Can Ohio State stop the Saquon Barkley show as it rolls into Columbus? Vegas seems to think so as Ohio State is a six point favorite over Penn State. According to OddsShark, the point total is set at 56.5 points.
Penn State enters the matchup at 7-0, and has been nearly as flawless in Vegas going 5-1-1 against the spread. Ohio State is 6-1 straight up and sits at 4-3 against the spread. The teams have trended in the opposite direction when it comes to the point total. For Ohio State, five out of seven games have gone over. Penn State is just the opposite with five out of seven matchups going under.
As OddsShark notes, Ohio State has been pretty dominant at home against Penn State. The Buckeyes have won nine of their last 11 home matchups with the Nittany Lions. While this is an interesting stat, it may not be the best predictive number to use. Both teams had different players for the majority of these games. Even the coaches have not been at their respective schools for all of these matchups.
Overall, Ohio State has won four out of the last five matchups. Penn State did pull off the 24-21 upset in last year’s game .
How does Penn State and Ohio State match up this year? Let’s take a look.
Both Penn State & Ohio State Are in the Top 10 in Points Allowed
Both defenses have been stingy in allowing teams to score. While there are a variety of ways to measure how good a defense has performed, the advent of spread offenses has made points allowed one of the truest measures of performance. A team can afford to give up yardage as long as they are able to keep the opposing team from scoring.
Those wanting to bet the over would be wise to look at the following stats. Penn State leads the country allowing just 9.6 points per game, while Ohio State ranks ninth allowing 15.4 points a game. One could argue Penn State’s number is a little inflated given the overall caliber of competition the Nittany Lions have faced. Michigan is likely the best team Penn State has faced this season, but the Wolverines offense has struggled over the last month.
Barkley had 12 carries for 99 yards last season against Ohio State. Barkley averaged 8.3 yards per carry, but was not heavily utilized by Penn State in the game. Look for Barkley to be much more involved this time around.
Ohio State Has Scored 50 or More Points in 4 Straight Games
Ohio State’s early loss to Oklahoma was the worst thing that could have happened to the rest of the teams on the Buckeyes schedule. Since then, Ohio State has won five straight games including wins over Nebraska, Maryland and UNLV. Ohio State has dropped at least 50 points on their opponent over the last four games.
Fans were once calling for J.T. Barrett to be benched, but Barrett has punished opponents through the air as well as on the ground. Barrett has thrown for 1,831 yards, 21 touchdowns and only one interception. Barrett has also rushed for 359 yards and five touchdowns.
Penn State’s offense has not been as potent, but Trace McSorely has been a bit part of the Nittany Lions’ success. McSorely has thrown for 1,879 yards, 14 touchdowns and five interceptions so far this season.
The OddsShark computer likes Ohio State, but not by much. The computer projects a 37.1-35.6 Ohio State victory, but is taking Penn State against the spread. The computer is taking the over on the point total.
We are more optimistic on Penn State’s chances. The Barkley-McSorely duo combined with a stout defense gives the Nittany Lions a good chance to pull off the upset for the second straight year. Ohio State has bounced back since their early season stumble, but the Buckeyes have not been playing teams of Penn State’s caliber.
Heavy’s Pick: Penn State 27 Ohio State 24. Penn State covers +6 Spread. Under on the Point Total.