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Ohio State vs. Penn State Predictions, Picks & Betting Preview

Jordan Horrobin for Bookies.com

Jordan Horrobin  | 6 mins

Ohio State vs. Penn State Predictions, Picks & Betting Preview

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Ah, what could’ve been. The Big Ten was primed for two top-10 matchups this weekend, but they’ll settle for one after Penn State’s nine-overtime loss to lowly Illinois.

The Nittany Lions fell to No. 20 in the Associated Press poll, and now they’ll face No. 5 Ohio State on Saturday in the Buckeyes’ first crack at a ranked opponent since Week 2. The game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. ET at Ohio Stadium.

Penn State, looking to avoid a third consecutive loss, comes in as an 18.5-point underdog on the college football odds table. A win for the Buckeyes would keep them in the thick of the playoff conversation. Check out our college football picks for this matchup below.

Odds are current as of publication. Betting sites may indicate odds changes closer to kickoff.

5 Keys to Ohio State vs Penn State

Bitter defeats: Ohio State’s 35-28 loss to Oregon in Week 2 feels like eons ago, but Penn State’s disappointing defeats are much more recent. The Nittany Lions lost by three to then-No. 3 Iowa back on Oct. 9 and followed that with a 20-18 loss to Illinois last time out.

No-fly zone: Yes, it was just Illinois, but Penn State held its opponent to 38 passing yards last week. On the year, the Nittany Lions own the 15th-best pass defense in the nation (178 pass yards allowed per game), which should affect Ohio State’s game plan.

TreVeyon, touchdown machine: Speaking of that game plan, expect to see a lot of Ohio State’s TreVeyon Henderson. The freshman running back has 14 total touchdowns this season — as many as the next two Buckeyes combined — including 11 on the ground. He’s averaging 8.8 yards per carry and has six touchdowns in his past two games.

Dotson on point: If the Nittany Lions can pull this off, or at least keep things close, expect Jahan Dotson to light up the box score. Last year, he had eight catches for 144 yards and three scores against Ohio State. He leads Penn State with 49 catches, 563 yards and six touchdowns this season.

Ground game a no-go: Penn State is averaging just 19.5 points per game in four conference matchups this season, so scoring of any kind has been difficult. The run game figures to have a particularly challenging time this weekend, given that Ohio State hasn’t allowed a rushing touchdown since Week 2. Meanwhile, Penn State is averaging a pedestrian 3.5 yards per rush this season.

Ohio State vs. Penn State Weather Forecast

Columbus, Ohio, will be rainy on Saturday, but it’s expected to dry up by kickoff. Expect mid-50s temperatures and perhaps a bit of a slick field.

Ohio State vs Penn State Moneyline

At home, on the rise and facing a team that hasn’t won in four weeks, Ohio State makes all the sense in the world on the moneyline. Their college football betting value at -1050 is infinitesimal, but it’s still the way you should go.

Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day said Monday he thinks he’s got a “different team” than he had during the first few weeks of the season, and we believe him. Bet it at DraftKings.

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Ohio State vs Penn State Point Spread

Both teams have been fairly successful against the spread this season, with the Buckeyes boasting a 4-2-1 record compared to the Nittany Lions’ 4-3 mark. The 18.5-point spread sportsbooks have laid out for this one is much larger than Penn State has seen in recent history (they were 10-point underdogs in last year’s 38-25 loss to Ohio State).

A main point of concern for the Nittany Lions is an inability to keep up with Ohio State’s high-octane offense. A track meet isn’t likely to bode well for a Penn State team that scored 18 points over four quarters (plus nine overtimes) against Illinois. We like Ohio State against the spread at BetMGM.

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Ohio State vs Penn State Totals

As we just stated, Penn State’s offense is a glaring concern for the 60.5-point total this game is seeing on betting apps. But Ohio State, which has seen the over hit in four of its past five games, can cover most (if not all) of that total itself. After all, the Buckeyes are averaging 58 points per game this month. Roll with the Over at FanDuel.

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About the Author

Jordan Horrobin for Bookies.com
Jordan Horrobin
Jordan Horrobin has created sports betting content since 2019, covering everything from the NFL to KBO. Based in Toronto, he has written for MLB.com, The Athletic and Sportsnet.