Pick Ohio State ATS vs. Penn State for College Football Betting

Darin Zank

Thursday, October 23, 2014 5:38 PM GMT

Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014 5:38 PM GMT

Ohio State owns the recent rivalry with Penn State, winning six of the last eight meetings, going 6-2 ATS. The Buckeyes are also 5-1 ATS this season, perhaps because the loss of Braxton Miller is a bit overrated. Ohio State hits the road to take on the Nittany Lions Saturday night in Happy Valley.

Buckeyes-Lions Betting Odds
Many college football odds opened Ohio State at around -13 over Penn State, then bumped the Buckeyes to -14, which is where that line sat at most shops Thursday morning. Those who think the Nittany Lions might pull the upset could get a price of +425 on the moneyline at 5Dimes.

Also, a total that started off at 51 had trickled up to 52.

 

Buckeyes-Lions: The Situation
Even with just 11 starters back from a team that went 12-2 last year Ohio State was still expected to contend for the Big Ten title. Shortly before the season started the Buckeyes were listed as even-money favorites to win the conference. Then, after news of Braxton Miller's injury came out, books bumped OSU to around 3/1 on their Big Ten championship betting boards. As of earlier this week the 5-1 Buckeyes were getting about 3/2 to win what would be their first Big Ten title since 2009.

Ohio State opened this season with a 34-17 victory over Navy, but then received a shock by getting upset at home by Virginia Tech 35-21. The Buckeyes were driving late for the potential game-tying touchdown but red-shirt freshman quarterback JT Barrett, who had an awful day in his second career start, threw the last of his three interceptions, a pick-six that accounted for the final score.

But since that defeat OSU has won four in a row both SU and ATS, beating Kent State 66-0 (covering at -31), Cincinnati 50-28 (covering at -17), Maryland 52-24 (covering at -6) and, last week, Rutgers 56-17 (covering at -20).

So the Buckeyes are 2-0 in the Big Ten East, a half-game behind 3-0 Michigan State.

Since the tough outing against the Hokies Barrett has improved; for the season he's completed 65 percent of his passes, for a 20/5 TD/INT ratio, and run for 383 yards and four more scores.

Penn State only returned 12 starters from a team that went 7-5 last year for its first season under Coach Franklin. When the season began the Lions were ineligible to compete for the Big Ten title or play in a bowl; they went off with a season wins OVER/UNDER of 7.5. A favorable decision then released Penn State from probation, and as of earlier this week bettors could get upwards of 85/1 on the Lions winning the conference. Penn State also needs two more victories in its last six games to become eligible to play in a bowl for the first time since 2011.

Penn State opened with an exciting 26-24 victory over Central Florida in Ireland, getting a field goal at the buzzer for the victory. The Lions then beat Akron 21-3, then opened Big Ten play with a 13-10 win at Rutgers, then stepped back out of conference for a 48-7 victory over Massachusetts. But Penn State then stunk up Beaver Stadium with a 29-6 home loss to Northwestern, and two weeks ago looked bad in losing at Michigan 18-13.

So Penn State is 1-2 in conference play, two games out of first in the East Division.

The Lions had last week off.

These teams have played one common opponent so far this season – Rutgers. Penn State had to score the last 10 points of the game to beat the Knights by a field goal, while Ohio State rolled to a 35-7 halftime lead, on its way to that 56-17 victory.

 

Buckeyes-Lions Recent History
Last year Ohio State put an all-timer on Penn State, winning 63-14 (the worst loss in PSU history), racking up 686 yards of offense (most ever allowed by the Lions). The Buckeyes jumped out to a 28-0 lead, took a 42-7 advantage into halftime, then tacked on three more touchdowns to complete the blowout. OSU covered easily as 15-point favorites.

 

Buckeyes-Lions Betting Trends
Ohio State is 5-1 on the totals this season.

Penn State is 2-4 on the totals.

The OVERS are 3-1 in the last four meetings in this series.

 

Buckeyes-Lions Free Pick
Penn State will have its hands full Saturday night, because at the moment Ohio State simply outclasses the Lions. Hackenberg has struggled, as has the Penn State running game. Meanwhile, Barrett is filling in nicely at QB for Ohio State, and the Buckeyes defense, especially up front, can be a monster. So we'll go with the better team at the more manageable spread for our college football picks.

Free College Football Pick: Ohio State -13.5 at Pinnacle

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