College Football Picks: Back Ohio State to Cover ATS Despite Penn State's Improved Defense

David Lawrence

Wednesday, October 14, 2015 11:46 PM GMT

Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015 11:46 PM GMT

The Penn State Nittany Lions and the Ohio State Buckeyes might seem like two completely different teams. Which team will break out with a strong performance for our college football picks?

If it’s Penn State which manages to do this, can Ohio State once again survive without playing very closely to its best level?

 

Momentum
The Nittany Lions moved in the right direction last weekend, thumping Indiana at home and shutting down the Hoosiers’ offense. Given that Indiana very nearly defeated Ohio State (or at least came close to taking the Buckeyes into overtime), Penn State should feel that it can play this game with Ohio State on very even terms. It’s true that Indiana was dealing with injuries to the quarterback position and other areas of its offense, but Penn State’s defense still did exactly what it was supposed to do in containing the Hoosiers. On offense, the line did a better job of blocking and pass protecting. Christian Hackenberg looked a lot more comfortable at quarterback than he has in past weeks, and that’s very important for this team as it takes on what will be its biggest challenge of the year.

Ohio State was tied with Maryland midway through the third quarter, but then found a higher gear and sped away from the Terrapins in the final 22 minutes of the game. The Buckeyes have labored through much of their season, failing to look like the team which stormed past Alabama and Oregon to win the 2014 national title. However, the way they looked in the last quarter against Maryland is the team which can be special this season. That’s the team Urban Meyer wants to see more of this weekend.

 

Line Moves
Ohio State started as a 17.5-point favorite, but that line has dipped to 17 points. The Buckeyes have been so unimpressive on offense that one really good quarter against Maryland isn’t going to change a lot of minds for people’s college football picks. Penn State’s playing well on defense, so the idea of Ohio State winning by 30 seem inflated, and the public knows that.

 

Notable Injuries
Penn State tight end Adam Breneman is listed as questionable for this game with an undisclosed condition. Placekicker Chris Gulla is questionable with an undisclosed condition. Center Angelo Mangiro is questionable with what is listed by the school as a lower body injury. Defensive back Evan Schwan is questionable with an undisclosed condition. Running back Akeel Lynch is questionable with a knee injury. Running back Saquon Barkley is questionable with an ankle injury, and he is one of the more valuable players on this offense. Defensive back Marcus Allen is questionable with an arm injury. Offensive lineman Andrew Nelson is out indefinitely with a knee injury. Linebacker Nyeem Wartman-White is out for the season with a knee injury. Tight end Kyle Carter is out indefinitely for undisclosed reasons.

Ohio State has defensive back Damon Webb out indefinitely due to a suspension. Linebacker Nick Conner is out for the season with a knee injury. Defensive back Cam Burrows is out for the season with a foot injury. Wide receiver Corey Smith is out for the season with a leg injury. Defensive back Erick Smith is questionable with an undisclosed condition. Running back Mike Weber is questionable with a knee injury.

 

Handicapping The Game
The Buckeyes might need a primetime game in which to get more excited about playing. Well, here it is. An 8 p.m. Eastern time game could shake this team up, and that means big trouble for Penn State. Ohio State will cover the college football odds.

College Football Picks: Ohio State -17 at 5Dimes

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