Do you believe you have a gambling problem? Click here for a list of resources, or call the Ohio Problem Gambling Hotline at 1-800-589-9966.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The biggest college football game of the weekend will be at Ohio Stadium as the No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes host No. 7 Penn State at noon. The top-ten showdown is likely to be among the most bet-on games this weekend.
Ohio State’s 41-7 win over Purdue was its most complete performance of the season with consistent offense throughout and another dominant day from the defense. For bettors backing the Buckeyes, it was the first time in 2023 they did not break a sweat.
The Buckeyes were favored to beat Purdue by 19.5 points and covered with ease. The total line of 50.5 went under, marking five OSU games out of six to go under the set points total.
With the Nittany Lions coming to Ohio’s capital, bettors will face a tough decision on who will come out on top and if each team’s elite defense can maintain that level to result in a low-scoring game.
Odds are from DraftKings Sportsbook. For a full explanation of how to read betting odds, click here.
Moneyline: Ohio State (-175), Penn State (+145)
Spread: Ohio State (-3.5, [-110]), Penn State (+3.5, [-110])
Total: 46.5 points (Over & Under, -110)
- Despite Ohio State beating Penn State in nine of the last 10 games, it has only covered the spread on three occasions. This year’s spread of 3.5 is the lowest for an OSU-Penn State game since 2018, when Penn State lost by one point as 3.5-point underdogs.
- The total point line of 46.5 is the lowest set for this matchup since 2011. The lower number is due in part to the elite defenses of each team. The last time Ohio State and Penn State combined for 47 points or less was in 2019, a 28-17 Buckeyes win.
- This is the first time in five years the Buckeyes are favored in a conference game by four points or fewer. That game was in 2018 at Michigan State where the Buckeyes won 26-6 as 3.5-point favorites. OSU’s 2011 loss to Michigan State 10-7 was the last time the Buckeyes lost at home to a Big Ten team when favored by four points or less.
How the Buckeyes can cover
Since Ohio State’s win over Notre Dame, the Buckeyes offense seems to have found its footing. With 78 points scored in its last two games, quarterback Kyle McCord and his offense have developed the level of consistent scoring many expected from the Buckeyes.
OSU averages 45 points at home, and if it can score just three or four touchdowns against Penn State, it could be on the way to covering. Defensively, OSU still has yet to skip a beat and has a resume-building performance against a strong Notre Dame offense. Saturday could be a loud wake-up call to a Penn State team yet to face truly tough opposition.
How Penn State can cover
Even without playing tough opposition, the Nittany Lions have shown they can dominate a game. A 63-0 win over Massachusetts last week was just the third time in 10 seasons a team had three touchdown passes, three rushing touchdowns and two punt return touchdowns in one game.
Add that to a win over Iowa where the defense recovered four fumbles and a win over Illinois where Penn State grabbed four interceptions and you have a team confident they can interrupt the Buckeyes on any play at any point.
As 3.5-point underdogs, the Nittany Lions’ defense could easily cover that spread if the Buckeyes are still without a majority of its skill players. OSU’s top three running backs — TreVeyon Henderson, Miyan Williams, and Chip Trayanum — and receiver Emeka Egbuka could all be out on Saturday. While still possible, it does seem unlikely the Buckeyes could score 41 points without all four against the second-best scoring defense in college football.
Notable player props
- Kyle McCord’s passing yards total is set at 235.5. He has gone over that number in all six starts this season with an average of 298 yards in his last two games.
- Penn State running back Nicholas Singleton’s rushing yards total is at 61.5. He has gone over that total in the last two games but only in three games this season. The Buckeyes defense has allowed a rusher of at least 62 yards or more on three occasions.
- Marvin Harrison Jr.’s receiving yards total is set at 87.5. He has exceeded that in four of the last five games and averages 149 receiving yards at Ohio Stadium. His odds of having 120+ receiving yards are at +260.