Ohio State vs Penn State Updated Odds, Predictions: CFB Betting Picks for Week 9

Ohio State vs Penn State Updated Odds, Predictions: CFB Betting Picks for Week 9 article feature image

Scott Taetsch/Getty Images. Pictured: Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Sean Clifford.

Ohio State vs Penn State Odds

Saturday, Oct. 29
Noon ET
Ohio State Odds
-110o / -110u
Penn State Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Only two legitimate hurdles remain before Ohio State finds itself in a de facto national quarterfinal branded as the Big Ten Championship.

Michigan will come on the last weekend of the regular season, but a victory over highly-ranked Penn State would inch the Buckeyes closer to the pole position when the first College Football Playoff rankings are announced.

Head coach Ryan Day has built a solid resume, having only been challenged by Notre Dame in the opening game of the season.

As for the Nittany Lions, head coach James Franklin rebounded from a blowout loss to Michigan with a blowout of Minnesota in Week 8. The emergence of a running game has bolstered an offense that formerly relied on the quarterback to win games.

Penn State has aspirations of winning the Big Ten East, but a victory over the Buckeyes is a must to have any shot at the conference title.

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Ohio State Buckeyes

The Buckeyes have yet to be challenged as we head into the final weekend of October. An opener against Notre Dame is the closest call Ohio State has had in the upset department, but second-half scores notched a double-digit victory.

Six other victories have been smooth sailing, which is even more impressive considering the Buckeyes have the 13th-toughest strength of schedule.

New defensive coordinator Jim Knowles has supplied the remedy to previous Ohio State teams that allowed too many explosive plays.

Pick-6 for Tommy Eichenberg. Put this clip on repeat.pic.twitter.com/9lVlRwAxMo

— Eleven Warriors (@11W) October 22, 2022

Knowles' impact can be seen all over the defensive metrics, as Ohio State boasts a top-10 rank in nearly every category. Only Boise State has allowed fewer plays to go over 10 yards on the season.

Surprisingly, the Buckeyes have allowed more points than the national average when opponents are in scoring position. Those numbers are directly linked to a small sample size, as 11 opponent trips to the red zone have resulted in 10 scores.

Quarterback C.J. Stroud may be having the quietest Heisman campaign in the history of the award. The sophomore is on pace to shatter his 2021 numbers with 28 touchdowns on just 189 passing attempts.

If there's an area to monitor, it's his turnover-worthy play rate, which now sits at 4.7% after achieving a mark of 2.5% last season. Stroud has posted a turnover-worthy play in every game this season, including three in the victory over Iowa last week.

Those issues are not related to drops. Despite losing two first-round NFL Draft picks at wide receiver, Stroud has seen his drop rate move from 6.2% to just 2.2%.

Head coach Ryan Day has spent the majority of the season creating a blue-collar rushing attack. Miyan Williams and TreVeyon Henderson form arguably the best backfield in college football.

Williams enters as the eighth-best running back in PFF elusiveness grading, and Henderson averages over three yards after contact.

Miyan Williams had himself a day against Rutgers. 189 rushing yards and 5 TDs! pic.twitter.com/XwufvzNZmr

— CleBuckeye (@CleBuckeye23) October 2, 2022

Penn State Nittany Lions

Quarterback Sean Clifford is coming off of his best game of the 2022 season, throwing for nearly 300 yards and four touchdowns against Minnesota.

Although his turnover-worthy play rate is the highest of his career, the Gophers defense produced just five pressures the entire game. Penn State ranks 49th in pass blocking, as pocket pressure has long been the kryptonite in Clifford's five-year career.

One of the weapons in the victory over Minnesota was rarely-used tight end Theo Johnson. The third-year pass-catcher had previously recorded 34 career targets but caught all five targets, including a touchdown, versus the Gophers.

Considering starting tight end Brenton Strange has caught 17-of-18 targets on the season. Offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich could have success running 12 personnel — formations with one running back and two tight ends — against an aggressive Ohio State front.

Penn State's Manny Diaz-led defense was torched on the ground for 418 yards against Michigan. The Nittany Lions recovered last week, allowing just 3.6 yards per carry while loading the box against a backup quarterback.

PSU ranks 63rd defensively in Rushing Success Rate and 104th in tackling. While the Nittany Lions own a top-25 number in Stuff Rate, rushing attempts that reach the second level often create first downs.

Ohio State vs. Penn State Matchup Analysis

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

Ohio State Offense vs. Penn State Defense
Rush Success563
Line Yards134
Pass Success329
Pass Blocking**3212
Finishing Drives122
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Penn State Offense vs. Ohio State Defense
Rush Success1123
Line Yards886
Pass Success522
Pass Blocking**496
Finishing Drives3073
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling14104
PFF Coverage1437
SP+ Special Teams9368
Seconds per Play28.2 (102)26.1 (56)
Rush Rate55.4% (56)52.5% (73)
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

Ohio State vs. Penn State Predictions & Betting Pick

There are plenty of aspects in the head-to-head numbers that suggest Penn State will have some fortune against Ohio State.

Stroud has made mistakes at a rate that continues to climb and the Nittany Lions are fifth in Defensive Havoc. The strength of that chaos comes from pass breakups, as Penn State not only leads the nation but no other defense is close to producing the same number of knockdowns.

Both cornerbacks, Joey Porter Jr and Kalen King, rank in the top 10 individually in forced incompletions.

One area the Buckeyes will not struggle in is running the ball. Not only is Penn State mid-FBS in Success Rate against the ground game, but the Nittany Lions are also 90th in expected points against the rush.

Ohio State is the top team in the nation in Offensive Finishing Drives, averaging 5.8 points per quality drive. Penn State has a top-25 defense in terms of scoring opportunities and red zone, but the Buckeyes' rushing options are the primary reason for the two-touchdown spread.

Clifford continues to struggle in pressured passing attempts, having notched just one big-time throw in 47 attempts with a crowded pocket. A large drop in adjusted completion percentage, along with a steep incline in turnover-worthy plays, creates a formula for the Buckeyes to get Penn State in passing downs as quick as possible.

Ohio State has three defenders in the top 200 for individual grading in pass rush productivity, including edge Zach Harrison. To avoid any of this, running back Nick Singleton must have a career day to keep Clifford out of long down-and-distance situations.

Action Network projects Ohio State at -14.5 with a total of 64. Both numbers are shade off from the market, indicating minuscule value on Penn State and the over.

As mentioned on Green Dot Daily, the best bet in this game is on Miyan Williams rushing props to the over, as Penn State consistently struggles with ground attacks.

The early action has all been on Ohio State, but considering the history of closeness between these two teams, there will be plenty of wagers for Penn State as the number approaches 17.

Pick: Penn State +15.5 or Better

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