NCAA Football: Oregon Ducks vs. Ohio State Buckeyes Preview, Prediction & Odds -- Sept. 11, 2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: NoonET, Sept. 11, 2021
Venue: Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH
Where to watch: FOX

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings: Ohio State -14; O/U 62.5; Ohio State -630, Oregon +450
BetMGM: Ohio State -14; O/U 62.5; Ohio State -588, Oregon +420
Caesars: Ohio State -14; O/U 62.5; Ohio State -650, Oregon +450

Season record
Oregon: 1-0
Ohio State: 1-0 (1-0)

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Oregon - Ohio State preview and analysis

Recent form
Oregon: won 31-24 vs. Fresno State on Sept. 4
Ohio State: won 45-31 at Minnesota on Sept. 2

The Oregon Ducks did, in fact, overlook the Fresno State Bulldogs last week.

Understandable that their minds were focused on this big showdown with the Ohio State Buckeyes, who come home to Columbus after a scare of their own; 45-31 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

But while the Buckeyes’ big plays carried them in the final 20 minutes against the Minnesota Golden Gophers, returning home 1-0 with three home games upcoming is something they’ll take every time.

No doubt that the reigning Pac-12 champions should look much better for this game than against the Bulldogs at Autzen Stadium. The Ducks had a 21-6 lead with 1:16 left in the first half, only for Fresno State to storm back and eventually take the lead with 13:03 remaining.

If not for Anthony Brown’s game-winning run with less than three minutes to go, this matchup would have fallen off the pecking order. But with Oregon likely moving up to the top-10 after Monday, it’s going to be a matchup all eyes are on for College Football Playoff (CFP) implications.

But Oregon is dealing with some issues coming in. For one, we don’t know if that team really was Oregon that played last week, or if Fresno State is shockingly better than the country anticipated.

More importantly, the anchor of this defense, defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, is questionable with a left ankle injury after leaving the game at halftime. Even though the Ducks got to Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener four times, it’s a much more dangerous unit when the potential top-10 draft pick in 2022 is wreaking havoc at the line of scrimmage. Nobody really carries that kind of impact with them.

Oregon’s running game will need to take advantage of how badly Minnesota gashed Ohio State’s run defense, and that might be the biggest hope for head coach Mario Cristobal. Mohamed Ibrahim ran for 163 yards and two touchdowns for the Gophers as Minnesota accumulated over 200 yards on the ground. Oregon’ running backs CJ Verdell and Travis Dye combined for 138 yards on 31 carries with two touchdowns. Brown also got involved in the running game with 56 yards and a touchdown.

Other than Ohio State’s leaky run defense, every other hole at the bottom of the boat is clogged for last year’s national championship runner-ups. C.J. Stroud passed for nearly 300 yards and four touchdowns in his debut that took only 22 pass attempts. Most of those didn’t come until the Buckeyes made their run, but Miyan Williams still ran for 125 yards and a touchdown, and Chris Olave caught two touchdowns to go with 117 yards.


OSU has won eight of its last nine non-conference games and have averaged 45.7 points per game in those matchups. The last time a top-10 team came to the Horseshoe was that last non-conference loss; Sept. 9, 2017, the night Baker Mayfield planted the Oklahoma flag at midfield. Ohio State should clean up the run defense, force some turnovers, while trying to be active early on offense. Ohio State wins 42-24.

Betting trends

Ohio State is 8-2 in the following game after they covered as a double-digit favorite.

The over is 29-13 during Oregon’s first two weeks of the season dating back to 1992.

Players to watch

Oregon: If Thibodeaux can’t go, look for Bradyn Swinson to be tasked with putting pressure on the quarterback. Swinson had one of the four sacks on the day for Oregon against Fresno State.

Ohio State: Garrett Wilson also had a big day catching the football for the Buckeyes, reeling in five for 80 yards and a touchdown. If Oregon puts focus on Chris Olave, look for Wilson to see a lot of single coverage.

Statistical leaders

Passing: Anthony Brown -- 172 yards, 1 TD
Rushing: CJ Verdell -- 74 yards, 1 TD
Receiving: Johnny Johnson Jr. -- 76 yards, 1 TD
Defense: Justin Flowe -- 14 tackles

Ohio State:
Passing: C.J. Stroud -- 294 yards, 4 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Miyan Williams -- 125 yards, 1 TD
Receiving: Chris Olave -- 117 yards, 2 TD
Defense: Ronnie Hickman -- 11 tackles

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Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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