College Football Pace Report & Picks: Penn State vs. Ohio State Leads Week 8 Over/Under Bets

College Football Pace Report & Picks: Penn State vs. Ohio State Leads Week 8 Over/Under Bets article feature image

Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr.

We're starting to get into the heart of the college football schedule, which means we have more data on teams. That's a great benefit, especially in the totals market.

With Week 8 rapidly approaching, here are the pace numbers for each team through Week 7:

If you're new to this piece, we'll take an in-depth look at the totals market using yards per play, Success Rate, Finishing Drives, plays per minute and more.

Using those metrics — along with a look at the weather and key injuries — the goal is to hopefully help bettors beat the market before Friday and Saturday morning.

Let's kick things off with three over/unders to bet in Week 8.

Penn State vs. Ohio State

Saturday, Oct. 21
12 p.m. ET
Penn State Odds
-110o / -110u
Ohio State Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAF odds here.

Check out the new user Caesars Sportsbook promo code offer before placing your bets on Penn State vs. Ohio State.

Even though this is the biggest game of the weekend — and maybe the season — I think it's going to be a bit of a snoozer.

Ohio State and Penn State rank first and second in the country defensively in yards per play allowed, respectively, and gave up a combined seven points to Purdue and UMass last week.

There are problems with Ohio State's offense right now, and it starts with the run game. The Buckeyes sit outside the top 50 in both Rushing Success Rate and EPA/Rush, and they might not have a healthy running back for this game.

TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams missed the last game against Purdue and are questionable to play in this one, while Chip Trayanum exited the Boilermakers game with an injury. Ryan Day had to play wide receiver Xavier Johnson at tailback alongside fourth-teamer Dallan Hayden, so going up against a Penn State front seven that's allowing only 2.1 yards per carry and ranks top-10 in Rushing Success Rate Allowed and Defensive Line Yards is a nightmare scenario.

That means all of the pressure is going to be on Kyle McCord to throw all over the best secondary in college football. McCord has been impressive this season, averaging 9.5 yards per attempt while ranking 14th in EPA, but he will potentially be without one of his biggest weapons, Emeka Egbuka, who missed the last game against Purdue.

Penn State leads the country in Passing Success Rate Allowed, passing explosiveness allowed and EPA/Pass Allowed.

James Franklin's skin may be curling when reporters ask about Drew Allar's ability to throw deep, but the reality is that he hasn't had to because Penn State has been comfortably ahead in every game it's played. He may want to start answering some of those questions, because Allar is going to have to throw the ball deep in this game.

So far this season, 72% of the freshman's pass attempts have come under 10 yards, and he's attempted only 12 passes over 20 yards in the air, per PFF. As a result, Penn State ranks 132nd in the country in passing explosiveness.

The best comparison for Ohio State's secondary is the game Penn State played against Iowa.

Allar attempted 38 passes in that game for just 166 total passing yards. Everything was a check-down because the Nittany Lions were leading for the whole game and didn't need to throw deep against one of the best secondaries in the country.

Ohio State ranks fifth in Passing Success Rate Allowed and seventh in EPA/Pass Allowed but 64th in passing explosiveness allowed. So, Allar is going to have to throw the ball deep in this game for Penn State's passing attack to be successful.

The Nittany Lions have been the most efficient scoring team in the country, ranking first in Finishing Drives, but Ohio State has been eighth in that same category on the defensive side of that ball.

Both of these teams execute at a below-average pace, ranking 78th and 80th, respectively, in seconds per play. So, with two of the best defenses in college football going up against each other, I think we're going to see a defensive slugfest.

I have 40.1 points projected for this game, so I like the value on under 47 points.

Phone With the Action App Open
The must-have app for college football bettors
The best NCAAF betting scoreboard
Free picks from proven pros
Live win probabilities for your bets

South Florida vs. UConn

Saturday, Oct. 21
3:30 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network
USF Odds
-105o / -115u
UConn Odds
-105o / -115u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAF odds here.

