Nittany Lions vs. Buckeyes Expert Picks for Week 13 College Football
Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Ohio State Buckeyes, Saturday November 23, Noon ET
This is a very big game in the Big Ten. If the Buckeyes win the game , then they clinch the Big Ten East title and a berth in the Big Ten Championship Game against Minnesota or Wisconsin. They would be very heavily favored in either matchup. And if Penn State can pull off the upset, they would be one win over Rutgers next week - a stone cold lock if there ever was one - away from winning the division themselves. So, it's a playoff game two weeks before the postseason even rolls around. And on top of that, Ohio State would take a big step towards their playoff berth with a win here, and Penn State would revive their chances in a significant way if they won. The only way this game could have set up to be any more important is if Penn State was still unbeaten.
Penn State at Ohio State Betting Storylines
When you look at Ohio State's schedule, what you see depends on your perspective. On one hand, this is not a team that has faced any kind of challenge at all. They have won every game they have played by at least 24 points. They have been favored by more than two touchdowns in every game they have played. Their last four games have been farcical blowouts. This is a team that has faced a rough schedule, and now they face their two biggest tests of the year in their final two games. And it's not like this is a massive test necessarily, either - the Buckeyes are heavily favored , and will be next week against Michigan if they win here, too. But, on the other hand, it's not like Ohio State sets their own schedule - at least not the conference part - so it's not their fault if they haven't been given worthy opposition. And, while they haven't played great competition, what they have done is taken care of that competition about as effectively as they could hope to. They have crushed their opponents, covering eight of 10 spreads despite always being heavy favorites and the public choice. So, you could make the argument that this team is overrated because of their schedule, or that they are dominant and frightening, and you would have plenty of ammunition for both cases.
While Ohio State seems to be the better team here, and they are going to have a very angry Chase Young back in the fold, recent history has shown that this could be a close game. In 2016 the Nittany Lions blocked a field goal to secure a three-point win as 17.5-point underdogs. The next year, Ohio State trailed 28-10 in the second quarter but scored the last two touchdowns to win by a single point, 39-38. And last year the Buckeyes were down 26-14 with eight minutes left but won 27-26 in another crazy comeback. Will we see more crazy drama here?
We mentioned him before, but I don't think we can understate the significance of the return of Young. He never should have been suspended, so he will be very angry and ready for his return. He has had extra time to prepare for this matchup, and any aches or pains he had are gone. Penn State's QB is far from the best QB in this game, and he plays behind an offensive line that has only been okay. Young is going to be a major force in this game.
Penn State at Ohio State Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with the Buckeyes favored by 18 at home. It has mostly stayed at that level, with 18.5 available in spots. About 60 percent of all bets have been placed on Ohio State, so this movement makes sense. The total opened at 56.5 and has climbed slightly to 57.5.
Penn State is 19-9-2 ATS in their last 30 games against teams with a winning record. They are 5-2 ATS in their last seven road games against teams with winning road records. But they are just 3-7 ATS in their last 10 November games. Ohio State has covered their last five spreads at home, their last nine against teams with winning records, and eight of their last nine conference games.
Penn State at Ohio State Predictions and Picks
The close games in the past make it harder to like the home team than it might otherwise be. But we still have to do it. Ohio State has a much more dynamic offense, a more complete defense, and has played with much more of a focused edge this year. The spread is large, but that's nothing new for the Buckeyes this year, and they have been kind to bettors. Ohio State is clearly the better team, and they are going to win at home. I hate being in the situation of hoping that the underdog doesn't lose by too much, so the Buckeyes are the play against the spread.
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