COLUMBUS — Ohio State’s season opener against Florida Atlantic is still more than two months away, but the betting line has been set.
Ryan Day will make his full-time head coaching debut at Ohio Stadium on Aug. 31, and the Buckeyes will be a 26-point favorite over Lane Kiffin and the Owls, per BetOnline.ag.
This will be the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
After an 11-3 campaign in 2017, Florida Atlantic is coming off a disappointing 5-7 season in which it didn’t make a bowl game. But the Owls are expected to take a step forward in Kiffin’s third season. A new group of transfers, including former Oklahoma quarterback Chris Robison, will lead the Owls.
The Buckeyes, meanwhile, will look to reload after losing Dwayne Haskins to the NFL. The Week One matchup will be the debut of highly-touted quarterback Justin Fields, who transferred to Ohio State in January after one year at Georgia. Fields and J.K Dobbins are expected to be one of the best backfields in the country. Ohio State overhauled its defensive coaching staff, so the opener against Florida Atlantic will be the first glimpse at the new-look defense under c0-coordinators Greg Mattison and Jeff Hafley.
The Buckeyes covered the spread in last season’s opener when they were a 40-point favorite and beat Oregon State 77-31 at home. They went on to be just 6-8 against the spread last season, though, on their way to a Rose Bowl win over Washington. The Owls were 4-8 against the spread a season ago.
Ohio State has scored at least 40 points in each of its last four openers.
The Buckeyes and Owls will kick off Aug. 31 at noon on FOX.
Notable Week One spreads
UCLA (+4) @ Cincinnati
Wisconsin (-10) @ South Florida
Purdue (-9.5) @ Nevada
South Alabama (+32.5) @ Nebraska
Akron (+14.5) @ Illinois
Ball State (+14.5) @ Indiana
Northwestern (+6.5) @ Stanford
Middle Tennessee State (+31) @ Michigan
Miami OH (+21) @ Iowa