A pivotal matchup is on tap in the Big Ten Conference Saturday night when the #20 Penn State Nittany Lions (5-2, 2-2 Big Ten) battle the #5 Ohio State Buckeyes (6-1, 4-0 Big Ten) in a top-25 showdown. A win for the Nittany Lions breaks a two-game losing skid, while a victory for the Buckeyes keeps their unblemished conference record intact.
Saturday’s kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. EST inside the Horseshoe in Columbus, OH. According to the oddsmakers, the Buckeyes are a 19.5-point favorite, and the over-under total is at 61 points.
What to Know – Penn State Nittany Lions
Penn State has had a rough month, suffering a 23-20 loss at Iowa and a 20-18 loss at home to Illinois that took eight overtimes to complete. The ball bounces a different way for the Nittany Lions in those games, and Penn State would be undefeated headed into the Week 9 tilt.
Last week, Sean Clifford returned under center for Penn State, but he didn’t look 100% healthy. Clifford completed 19-of-34 passes for 165 yards and one touchdown in the loss. Penn State averages 26.6 points and 372.4 yards of offense per game and will need all of that and more to keep up with Ohio State’s offense.
In the last five matchups, the Nittany Lions are 8-3 against the spread over their last 11 games and 4-1 ATS against Ohio. The total has gone under in five of the last seven games for Penn State.
What to Know – Ohio State Buckeyes
The Buckeyes have been unstoppable since their loss to Oregon and demoting of defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs. Since the loss in Week 2, Ohio State has averaged 54.4 points per game and beaten teams by an average of 41.6 points.
Ohio State owns the best scoring offense in the nation, and it all starts with freshman quarterback C.J. Stroud. Stroud hasn’t thrown an interception in three games and has 14 touchdown passes over that span. Ohio State is scoring 49.3 points and posting 559.3 yards of offense per game this season.
Ohio State is 4-1 ATS over their last five games, and 8-0 ATS in recent games played in October. The total has gone over in seven of the last eight conference games for the Buckeyes.
The Pick is In
Penn State will need to do everything they can to slow down this offense in the last five matchups, and that still might not be enough. The Nittany Lions are one of the few teams in the Big Ten that can match the Buckeyes in talent at certain positions, but they don’t have the depth the Buckeyes have to compete for 60 minutes.
There hasn’t been a defense that’s stopped this offense yet this year, and don’t expect it to happen Saturday night. Penn State’s offense will score some points, but the Buckeyes do enough damage on offense to push this total over with ease.
Betting Pick: Nittany Lions/Buckeyes OVER 61