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Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Penn State Nittany Lions Betting Picks and Predictions

29 October 2020

NCAAF Picks Austyn Varney
Date:Saturday, October 31st
Time:7:30 PM ET
Network:ABC
Venue:Beaver Stadium
Spread:Ohio State -12.5
O/U:62.5

The 1-0 Ohio State Buckeyes (3) will go on the road Saturday night to face off with the 0-1 Penn State Nittany Lions at 7:30 PM ET in Beaver Stadium. You can watch the game on ABC or ESPN3. The Buckeyes come into University Park as 12.5-point road favorites and we’re expecting plenty of points with a 63.5 over/under. The Buckeyes have championship aspirations while Penn State is looking to recover after a devastating loss. A victory over Ohio State would certainly put them in an interesting discussion, so they have plenty to play for as well. Let’s dive into how this game will go down and who will end up covering the spread. 

  • Ohio State is 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games.
  • Penn State is 2-4 ATS in their last 6 games.
  • The total has gone OVER in 7 of Ohio State’s last 9 games played in week 9.
  • The total has gone OVER in 6 of Penn State’s last 8 games played in week 9.

When The Ohio State Buckeyes Have The Ball

The Buckeyes came out with a bang in week one against Nebraska, covering the 28-point spread in route to a 52-17 victory. The Ohio State offense put up nearly 500 total yards of offense and the defense turnover over Nebraska twice. It wasn’t a perfect game for the Buckeyes, however, as Nebraska ran for 210 yards and nearly six yards per carry. The defensive line must step up against a Penn State offensive line that is extremely tough. 

QB Justin Fields was close to perfect, completing 20 of his 21 passes for 276 yards and two touchdowns. If you ask me, he’s the best player in college football and I’ll take him over anyone. I’m nowhere near an Ohio State fan either. Fields has elite accuracy and pocket presence on top of the ability to run the ball like an HB. He added 54 yards and a touchdown on the ground and will be over 80 yards rushing in this game. Fields is the best player on the field at all times and it’s clear. 

Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave are the clear favorites when he drops back to pass. Wilson hauled in seven balls for 129 yards and a touchdown while Olave caught six for 104 yards. Olave finished with 12 touchdowns in 2019 and saw two red-zone targets a week ago. He will eventually lead the squad in receiving scores. The only other pass-catcher to catch more than one ball was freshman Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who has two catches for five yards and a touchdown. There is no shortage of talent for Fields to play with at receiver. 

With Trey Sermon transferring from Oklahoma, he’ll join Master Teague in the backfield and the pair will serve as a RBBC for the time being. Sermon carried it 11 times for 48 yards while Teague carried it 12 times for 41 yards and two touchdowns. Teague is a legitimate bulldozer and a hassle for anyone to tackle. Sermon is no easy task to bring down either and the pair is a pain to contain. 

When The Penn State Nittany Lions Have The Ball

While Penn State is coming off a heartbreaker, there were plenty of positives to take away from game one. Junior QB Sean Clifford carried the offense with 238 yards passing and three touchdowns on top of 119 rushing yards and a touchdown. He was calm under pressure and only one of his two interceptions was his fault.

The defense gave up just 211 yards and were a victim of the offense turning it over in bad spots. Still, they had multiple chances to end the game and didn’t. They’ll now see a Buckeyes team that can put up points with anyone in the country. The Penn State defense will have to force a few key turnovers of their own if they plan on keeping the game competitive. 

Sophomore Devyn Ford leads the backfield and he picked up 20 carries for 69 yards and a TD in the opener. With Clifford running the ball so well, holes will open up for Ford and he will take advantage. He might not be on the same level as Saquon Barkley or Miles Sanders, but he’s a versatile back that will make you pay if you ignore him. Ford added three catches for 11 yards as a cherry on top. 

Even though Penn State will always try to establish the run before all else, they have the pass-catchers to throw it around effectively. Junior Tight end Pat Freiermuth is a six-foot-five ball magnet and he caught seven balls for 60 yards and a TD in the opening bout. He’s six-foot-five and 260 pounds with sticky fingers and a classic Penn State catch-first TE. Leading wideout Jahan Dotson started right where he left off a season ago with four catches for 94 yards and a touchdown. Daniel George starts opposite Dotson and he reeled in three of his five targets for 29 yards. Three other guys caught two balls, so Clifford has no problem spreading things out. 

Spread Prediction

Penn State should have won that game against Indiana. They gave up just over 200 yards of offense and that ball was a tad short. Let’s just be real. Still, Ohio State is on a completely different level and I expect them to come out firing in this matchup. The Buckeyes defense is going to force a couple of turnovers, but they also must keep Penn State from running it down their throat like Nebraska did. 

The Penn State offense is a solid one, but they can’t keep up with the potent offense of Ohio State. Fields completed all but one pass a week ago and the Buckeyes have off the feeling that they could have scored 100 if they wanted to. This number is too small and I’m a huge fan of the Buckeyes all the way up to two touchdowns. 

The Pick: Ohio State -12.5

Best Sportsbooks For This Pick

New JerseyWilliam Hill square logoBet@William Hill
PennsylvaniaSugarHouse online casino square logoBet@SugarHouse
IndianaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
West VirginiaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
ColoradoBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
IllinoisBetRivers square logoBet@BetRivers

Total Prediction

I don’t trust either of these defenses to consistently slow down either offense. I fully expect the Buckeyes to outlast Penn State, but I still think both teams are over 25 points and I have OSU pushing 45. Justin Fields alone is a train and he won’t be slowed down until Ohio State faces another elite-level team. Until then, he’s going to keep diving up defenses with elite precision while have A+ legs to fall back on. Sean Clifford is nowhere near his level, but he carried Penn State a week ago and will single-handedly put them on the board a few times here. Give me over 63.5 here all the way up to 65. 

The Pick: Over 62.5

Final Score Prediction: Ohio State 45, Penn State 31

Best Sportsbooks For This Pick

New JerseyWilliam Hill square logoBet@William Hill
PennsylvaniaSugarHouse online casino square logoBet@SugarHouse
IndianaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
West VirginiaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
ColoradoBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
IllinoisBetRivers square logoBet@BetRivers

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