Navy-Ohio State Odds

Columbus, OH - With one of the nation's most talented tailbacks and one of the top defenses to rely on, Terrelle Pryor wasn't asked to carry Ohio State as a freshman in 2008.

Bet College Football Week 1

That didn't stop Pryor from showing that he could.

This season, the multi-talented quarterback will be the focal point of the sixth-ranked Buckeyes' offense from the start as Ohio State opens Saturday afternoon against visiting Navy.

Oddsmakers from online sports book have made Ohio State -22 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 71% of bets for this game have been placed on  Ohio State -22 (View College Football bet percentages).

Pryor was seen as the Buckeyes' future when he came to Columbus last season, and the nation's top recruit was not expected to contribute much to a team that had played in the past two BCS championship games.

Instead, senior starting QB Todd Boeckman struggled and coach Jim Tressel turned to Pryor after a 35-3 loss to then-top-ranked Southern California on Sept. 13.

With Ohio State boasting Chris Wells in the backfield and the nation's seventh-ranked scoring defense at 13.1 points per game, Pryor didn't need to carry the load offensively, but he showed flashes of brilliance nonetheless. He threw for four touchdowns in his first start Sept. 20 against Troy, and led the Buckeyes (10-3) to road wins over a pair of ranked opponents in October.

Pryor couldn't help Ohio State end its BCS skid, however, completing five of 13 passes for 66 yards in a 24-21 loss to Texas in the Fiesta Bowl. The Buckeyes, who fell to ninth in the final Top 25, lost in a BCS bowl for the third straight year.

They are three spots higher in the poll to begin 2009 largely because of Pryor, the Big Ten's preseason offensive player of the year. Seven offensive starters are gone, including Wells and receivers Brian Robiskie and Brian Hartline, leaving the pressure on Pryor to produce.

"I think he accepts that,'' offensive lineman Andrew Moses said. "If you're a quarterback at a university like this you're going to know that's going to be a part of the deal. Terrelle just wants to be the best player he can be for his team. I don't know if he's really nervous about it. He doesn't show it.''

Ohio State starts another season of high expectations with its first game against Navy (8-5) since a 31-28 win in the 1981 Liberty Bowl.

Pryor has been compared with Vince Young, who guided Texas to a stunning victory over USC in the 2006 Rose Bowl to win the BCS title. Tressel, though, feels Pryor will progress more like someone he knows well - Ohio State's 2006 Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith.

"He'll evolve every year from that standpoint, not unlike Troy,'' Tressel said. " Troy's first year, he was a 600-, 700-yard rusher. Then he was a 500, and his last year around 175 because he got more experienced and he knew more about coverage and knew more about checking down and all those things. Terrelle has a lot more experience than Troy had at the outset, so I'd like to think he'll grow into that mold.''

Seven defensive starters return for the Buckeyes, but the losses will be evident. Gone are cornerback Malcolm Jenkins, a first-round draft pick, and linebackers James Laurinaitis and Marcus Freeman. To make matters worse, junior linebacker Tyler Moeller will miss the season as he recovers from an off-field accident.

The resulting lack of experience at that position will put additional pressure on a defensive line anchored by end Thaddeus Gibson, and that unit will be tested right away. Navy had the nation's No. 1 rushing attack for the fourth straight year in 2008, gaining an average of 298.3 yards per game with their triple-option attack.

Midshipmen leading rushers Shun White and Eric Kettani have graduated, though, and so has quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada, leaving the offense in the hands of junior Ricky Dobbs.

That might be a good thing, considering Dobbs came to Navy as one of the service academy's most highly touted quarterbacks in recent memory. Last season, Dobbs played occasionally in relief and started one game, yet finished third on the team with 495 yards rushing and second with eight touchdowns.

Starting Saturday in Columbus, he'll get a chance to show what he can do as the starter.

"There is something special about Ricky. Players, coaches, fans, they just love this kid,'' Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said. "I think our team will rally around Ricky as our leader.''

Dobbs, while a talented runner, also has a strong arm, something he hopes to get a chance to display.

"I would love to throw the ball on every down,'' Dobbs said.

Seven starters return from the Midshipmen defense, which allowed 21.4 points per game last season - 14.4 fewer than in 2007.

Betting Trends:
OHIO ST is 107-78 ATS (+21.2 Units) when playing on a Saturday since 1992.

NAVY is 16-6 ATS (+9.4 Units) as an underdog of 21.5 to 31 points since 1992.

NAVY is 104-73 ATS (+23.7 Units) in all games since 1992.

NAVY is 104-73 ATS (+23.7 Units) in all lined games since 1992.

NAVY is 68-43 ATS (+20.7 Units) as an underdog since 1992.

NAVY is 15-3 ATS (+11.7 Units) as a road underdog of 21.5 or more points since 1992.

NAVY is 52-22 ATS (+27.8 Units) in road games since 1992.

NAVY is 52-22 ATS (+27.8 Units) in road lined games since 1992.

NAVY is 97-67 ATS (+23.3 Units) when playing on a Saturday since 1992.

NAVY is 52-23 ATS (+26.7 Units) in road games in games played on a grass field since 1992.

NAVY is 55-24 ATS (+28.6 Units) in road games in non-conference games since 1992.

NAVY: 40-15 ATS as road underdog
OHIO ST: 4-7 ATS as home favorite
Key Player Injuries

No significant injuries.


No significant injuries.

Bet College Football Week 1

Posted: 9/1/09 2:44PM ET

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