College football line movement: Ohio State gets early love

·4 min read

Welcome to the last week of regular season college football. Conference championship games are next weekend, but this week will help decide who plays in those games. Needless to say, these are important games for the playoff landscape. For teams not near the top, bowl eligibility is still up for grabs in plenty of games across the weekend. 

It's an action-packed weekend of football. There are two college games on Thursday to complement the NFL games. There's a very large slate Friday because of the extended weekend. We have our normal Saturday slate as well. Of course, the NFL wraps things up on Sunday and into Monday. What's the market saying about this weekend's college slate?

Ohio State getting early love

The biggest game of the weekend and arguably the whole season takes place Saturday in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The winner between Ohio State and Michigan will clinch a spot in the Big Ten championship game while the loser's playoff dreams will likely come to a screeching halt. 

The Buckeyes are 8.5-point favorites in this game, up a point from the opening line. The total for the game is also up a point, currently sitting at 64.5. 

COLUMBUS, OHIO - NOVEMBER 20: Chris Olave #2 of the Ohio State Buckeyes celebrates with teammates after a touchdown during the first half of a game against the Michigan State Spartans at Ohio Stadium on November 20, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
Chris Olave is one of three dynamic wide receivers who can break a game open for Ohio State. (Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

It's no surprise to see Ohio State getting the early love. The offense has been out of this world in its last two games against Purdue and Michigan State. If the offense can perform anywhere near that level, it'll be nearly impossible for Michigan to keep up. 

Of course, there's also the fact that Ohio State has owned this rivalry in recent years. Jim Harbaugh has never beaten the Buckeyes as head coach of the Wolverines. Ohio State has won eight straight games in this series with an average margin of victory of 14.4 points. In the last two meetings, Ohio State has outscored Michigan 118-66. 

Adrian Martinez's absence crashes Nebraska

Is Nebraska the best 3-8 team of all time? It very well might be.

Nebraska opened as a 3.5-point favorite against Iowa in its season finale. Once the news hit that the Huskers would be without quarterback Adrian Martinez, the line came crashing down. Currently, Iowa is a 1.5-point favorite.

The total for this game has also come crashing down. After opening at 44.5 points, the total for Iowa-Nebraska is down to 41.

Martinez has compiled some stats this year despite them not leading to wins. He's prone to mistakes, which often hurt Nebraska. Starting in his place will be redshirt freshman Logan Smothers. Smothers has completed 7-of-11 passes this season for 119 yards. 

Notre Dame looks to continue its march

Notre Dame is now ranked sixth in the playoff rankings and you can't rule out the possibility of it sneaking into the playoff if everything breaks right. The Irish are also on some kind of roll. 

Over their last three games, they have outscored opposition by a combined score of 117-9. In their most recent game, the Fighting Irish stomped Georgia Tech 55-0. 

 It seems like the market is expecting the dominance to continue. Notre Dame is currently an 18.5-point favorite over Stanford, up from the opening line of 17. 

Bowl eligibility angle not helping Syracuse

Syracuse has had two chances to become bowl-eligible. Instead, it has been outscored by a combined score of 82-20 against Louisville and N.C. State. Syracuse has a third chance this weekend when it hosts Pittsburgh.

You would think a team like Syracuse that didn't have high expectations entering the season would be motivated to become bowl-eligible. However, that narrative is often overrated by bettors. The market seems to agree this week. 

After opening as a 10.5-point underdog, Syracuse is now a 13-point home underdog against Pittsburgh. It's been a rough stretch for the Orange and Pittsburgh is the favorite to win the ACC. 

Which Florida school will become bowl-eligible?

Two proud programs in the state of Florida will play this weekend and the only thing on the line is bowl eligibility. 

After opening the season with an 0-4 record, Florida State has won five of its last seven games, including back-to-back solid wins over Miami and Boston College. Things seem to be trending in the right direction for the Seminoles.

The same can't be said about the Florida Gators. In fact, it cost Dan Mullen his job. Florida has lost five of seven games, with its only two wins during that stretch coming against Vanderbilt and Samford. 

Despite the recent trends, Florida is the favorite. In fact, the market seems to be backing the Gators as well. Florida is now a 2.5-point favorite over Florida State. The market opened with the Gators as a one-point favorite.