Maximize your USF vs. UConn action with our FanDuel promo code.

South Florida is playing at one of the fastest tempos in the entire country, running a play every 20.7 seconds.

The key to the Bulls offense is running the ball effectively. They've struggled from a Success Rate standpoint, but they're top-10 in rushing explosiveness and 34th in EPA/Rush.

The reason their rushing attack has been so good is because of quarterback Byrum Brown, who took over for an injured Gerry Bohanon early in the season.

Excluding sacks, Brown is averaging 7.3 yards per carry with a PFF rushing grade of 81.3 and 23 runs over 10 yards with 32 missed tackles forced.

Byrum Brown in the open field 👀

— Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) September 16, 2023

UConn ranks outside the top 6o in both Rushing Success Rate Allowed and rushing explosiveness allowed, so Brown could break off some more big runs on Saturday.

The Huskies lost quarterback Joe Fagnano to a season-ending shoulder injury in the second week of the season, but Ta'Quan Roberson has done a nice job replacing him. He has a 78.6 PFF passing grade and ranks 64th in EPA while making eight big-time throws compared to just three turnover-worthy plays.

What helps in this matchup is the fact that South Florida's secondary has been horrendous, ranking 126th in EPA/Pass Allowed.

The Huskies have been efficient when they've gotten inside the opponent's 40-yard line, averaging 4.1 points per scoring opportunity to rank 56th in the country. Meanwhile, South Florida sits 94th in that same category defensively.

Both of these teams have gone over the total in each of their last three games, so I like the value on over 53.5 points.

Appalachian State vs. Old Dominion

Saturday, Oct. 21
7 p.m. ET
NFL Network
App State Odds
-110o / -110u
Old Dominion Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAF odds here.

Use Action Network’s DraftKings promo code to get a sign-up bonus when betting App State vs. Old Dominion.

The pace of this game should be pretty fast with both teams playing at an above-average speed. In fact, Old Dominion sits inside the top 10 in pace.

Old Dominion should be able to run the ball with relative ease in this matchup. The Monarchs are a rush-heavy offense, running the ball on 56.3% of their offensive plays, and they've been doing it with great success by averaging 5.1 yards per carry and ranking 41st in EPA/Rush.

Kadarius Calloway was the backup for the first month of the season and then exploded for 236 yards on only 11 carries against Marshall on Sept. 30. He then got the ball 12 times against Southern Miss this past weekend and still put up 93 yards on the ground.

Old Dominion RB Kadarius calloway had 236 yards rushing and 3 TD against Marshall and 214 of those yards came on three carries

— Colton Denning (@Dubsco) October 1, 2023

Appalachian State has been getting torched on the ground all season, allowing 5.4 yards per carry while ranking 118th in Rushing Success Rate Allowed.

Meanwhile, Appalachian State should be able to throw all over Old Dominion's secondary. The Mountaineers' passing attack is designed to take deep shots down the field. Quarterback Joey Aguilar has attempted 195 passes this season, and 89 of those have been over 10 yards in the air. He's been successful with those deep shots, leading the Monarchs to a rank of 34th in EPA.

Old Dominion hasn't found a way to stop the deep ball yet this year, ranking 126th in passing explosiveness allowed and 83rd in EPA/Pass Allowed.

It also hasn't played the most difficult of schedules in terms of quarterbacks so far, as Louisiana is the only offense it's played that averages over 7.5 yards per attempt.

With the pace fast and both offenses having advantages over the opposing defense, I like the value on over 54 points.

The ultimate NCAAF betting cheat code

Best bets for every game

Our NCAAF model's biggest weekly edges

Profitable data-driven system picks

How would you rate this article?

This site contains commercial content. We may be compensated for the links provided on this page. The content on this page is for informational purposes only. Action Network makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the information given or the outcome of any game or event.