These two Ohio universities will meet for only the fourth time ever and the first time since 2011 when the Toledo Rockets head south to Columbus to face the Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday.
Both teams are entering this matchup at 2-0 on the season but have faced drastically different levels of competition. Toledo took down FCS opponent Long Island University and FBS bottom feeder UMass. Meanwhile, Ohio State defeated Notre Dame and Arkansas State. Will Toledo be able to handle this massive jump in competition level?
Find out in our free college football betting picks and predictions for Toledo vs. Ohio State on Saturday, September 17.
Toledo vs Ohio State best odds
Toledo vs Ohio State picks and predictions
It’s hard to say that just because Toledo has dominated its first two games that the Rockets are serious contenders that can threaten the likes of Ohio State. However, it is also unfair to dismiss those two victories just because they came against bad teams. You can only play what your opponent puts in front of you and Toledo did that impressively.
Regardless of the competition, an average score of 46-5 through two games is worthy of praise. Returning dual-threat quarterback Dequan Finn was efficient last year with 18 touchdowns and only two interceptions. He also added nine rushing touchdowns. In the first two games this season, Finn has three passing touchdowns, one interception, and three rushing touchdowns.
Despite losing its second- and third-leading receivers from last season to transfer — and its leading receiver to injury in pregame warmups in Week 1 — Toledo has some big play threats in the passing game. Tight end Jamal Turner is averaging 29.0 yards per catch and wide receiver Jerjuan Newton is averaging 20.0 yards per catch through two games. Toledo is also expected to get Devin Maddox, who averaged 13.8 yards per catch last season, back at full strength this week.
Ohio State’s defense will be a massive step up in competition for the Toledo offense, as the Buckeyes have only allowed one touchdown thus far this season. However, they have yet to force a turnover and Toledo excels at holding onto the football. Last year, the Rockets tied for second in the nation at fewest giveaways per game. If Toledo protects the football, it will be able to put some points on the board with the balanced attack that Finn provides.
The big question is, will Finn get enough protection to air the ball downfield? Ohio State has recorded five sacks through two games and will be a menace to several offenses this season. The good news for Toledo is that its O-line has seen very little turnover from a year ago. Finn's linemen have been able to keep him clean, with only one sack allowed through two games.
If you do not turn the ball over, you should be able to cover a massive spread, even against major competition like Ohio State. Toledo will protect the ball and be able to move it enough to put up double-digit points. I just cannot see Ohio State scoring 42 points or more on this tough defense unless it becomes a blow-by-blow slugfest. The points are just too much for an efficient MAC team that will compete for the conference title.
My best bet: Toledo +32 (-107 at PointsBet)
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Toledo vs Ohio State betting preview
I spent most of my focus on the Toledo offense against the Ohio State defense, but you also can't ignore the Toledo defense. It has a little bit of a secret weapon against Ohio State with former Buckeyes linebacker Dallas Gant. He transferred into Toledo after three seasons as a backup at Ohio State and is the Rockets' leading tackler through two games.
Toledo also has an impact player at outside linebacker with Jamal Hines. He was first-team all-MAC last season and is second on the team in tackles and has two for loss. Ohio State has allowed two sacks in the first two games, so Toledo may be able to pressure C.J. Stroud enough to help prevent big plays.
The Buckeyes seem on a mission to limit TreVeyon Henderson’s workload early in the season. Last year, he had a 72/28 split with Miyan Williams in carries. Through two games this year, they share a 53/47 split. Also, top wideout, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, is questionable with a hamstring injury and will likely be held out.
Toledo may not have any proof that it can hang with the elites thus far this year, but the Rockets only lost at Notre Dame by three points in Week 2 in 2021. Ohio State also struggles to cover the spread against non-conference foes and is 1-6 against the spread in its last seven games out of the Big 10.
Not a huge fan of the total because this game could go either way Under or way Over. If Toledo is not putting points on the board, then we may see a similar game to the Ohio State/Notre Dame Week 1 grind. However, if Toledo is getting into the endzone often, then we may see a little more of a shootout.
There is just not much room in between and I do not see one scenario much more likely than the other to give a confident pick on the total. But if forced to pick, I would lean on the Under.
Neither team turns the ball over and neither team is great at forcing turnovers. This may be a very clean game, where both teams are able to move the ball, but struggle to punch it in. I also strongly believe that if Toledo is struggling to score on offense, then Ohio State will likely not try to run it up on offense to stay healthy and fresh before they kick off their Big Ten schedule and run for a national title bid.
Toledo vs Ohio State game info
• Location: Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH
• Date: Saturday, September 17, 2022
• Kick-off: 7:00 p.m. ET
• TV: FOX
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Toledo vs Ohio State betting trend to know
Ohio State is 1-6 ATS in its last seven games against a non-conference opponent. Find more NCAA betting trends for Toledo vs. Ohio State.