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Week 1: Marshall vs. Ohio State Preview & Pick

Marshall vs Ohio St. Gambling Preview + Predictions

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Date/Time: Thursday September 2 – 7:30PM
Venue: Ohio Stadium
Marshall  (0-0) vs. Ohio St. (0-0) Lines
MoneyLine: Buckeyes vs Thundering Herd NO Money Lines Yet
CFB betting favorite: Ohio State -28.5
Over/Under: 47.5
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The Marshall Thundering Herd are seeking an identity in Conference USA. They used to be able to attract top talent spurned by other programs (i.e Randy Moss) and spent some time laying the wood in the MAC, but in C-USA they have been decidedly below average.

They won 7 games last year but haven’t won more than that since 2003 and last year was the first year since then that they had a winning record.

While most C-USA teams try and outscore you, Marshall has the opposite approach. Last year they were third in the conference in scoring defense at only 23.1 ppg. Although that average is helped by playing in the East Division and avoiding schools like Houston it is also in keeping with their West Viginian black and blue heritage.

They play a style of running the ball, playing good defense and not committing too many penalties or turnovers. This might yield the occasional upset in conference but it is going to be much harder to stun a team as good as Ohio State – which plays the same way but with much better talent.

Marshall has had some recent drama as phenom QB recruit Willy Korn just transferred out of the program. After washing out at Clemson he hoped to scoop up the staring QB gig but the coach wanted to move him to safety. He is now at a D2 school.

If he has been in the lineup I might have given Marshall a better shop at shocking with an upset (he was considered uber talented at one point after all), but without him the Thundering Herd lack anybody who could bridge the gap between these sqauds for a critical play or too.

They will fight hard but it won’t be enough.

Ohio St.

Many are touting this year’s Buckeyes as BCS Championship material but I just don’t see it. Sure the path through the Big Ten is easier than some other conferences but it seems as if the talent this year is a bit below OSU standards and that there are some definite landmines in the conference this year (like Iowa and Wisconsin).

Unless Terrelle Pryor becomes Vince Young I see two losses on their resume…but not this week.

I guess the reason I am not buying OSU is that I really don’t think Pryor is improving all that much. I’m sure that he will have a very good performance in the opener against a mediocre Thundering Herd squad but his performance against Oregon last year seems to be the exception rather than the rule. I keep going back to last year’s game against USC at the Horsheshoe.

It was a real ugly game and OSU needed someone to step up and make a play….he didn’t. He just seems like a guy who is never really in the flow. Athletically he has few peers but it doesn’t equal performance enough.

Flow or not OSU should breeze through Marshall in this opening week tuneup. The only cause for concern would be turnovers but even if Marshall can take the ball away from the Buckeyes they still have to find ways to advance the ball against one of the nation’s stingier defenses.

In the past the Thundering Herd has had some fabulous playmakers but this is not one of their better offensive teams.

The Pick:

If I had to make a play in this one I would back the Thundering Herd. 28.5 points seems like a lot in the matchup for week one when there is still a lot to be sorted out. Mostly I want to take a pass.

College Football Gambling Trends

Marshall is 4-2 ATS on grass the last three years.
Marshall is 12-23 ATS in September since 1993.
Marshall is 4-1 ATS in their last five road games.
Ohio State is 4-0 ATS in last four non-conference games.
Ohio State is 5-1 ATS in their last 5 home games.
Under is 4-0 in last 4 conference games.

Marshall vs. Ohio St. Score Prediction: Ohio State 35 – Marshall 7 (That half point is prickly for me)

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