Penn State has its first test of the season in Columbus against Big Ten rival, Ohio State.
Two teams inside the first College Football Playoff rankings top 10 meet in a marquee matchup when the Nittany Lions visit the Buckeyes. Penn State hasn't faced a worthy challenger this year, giving us some questions about whether this team is a worthy challenger to the class of the Big Ten.
We'll find out on Saturday as the team goes on the road to face Ohio State, who may not have the high-upside offense that it's had in recent years, but has gone on the road and won in a hostile environment against an elite team in Notre Dame.
How should we bet this big game? We got you covered:
Penn State vs. Ohio State Odds, Spread and Total
Ohio State vs. Penn State Betting Trends
- Penn State is 6-0 against the spread (ATS) this season
- Ohio State is 3-2-1 ATS this season
- Ohio State has gone UNDER in five of six games
- Penn State has goen OVER in four of six games
Penn State vs. Ohio State How to Watch
- Date: Saturday, October 21st
- Game Time: 12:00 PM EST
- Venue: Ohio Stadium
- How to Watch (TV): FOX
- Penn State Record: 6-0
- Ohio State Record: 6-0
Penn State vs. Ohio State Key Players to Watch
Drew Allar: Allar has looked the part this season against a soft schedule, but how will it translate? He hasn't had to do much this season, averaging less than seven yards per pass attempt with three big-time throws to one turnover-worthy play. He has passed for more than 200 yards in three of six games and over 300 once.
Kyle McCord: McCord has been very good, but not overly explosive as the quarterback of the team. He is averaging less than 10 yards per pass attempt and has 11 big-time throws to eight turnover-worthy plays, according to Pro Football Focus. While he has been able to get the ball to Marvin Harrison Jr., we haven't seen this team really pop against stout defenses and McCord has struggled under pressure. McCord is completing only 35% of his passes when under pressure and is averaging less than three yards per pass attempt. Penn State must generate pressure on the quarterback to get enough stops.
Ohio State vs. Penn State Prediction and Pick
As discussed in my early week betting preview, the under is the play in this game, but it has dropped from 47 to 45.5. However, I believe that the under can still be bet given some of the offensive question marks.
Ohio State struggled in its lone test against an elite defense, scoring only 17 points at Notre Dame. While the team has shown flashes of an explosive passing game, I don't have faith in McCord to hit enough deep shots against a stout secondary, even with that much talent around him.
I believe in the Penn State defense quite a bit, especially with the mounting injuries on the Ohio State offense and McCord's little success at dealing with pressure well.
With that being said, I think Allar and the Nittany Lions offense may be in for a tough afternoon as well. Maybe the team has been playing coy with an easy schedule and has more to unleash with Allar, who has a ton of arm talent. However, I'm going to give the nod to the more proven defense that has been able to shut down opponents despite ranking outside the top 100 in tackles for loss generated this season.
Ohio State is allowing fewer than four yards per play despite having less than 30 tackles for loss on the year. The team has done an incredible job at limiting chunk plays and its ability to get stops will likely be the difference in what should be a physical and defensive-minded affair.
While this total continues to tick down, the under is the only way I can look to play this one. Both offenses have struggled to move the ball consistently and I believe each defense will be able to get enough timely stops to limit touchdowns as both quarterbacks continue to struggle to hit explosive plays downfield.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.
Track Reed's bets here!