Will Ohio State Cover Against Arkansas State? Buckeyes Have Mixed History as a Huge Favorite

Ohio State will win this weekend against Arkansas State. There is almost no doubt about it. In fact, only two 40+ point favorites have lost in the modern era. Never has a Power Five team lost to a non-Power Five team when favored by 40+.

I know what Ohio State fans are thinking — no Michigan was a 33-point favorite when it lost Appalachian St. in 2007. 

So going back to my opening statement, Ohio State will win this weekend. The question is can the Buckeyes cover the spread and win by not just 30 points or 40 points, but by 45 points? There are three key factors in deciding whether it is worthwhile to bet Ohio St. to cover.

How Big is the Ohio State vs. Arkansas State Point Spread?

The lines are staying the same at most online sportsbooks, and what it means is Ohio State has to win by 45 points or more to cover the spread.

Be careful and watch the line. As crazy as it sounds, there is a big difference between 44.5 and 45 if Ohio State shuts out Arkansas State while scoring six touchdowns and a field goal that is exactly 45 points. 

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Ohio State’s History as a Monster Favorite

Since 1997 Ohio State is 5-6 against the spread when it is favored by at least 40 points. Last season Ohio State covered the spread as a 48.5-point favorite by beating Akron 59-7.

Sept. 25, 2021Ohio State 59, Akron 7Ohio State -48.5W
Nov. 16, 2019Ohio State 56, Rutgers 21Ohio State -52L
Nov. 9, 2019Ohio State 73, Maryland 14Ohio State -42.5W
Sept. 1, 2018Ohio State 77, Oregon State 31Ohio State -40W
Nov. 18, 2017Ohio State 52, Illinois 14Ohio State -41L
Sept. 23, 2017Ohio State 54, UNLV 21Ohio State -40.5L
Sept. 12, 2015Ohio State 38, Hawaii 0Ohio State -42.5L
Sept. 21, 2013Ohio State 76, Florida A&M 0Ohio State -51W
Sept. 25, 2010Ohio State 73, Eastern Michigan 20Ohio State -44.5W
Sept. 18, 1999Ohio State 40, Ohio University 16Ohio State -43L
Sept. 13, 1997Ohio State 44, Bowling Green 13Ohio State -40.5L

Ohio State played in two games in 2019 as 40+ point favorites. The Buckeyes went 1-1 against the spread in those two games. The Buckeyes beat Rutgers 56-21 but did not cover the 52-point spread. Just one week before that game, Ohio State won against the spread as 42.5-point favorites in a 73-14 win over Maryland. Those are the three games since Ohio States Ryan Day has been the head coach. 

Even before Day was head coach, in every game where the Buckeyes have been 40+ point favorites, they have won by 24 points or more. Winning is a given, but there is so much variance in winning by 30 points or 50 points. Essentially, it can come down to how good the second and third-string units are.

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Analyzing Ohio State vs. Arkansas State

Arkansas State has a former Power Five head coach in Butch Jones but is coming off a year in which it went 2-10. Arkansas State won its opener, beating a lower division team 58-3. Two key stats from the Red Wolves’ 2021 season is they averaged 25.3 points per game. The second is the only Power Five team they played was a mediocre one in Washington, who beat the Red Wolves 52-3.

Ohio State has one of the highest-powered offenses in the nation and is coming off a big win over Notre Dame 21-10. It was an excellent win for the program, but the offense did not meet its potential in the game. That could be bad news for Arkansas State, which might have some frustrations taken out on them. 

The first team unit will likely put up at least 30 points. Depending on how the defense does, the second- and third-team units will need to put up somewhere between two and four touchdowns. Kyle McCord, the second-string quarterback, is more than capable. He has one of the most promising cores of playmakers in the country, even on the second unit. 

This game will likely see Ohio State score between 50 and 60 points. The defense will need to hold the Red Wolves to two touchdowns or less, and the Buckeyes will likely cover the spread. At the end of the day, Ohio State is about 50/50 against the spread when favored by at least 40 points. This game likely falls on those similar odds as well.

AP Photo/David Dermer

About the Author

Caleb Tallman

Caleb Tallman is a sports betting writer and contributor for Ohio Sharp. With solid experience and a wealth of sports gambling knowledge, whether legal information or betting predictions, Caleb provides everything sports bettors could be looking for.