No. 2 Penn State Nittany Lions (7-0 SU, 5-1-1 ATS) vs. No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes (6-1 SU, 4-3 ATS)
College Football Week 9
Date/Time: Saturday October 28th, 2017. 3:30PM (ET)
Where: Ohio Stadium Columbus, O.H
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: PSU +7/OSU -7
Over/Under Total: 56.5
One of the most anticipated games of the season will take place this Saturday when Big Ten powerhouses collide with College Football Playoffs implications on the line when the undefeated no. 2 Penn State Nittany Lions travel into Columbus to play the no. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes. The Buckeyes have found some energy since their loss to Oklahoma outscoring opponents 266-56 over the last 5 games. With no room for error, the Buckeyes will have to run the table to keep any hopes of the playoffs alive. Fortunately, Ohio State has been playing great football and perhaps they can hand Penn State their first loss of the year when they get the Nittany Lions inside the Horseshoe on Saturday.
The reason this game is deserving on the hype is because both teams are playing great. Ohio State has rallied from their early stumble to Oklahoma. Penn State has been great on both sides of the ball all season earning marks of 7-0 SU and 5-1-1 against the spread. The Nittany Lions defense holds the best scoring mark in college football yielding opponents to just 9.6 points per game. The defense has not given up more than 19 points all season and has already pitched two shutouts. Therefore, this will be a great matchup between Penn States defense and Ohio States resurging offense.
From the Buckeyes offense perspective, they have been firing on all cylinders. Quarterback J.T. Barrett has thrown for 1,838 yards with 21 touchdowns and just 1 pick. Barrett has also added 5 additional touchdowns on the ground. Meanwhile the entire Buckeyes offense has been dynamic in the running game averaging 250 yards per game. Running back J.K. Dobbins has been the biggest playmakers in the running game racking up 775 yards and 5 touchdowns on the year. Dobbins has averaged a lucrative 7.8 yards per touch this season on 100 attempts. In many ways, Dobbins represents this Ohio State offense perfectly. They have plenty of playmakers and speed that is dangerous in the open space. Therefore, it will be critical that Penn State bottles up their efforts along the defensive front.
I am personally a little concerned about the Penn State run stop defense. On paper, the defense has been outstanding but they have had moments when they struggled to stop the run. If they can do that for 4 quarters, then the Nittany Lions will have a great chance to remain undefeated because they have an outstanding offense that is simply getting the job done. Running back Saquon Barkley appears to be on his way to a Heisman Trophy. Barkley has rushed for 757 yards with 8 touchdowns, he has scored on special teams, and leads the Nittany Lions in receptions with 32 catches for another 448 yards with 3 touchdowns in the passing game. He is truly a complete back and props to Head Coach James Franklin for continuously making efforts to get him the ball in a variety of ways.
Most of the media attention has fallen onto Barkleys stellar play and perhaps rightfully so. However, I think quarterback Trace McSorley needs to be given a ton of credit for this offenses overall success. A running game does not work unless you have someone to keep defenses honest in the passing game. McSorley has been outstanding completing 67% passing for 1,879 yards with 14 touchdowns and 5 picks. The senior quarterback has also added 7 touchdowns on the ground. I believe McSorely needs to have a huge game for Penn State this week for the Nittany Lions to survive perhaps more so than Saquon Barkely. The Buckeyes biggest weakness this season has been defending the pass meaning this Saturdays result could fall on the arm of McSorely.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I feel like this is an evenly matched game and the Buckeyes are getting the points primarily because it is in Columbus. I think Penn State is the better team and I am of James Franklin. He gets the best out of his players. So I will take the extra points in this one and ride Penn State +7. – Where are you betting this game? Does your bookie give you the the option to bet on games at -105 odds? NO! He’s charging you -110 (or more!) Sports betting is a game of edges. Don’t let the house get the edge on you! Start betting at discounted odds TODAY at 5Dimes Sportsbook!