Penn State vs. Ohio State College Football Odds & Picks: Will the Buckeyes Cruise in Week 9?

Penn State vs. Ohio State College Football Odds & Picks: Will the Buckeyes Cruise in Week 9? article feature image
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Emilee Chinn/Getty Images. Pictured: Ryan Day and the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Penn State vs. Ohio State Odds

Saturday, Oct. 30
7:30 p.m. ET
ABC
Penn State Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+19.5
61.5
-110o / -110u
+700
Ohio State Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-19.5
61.5
-110o / -110u
-1125
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

It’s always a bummer when things never go as planned — especially when it involves a huge football game that could shape a conference.

Most of the hype for this year’s Penn State vs. Ohio State matchup disappeared in a cloud of dust when the Nittany Lions dropped their second game in a nine-overtime “thriller” against Illinois.

Now, that doesn’t mean this game has lost all of its meaning. Penn State can still potentially play spoiler to Ohio State’s season, especially if the winner of Michigan State vs. Michigan can continue to go undefeated.

It wouldn’t be the first time this season we saw OSU lose as a double-digit favorite. Can PSU get off the mat after a horrible performance and pick up the upset win?


Penn State Nittany Lions

Penn State Offense

If Penn State wants to stay within the number, let alone win the game, it will have to match Ohio State’s high-powered offense. This is not generally its style, as Penn State has always been a grind-it-out type of offense.

That isn’t to say the opportunity isn’t there. There’s a glaring weakness in the Ohio State defense, and that’s its Def. Pass Success rank. If Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford and Co. can exploit the Ohio State secondary, then they will find themselves firmly in contention to steal the game.

Penn State owns a Pass Success ranking of 56th, led by Clifford, who has thrown for 1,647 yards, 12 touchdowns, and five interceptions at a completion rate of 64.6%.

He will continue to lean on wide receiver Jahan Dotson, who comfortably leads the team with 49 receptions for 563 yards and six touchdowns.

The battle in the trenches will be one to watch.

The Ohio State defensive line is lethal. This will be one of the bigger challenges for PSU, as it will need to give its backfield all the help it can. Ohio State leads Penn State in all line metrics (Line Yards, Pass Blocking/Pass Rush).

Penn State Defense

Penn State’s defense will need to do all it can do to help out the offense in terms of field position and three-and-outs. That’s easier said than done, as Ohio State features one of the best offenses in the nation.

Looking at the defensive metrics, one category screams major mismatch: the run game. Penn State’s Def. Rush Success ranks 76th and its Def. Line Yards sits at 83rd, while the Buckeyes rank 15th in Rush Success and fourth in Line Yards on the offensive side of the ball.

The Nittany Lions will need to find answers and fast, as Ohio State has one of the better running backs in the nation. TreVeyon Henderson will look to run wild, something he has been doing all season to the tune of 693 yards and 11 touchdowns all at an average of 8.8 yards per carry.

On the bright side for Penn State, it does match up well in the passing metrics. Ranking near dead even in Def. Pass Success, it will need to get in CJ Stroud’s head early and pray he makes mistakes to flip field position.

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Ohio State Buckeyes

Ohio State Offense

History tends to repeat itself, and that statement remains true when talking about the success of the Ohio State offense. It’s once again one of the best units in college football, ranking top-20 or better in every offensive metric.

CJ Stroud has led the offense with 1,965 yards, 22 touchdowns, and three interceptions. His play was like a roller coaster at the start of the season, but he has looked as sharp as sharp can be since the loss to Oregon.

The Buckeyes will look to take advantage of Penn State’s tired legs after a nine-overtime loss, and this can be done through the air or on the ground. OSU has no shortage of weapons in either area.

As previously stated, the big mismatch going into this game is Ohio States’ run game against Penn State’s run defense. Henderson will look to build on his totals, and he will have ample opportunities to bust the big one against the Nittany Lions.

One of the biggest metric matchups to watch for will be in Finishing Drives. With both ranking third on each side, play will get interesting as Ohio State marches down the field past the 40.

Ohio State Defense

Ohio State came into the season regarded as one of the best overall teams in football. Those opinions were quickly humbled after a shocking loss to Oregon at the start of the season in which we saw this OSU defense get constantly exposed.

While the play has considerably improved, this unit is still far from flawless.

With most metrics being great as of now, it’s still noticeably lacking in Def. Pass Success, as the unit ranks 73rd. The secondary has shown a tendency to get burned, an area that will need to improve if it wants any realistic shot at winning it all.

A large part of the Buckeyes’ past success pitfall is the inability to tackle in the open field. Ranking 63rd in PFF Tackling, bubble screens and open field playmakers can burn this OSU secondary.

Other than the Def. Pass Success and PFF Tackling, Ohio State actually has very respectable ranks everywhere else.

The defensive line is one of the best in the nation, constantly creating Havoc in the backfield. If the D-line can continue to dominate, this will give the secondary much-needed help as Clifford scrambles in the pocket.


Penn State vs. Ohio State Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Penn State and Ohio State match up statistically:

Penn State Offense vs. Ohio State Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 122 14
Line Yards 117 4
Pass Success 56 73
Pass Blocking** 49 23
Big Play 97 52
Havoc 86 8
Finishing Drives 58 26
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Ohio State Offense vs. Penn State Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 15 76
Line Yards 4 83
Pass Success 5 9
Pass Blocking** 20 35
Big Play 1 9
Havoc 2 43
Finishing Drives 3 3
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 58 63
Coverage 4 50
Middle 8 24 8
SP+ Special Teams 32 2
Plays per Minute 24 34
Rush Rate 49.5% (98) 50.6% (92)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.


Penn State vs. Ohio State Betting Pick

Going into the season, I truly believed this game was going to decide the Big Ten. I’m sad to see I was wrong. This is now shaping up to be a butt-whooping on a Penn State team with tired legs.

Ohio State is starting to round into form and show why it’s one of the best teams in college football. The Buckeyes have weapons all over on both sides of the field.

Stroud has been making better reads as the season has progressed, a tough task for any defense considering the talent with Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson at the wide receiver position. Add in Henderson at running back, and Penn State will have to get ready for a balanced attack.

Where this gets interesting is Finishing Drives when OSU gets past the 40. With both ranking dead even, success past the 40 may be the deciding factor from a cover perspective.

I have confidence that OSU will avoid struggling past the 40, as Penn State will come in potentially tired and distracted with everything going on. It will simply be too much to ask for its defense to shut down the various weapons OSU will be coming in with.

I played OSU’s spread for half-unit and would play this up to -20.5.

I will also be looking to attack the live total depending on what I see when OSU gets to the 40 against PSU’s defense.

Pick: Ohio State -18 (Play to -20.5)

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