buckeyes, Sept. 11, 2010 3:40 ET

Miami Hurricanes (+8) at Ohio State Buckeyes (-8), Over/Under 46.5

Yesterday’s bet was looking good for about 5 innings, then the Cards fell apart.  Today, we look at the big college football game of the day; Miami Hurricanes at Ohio State Buckeyes.  Both teams sport talented junior quarterbacks, a two-headed running attack, stiff defenses, and both score 45 in their opener.  Expect an exciting game where turnovers and a few big plays may decide the outcome.

Miami opened up with an easy win over Florida A&M.  QB Jacory Harris lead the Miami Hurricanes into the Horseshoe today.  Harris threw for 3352 yards with 24 TDs and 17 INTs in 2009 (140.09 QB rating).  Harris has veteran weapons to use including four dangerous receivers.   [Note: Miami is a bit hampered at running back and Graig Cooper isn’t 100%].  Miami’s athleticism and speed should cause problems for Ohio State.  The unknown for Miami on offense will be their offensive line versus the experienced Ohio State defensive line.  Harris will have to weather the storm early to give Miami a chance today.  On the defensive side of the ball, Miami has two talented defensive ends in Allen Bailey and Oliver Vernon who will put pressure on Ohio State’s QB Terrelle Pryor.  Miami has a good secondary but is vulnerable in if their linebackers have to drop into coverage.

The Buckeyes return 15 starters from 2009 and look strong coming into today’s matchup.  QB Terrelle Pryor has matured.  In 2009, Pryor threw for 2094 yards with 18 TDs and 11 INTs for a 128.91 QB rating (also had 779 yards rushing with 7 rushing TDs).  Like Harris, Pryor has talented weapons, including  senior RB Brandon Saine.  Saine is explosive and needs a few big plays tonight.  The Ohio State offensive line is solid but the faster Miami defense will challenge them.  The Ohio State defense returns 6 starters.  The Buckeyes stop the run.  With Miami’s running back woes, this may force Miami to throw more than they want.  Jacory Harris has had some road woes and if forced into passing situations we may see some turnovers.

Using the Sagarin Ratings, Ohio State  89.33 and Miami  75.68 and assuming the 3.01 home advantage, Ohio State is a 16.65 point favorite.

I also simulated the game using my football model.  The model resulted with Ohio State 28.41 to Miami 22.37 for 50.78 total points  Assuming a home point advantage of 2 points, I put the fair line exactly where the bookmakers do at Ohio State -8.  Reviewing the model data, both teams have potent offenses.  But the difference is on defense, the Buckeyes have a stiff run defense while Miami allowed 140 yards per game last year.  The biggest variance contributor in the model is Miami’s passing offense.  They averaged 273 yards per game last year (excluding the bowl game).  If they cannot pass as effectively today, Ohio State will likely roll.

How to bet the 8 point line on this game?  If it were 7, I would more easily say Buckeyes.  I don’t like to bet favorites but I am still going to say Buckeyes.  Here is why.  Though talented, Miami and Harris have had road problems.  Miami’s beat up running game faces a very good run defense.  This puts much more pressure on Harris to throw for yards (he is interception prone).  The Buckeyes will be able to run the ball and the Pryor wildcard makes them even tougher.  Pryor will get enough time today and the Buckeyes will show they are the better team.  Bet on the Ohio State Buckeyes -8.  Follow me on Twitter for all of my picks.  Good Luck!

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