Justin Fields begins his 2020 Heisman campaign on Saturday against Nebraska. (Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire)
- Nebraska faces #5 Ohio State in their Big Ten opener from the Horseshoe on Saturday at 12:00pm EST on FOX
- Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields aims to solidify his status as a top pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and potential Heisman winner
- See the game odds, spread and total along with predictions below
Big Ten football begins this week. One of the bigger matchups is the conference is #5 Ohio State hosting Nebaska.
Ohio Stadium is usually packed with over 108,000 fans but things will look much different on Saturday. With only family and staff in attendance there won’t be a true home field advantage. That hasn’t stopped the oddsmakers from listing the Buckeyes as near four-touchdown favorites.
Nebraska vs #5 Ohio State Week 8 Odds
|Nebraska||+26.5 (-109)||+1050||O 66.5 (-113)|
|#5 Ohio State||-26.5 (-112)||-5000||U 66.5 (-108)|
Odds taken October 20th from DraftKings
Adrian Martinez Named Cornhuskers Starting QB
Nebraska head coach Scott Frost decided to go with veteran Adrian Martinez as his starting quarterback to start the season. Martinez beat out redshirt freshman Luke McCaffrey for the position.
Frost didn’t exactly build confidence in Martinez though, as he said “If Luke had already been playing and we had the same camp, it probably would have been Luke”.
The Cornhuskers are massive underdogs and this could be a case of Frost protecting his young quarterback. With a win at Ohio Stadium unlikely anyways, protect the long term asset and pretend Martinez is getting the first crack at the position.
If Adrian Martinez is Nebraska’s QB1, consider Luke McCaffrey QB1B.
— Kevin Sjuts (@kevinsjuts) October 19, 2020
Let’s look deeper into Martinez and his “experience” for one second. He threw for 1,956 yards with 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions last year. Those are hardly numbers worthy of a repeat look.
Consider his game against Ohio State as further evidence he is likely in over his head. Martinez finished the 48-7 loss completing only eight passes for 47 yards while being intercepted three times. It certainly seems as though he may just be keeping the seat warm for McCaffrey who will take over the job early in the season.
Justin Fields Poised for Big Junior Season
The Buckeyes are big favorites for many reasons. Justin Fields is likely going to be the second player selected in the next NFL draft. He’s coming off a Heisman Trophy nomination after throwing for 2,273 yards and 41 touchdowns. He also added 484 yards and 10 scores on the ground.
Fields is a true dual threat and there is buzz coming out of camp that he is set to show off some Braxton Miller-like athleticism in the run game. While Nebraska has all sorts of question marks at quarterback, the Buckeyes do not.
They have one of the best players in the nation throwing to college football’s deepest group of receivers.
The 2020 Heisman Race🏆 pic.twitter.com/yuM9dZr0D6
— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 20, 2020
One area many do wonder about is the run game. Gone is J.K. Dobbins and in come a handful of capable but unproven replacements. OU transfer Trey Sermon will get the first crack with Master Teague III and Steele Chambers next up if he happens to falter.
It’s the first year in a long while the Buckeyes enter the season without a stone cold lock at the running back position. The good thing for Ohio State is they’ll likely be up early in their season opener, which will give them plenty of opportunity to pound the rock and see exactly what they have in the back field.
After watching the likes of Clemson and Alabama steal the headlines for the last six weeks, it’s Ohio State’s turn to enter the conversation. There’s a reason Frost was overly complimentary towards the Buckeyes in his mid-week press conference. He knows what’s coming and it will likely look similar to last year’s 41 point loss.
The spread being so far off of last year’s total shows there is value in this line as long as you bet it before it pushes above four touchdowns.
The Pick: Ohio State Buckeyes -26.5 (-112)
Ryan has been working at TSN for over eleven years, and is now a lead writer and content producer at That’s Hockey. Over the years, he’s launched and hosted TSN’s first NCAAF podcast, The College Football Show, and been featured on the likes of TSN 1050, Sportscentre, and That’s Hockey 2Nite.