- Spread: Ohio State -12.5
- Moneyline: Ohio State -440; Penn State +330
- Over/Under: 64.5
*Odds via PointsBet.com
The roller-coaster ride continued for fans of the Big Ten last weekend, with the conference finally getting its season underway. Ohio State did not disappoint with a big 52-17 win over Nebraska powered by a monster game from Justin Fields. But things did not go nearly as well for Penn State.
As one of the teams thought to have an outside shot of dethroning Ohio State this year, fans were eager to see the Nittany Lions get to work. However, even though they outgained Indiana 488-211, they lost in overtime, 36-35.
But as SEC and especially Mississippi State fans know all too well, big wins in Week One do not necessarily mean a thing. The same could be said for shocking losses, as well. While Ohio State won convincingly, their game was far from perfect.
The Buckeyes should not count on Penn State turning the ball over three times or accumulating 100 yards in penalties, either.
Ohio State Buckeyes Betting Preview
After going undefeated in conference play last year and 13-1 overall, the Buckeyes’ expectation this season is simple—make it back to the College Football Playoffs. Along the way, they would run the table in the Big Ten, win the Big Ten championship, and probably a Heisman Trophy for Justin Fields.
It’s a tall order, but when you have the talent that Ohio State has and recruit as well as they do, you could also say its par for the course.
There were some concerns, of course, coming into the 2020 season. On the offensive side of the ball, they were in great shape. But on the defensive side, they only had three returning starters. Could they reload and get everyone up to speed and on the same page without the usual non-conference warm-up games?
If last week’s win over Nebraska is any indication, the answer is yes.
Justin Fields and the offense looked good; they must have to score 52 points, right? Defensively, they must have done something right to hold Nebraska to just 17 points. However, while everything looked good on the surface, there could be some underlying issues teams could exploit.
Other than Justin Fields, the offense was unimpressive. Yes, he has good receivers to work with. But neither Trey Sermon nor Master Teague ran particularly well. On the defensive side, they let the Cornhuskers run for 210.
So, a team with a better secondary than Nebraska and a good run game could give Ohio State a run for its money. But are the Nittany Lions such a team?
Penn State Nittany Lions Betting Preview
After going 11-2 last season, there was hope for the Nittany Lions entering the season. Like many teams, they had some starting roles that needed to be filled. But the offense was in good shape; they just needed to find the right guys to plug into the defense.
If they could, and if Sean Clifford could take the next step in his development, they could upset Ohio State for the Big Ten. But if how they played against Indiana indicates what lies ahead, they may be lucky to make a bowl game this year.
On the offensive end, they generated nearly 500 yards of offense. However, Sean Clifford ended up being responsible for most of it (238 yards passing and 119 rushing). While he did account for four touchdowns (three passing and one rushing), he also had two interceptions, which lead to ten points for Indiana.
On the defensive end, they did not do bad. Indiana did not move the ball up and down the field. But they did allow the Hoosiers to take advantage of short fields.
When you commit ten penalties that cost you 100 yards and turn the ball over three times, you will not beat too many teams. You certainly are not going to beat a team like Ohio State.
Ohio State at Penn State Betting Prediction
Penn State is going to play a much better game than they did last week. Had they played a softer opponent, like Ohio State, they might have been able to survive their mistakes. But James Franklin is going to have the team focused and ready to play better this week.
Will they play well enough to win? Probably not. Ohio State is imperfect, but they are the better team between the two. The Nittany Lions will probably try to exploit Ohio State’s run defense like Nebraska did.
Do not count on them having a ton of success. But the Penn State run game will have enough to keep them in it. However, in the end, Justin Fields will be too much for the Nittany Lions. Ohio State wins, but Penn State wins against the spread.
As for the over/under—there is enough firepower between these two to cover the over.
Travis’ Best Bet: Penn State (+12.5) and OVER 64.5