The No. 2 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes (10-0) will host a huge Big 10 showdown Saturday when the No. 8 ranked Penn State Nittany Lions (9-1) come to the Shoe.
The Buckeyes have eked out one-point victories the last two times these teams played each other, and with the Big 10 East title on the line, this will be a monumental one for both teams. Here’s a preview of the game followed by trends and our prediction.
Ohio State defensive standout Chase Young will return after serving a two-game suspension, which will provide the Buckeye defense with a huge burst–and that’s a scary thought. Ohio State is giving up just 9.8 points a game and boasts the nation’s best overall defense. Young and Company are +13 in the turnover margin, and Young will be looking to add to his 13.5 sacks.
Quarterback Justin Fields has been outstanding this season, and with J.K. Dobbins in the backfield averaging a whopping seven yards per carry, the Buckeyes have had zero difficulty putting points on the board. They are averaging 51.4 points a game, and they have the fourth-best offense in the nation (and the best in the Big 10).
Penn State enter the game ranked seventh in the nation in defense and 14th in overall offense. They should pose a tougher test for the Buckeyes than the Wisconsin Badgers did several weeks ago. Quarterback Sean Clifford played well last week in a win against Indiana, leading an excellent 18-play fourth quarter scoring drive that lasted over nine minutes. The Nittany Lions are scoring nearly 37 points a game, and they will have to be at their best this weekend.
Penn State’s defense, however, has been the team’s strength all season. They’re giving up 13.5 points per contest and just over 316 total yards a game. They’ll face their toughest test yet against Ohio State–and Penn State head coach James Franklin knows it.
“They’re going to make plays, we’ve got to match them. It needs to be one of those types of games, like a heavyweight fight. That guy delivers a blow, you counter. That’s what it’s going to need to be,” Franklin said this week.
Trends, Pick & Prediction
Spread: Penn State: +18.5
Over/Under: 57.5 points
Odds Shark currently have the Buckeyes winning the game by a projected score of 52-25, with Ohio State covering the spread and the total score going over.
The following trends surrounding the game are courtesy of Odds Shark:
• Penn State is 2-4 ATS in their last 6 games.
• Penn State is 9-1 SU in their last 10 games.
• The Nittany Lions are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games against Ohio State.
• Penn State is 1-6 SU in their last 7 games against Ohio State.
• The Buckeyes are 8-1 ATS in their last 9 games.
• Ohio State is 10-0 SU in their last 10 games.
• The Buckeyes are 18-0 SU in their last 18 games at home.
• Ohio State is 10-2 SU in their last 12 games when playing at home against Penn State.
This could easily be one of the best games of the season. The difference, however, should be the depth and breadth of talent Ohio State has–they’re simply too good on both sides of the ball for Penn State to keep up for four quarters. That said, we’re with Odds Shark on all but one thing. Ohio State should win, but we’re taking Penn State with the points. They should put up a fight.
Final Prediction: Buckeyes 42, Nittany Lions 24