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The No. 7 Penn State Nittany Lions are taking their show on the road to face the No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes in a Big Ten showdown with serious College Football Playoff implications.
The Buckeyes won last year’s meeting 44-31 and have won 10 of the last 11 matchups, including six straight. Penn State’s best win of the season was a 31-0 result against No. 24 Iowa, while Ohio State beat No. 9 Notre Dame 17-14 a few weeks ago.
Here, we'll go over the betting odds and share our thoughts on Penn State vs. Ohio State.
|No. 7 Penn State||+4.5 (-110)||+164||Over 45.5 (-110)|
|No. 3 Ohio State||-4.5 (-110)||-198||Under 45.5 (-110)|
Penn State has been a team on the periphery in years past because of the excellence of Ohio State and Michigan. But this could be the year that changes.
Penn State is the fifth-highest-scoring team in America (44.3 points per game), and that’s not even their selling point. Their two turnovers in their last game against UMass brought their total on the year to just three, and they’ve got an even balance between run and pass. Both groups function well, with the running game’s 203.3 yards per game (15th) standing out as the most impressive.
Ohio State has been known for its air-raid attack and excellent receivers. Junior QB Kyle McCord hasn’t emerged as a Heisman contender like Justin Fields, C.J. Stroud, and others before him, but he’s sixth in QBR (87.2), has 11 touchdowns to one interception, and is second in the Big Ten in passing efficiency.
McCord’s number-one asset is top wideout Marvin Harrison Jr., who is expected to come off the draft board very early next summer. The running backs are solid but don’t get a ton of work and average a modest 4.3 yards per carry (note: top back TreVeyon Henderson is listed as questionable with an injury).
The biggest talking point is Penn State’s defense, and whether they’ll be able to slow down the Buckeyes. The Nittany Lions lead the country in sacks, tackles for loss, and yards allowed per game (193.7, nearly 40 fewer yards than the next-best team).
The visitors are equally strong in the trenches on both sides of the ball. The teams allow a combined 17.7 points per game (Penn State second, Ohio State third) and are going to settle their differences with an old-fashioned slugfest.
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Underdog bettors have not found much success in this matchup in the past, but we believe this is the year.
Penn State has an overwhelming amount of talent at the point of attack and is playing like one of the best teams in America. They haven’t faced a terribly tough schedule, but they’re also overflowing with confidence and are in as strong of a spot mentally as they could be.
Their ability to put up with the extra eyeballs in a hostile environment will determine their success. On the other side, McCord needs to get the ball into the hands of his playmakers (namely Harrison) and show enough poise in the pocket to navigate PSU’s pass rush.
The defenses in this matchup are nothing short of excellent, but we like the Over. We think both coaches will be cognizant of the importance of the matchup and will empty the playbook. Fake punts, reverse passes, expect to see it all.
While they allow just over 17 points between them, they also score more than 80. PSU’s Drew Allar has not thrown an interception, and McCord has taken perfect care of the ball since he tossed a pick in the season-opener against Indiana.
There could be a cagey start, but watch for the game to open up in the second half and for the total to creep over at the end.
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Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself on delivering breaking news and insightful analyses of the industry. Grant graduated from Virginia Tech in 2021 and is feverishly pursuing his ambitions in the sports betting field.
In his free time, Grant can be found passionately watching sports, doing a workout, or searching for adventure with his friends.More info on Grant Mitchell
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