College Football Picks: Penn State vs. Ohio State

Jeff Grant

Thursday, October 24, 2013 12:09 PM GMT

Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013 12:09 PM GMT

The Ohio State Buckeyes may play with some added fire against the Penn State Nittany Lions Saturday, as they felt slighted in the first release of the BCS standings. 

Let’s take a closer look at the college football odds for this Big Ten Conference matchup at Ohio Stadium, with the opening kickoff scheduled for 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC.

Fallen into a pattern 

Penn State has alternated wins and losses over its last five games, as it comes off a 43-40 quadruple-overtime victory over the Michigan Wolverines on Oct. 12. 

The Nittany Lions are 1-3 SU and 1-2-1 ATS after a bye week the last two-plus seasons, as they prepare to be the Buckeyes third consecutive rested opponent in 2013. 

Streaking 

Ohio State enters this matchup with the nation’s longest winning streak at 19 games, which includes a 34-24 victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes as 18.5-point home favorites last Saturday, while going OVER the betting total for the fourth time in five contests.

The Buckeyes were disappointed to lane the No. 4 spot in the first release of the BCS rankings—sitting behind the Alabama Crimson Tide, Florida State Seminoles and Oregon Ducks. 

True freshman

College football handicappers need to be careful in backing the road underdog in this spot, as the Nittany Lions have played away from home just two times this season, especially since the program is led by a true freshman signal-caller.

Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg has thrown for 1,672 yards and 11 touchdowns with six interceptions.

Offensively, the team has managed to score just 13 first-half points in its two games away from Happy Valley.

Fast starts

The Buckeyes have been known to start fast under second-year head coach Urban Meyer, which includes outscoring opponents by a 129-38 margin in the first quarter during the 2013 campaign.

Ohio State leads the Big Ten in averaging 45.0 points, while ranking 20th nationally in gaining 493.1 yards per game.

[gameodds]6/239096/?r-1=19-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Buckeyes in the first half for their college football picks, as they’ve gone 24-11 ATS in their last 35 games in October.

Ohio State will likely be established as a eight to nine-point favorite in the opening 30 minutes of this contest.

College Football Pick: Ohio State Buckeyes First Half

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