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Ohio State Arkansas Spread Line and Sugar Bowl Predictions

This year’s Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, LA at the Louisiana Superdome on Tuesday January 4 (8:30pm ET) will feature the number 6-ranked Buckeyes of Ohio State (11-1) out of the Big-10 squaring off against the 8th -ranked Arkansas Razorbacks (10-2) from the SEC. This game features two of the more exciting quarterbacks in college football in Ohio State’s dual-threat Terrelle Pryor and Arkansas’ gunslinger Ryan Mallett.

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Ohio State’s defense has been the strength of the team, ranking 2nd in total yards per game allowed with 251.6, 3rd in points per game allowed with 13.3 and 3rd in rushing defense with 95.3. Pryor leads the offense, passing for 2,551 yards this season and running for 639 more for an offense that averaged 39.4 points per game, 11th in the country, and 450.8 yards per game to rank 21st in the nation. Tailback Daniel Herron is the Buckeye’s leading rusher with 1,068 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground, and he and Pryor will both be playing in this game despite NCAA-mandated suspensions that they will have to serve at the beginning of next season. It remains to be seen how much of a distraction the controversy will prove to be for Ohio State in this game.

The Razorbacks are led offensively by Mallett who averages 338.4 yards per game passing and is a classic pro-style, drop-back passer. The Razorback offense is one of the most explosive in the country, averaging 491.1 YPG ranking 8th in the nation, and 37.3 PPG ranking 14th in the country. Most of those yards come through the air for Mallett and company, as they rank in the bottom half of all FBS schools running the football with 152.7 YPG on the ground. The Arkansas’ defense allowed 22.8 PPG this season, and was strong against the pass raking 18th in the nation with 182.3 YPG allowed through the air. In their game against Heisman Trophy-winner Cameron Newton, a dual-threat QB similar to Pryor, the Razorbacks gave up 65 points and 470 yards of total offense, 130 yards and more than 43 points above their average.

Ohio State has never defeated an SEC team in a bowl game in nine tries, and the Buckeyes are 1-2 in the Sugar Bowl, their last appearance coming in 1999 when they defeated Texas A&M 24-14. They played an SEC for the National Title at the Superdome in 2008, when they lost 38-24 to LSU. Ohio State is 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games against the SEC, but they are 8-0 ATS in their last 8 non-conference games, and 6-2 ATS in their last 8 bowl games. Arkansas is 16-5 ATS when playing a team with a winning record and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 bowl games. The under is 7-0 in Arkansas’ last 7 bowl games and the under is 5-2 in Ohio State’s last 7 neutral site games.

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Ohio State vs. Arkansas Spread, Line and Betting Odds:

Spread:

Ohio State Buckeyes -3
@ Arkansas Razorbacks +3

Game Total:

Over 57 (-110)
Under 57 (-110)

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Ohio State vs. Arkansas Prediction for Sugar Bowl:

Spread Prediction (Top Play) – The Buckeyes are the better team and should be able to hold Mallett in check, at least as well as any team has this season. The Razorback defense has been very mediocre against the run this season, and will likely struggle against the Buckeyes who rank 14th in the country with 221.7 rushing yards per game. Ohio Stare will be by far the best defense Mallett has seen all season, and he has been known to struggle when facing top defenses.

PREDICTION (TOP PLAY) – Ohio State -3

Over/Under Prediction – Take the under here with Ohio State running the football and playing tough defense, they should be able to control the tempo of the game and keep the Razorback offense in check to a large degree. Arkansas is not going to be able to move the ball all over the field the way they are used to, and they may struggle with protection due to Ohio State’s physical defensive line led by Cameron Heyward. Expect far less scoring that either team is used to in this game.

PREDICTION – Under 57

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