The No. 9 Penn State Nittany Lions and No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes meet on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET. This game, one of two on the Week 5 college football schedule that features a pair of Top-10 teams, will have major implications on who reaches the Big Ten Championship Game and College Football Playoff. The Buckeyes are favored by 3.5 points in the latest Ohio State vs. Penn State odds, while the over-under, or total number of points Vegas thinks will be scored, is now 68 after opening at 72. A win in Happy Valley paves the way for a Big Ten Championship Game berth, while the loser will need help along the way. Before you enter your Ohio State vs. Penn State picks, check out what SportsLine data scientist Stephen Oh has to say.
The renowned co-founder of AccuScore, Oh simulates each game 10,000 times using SportsLine’s projection model. Oh is crushing his college football picks in 2018, and he has been extremely impressive when the Nittany Lions or Buckeyes are involved. He’s on a 7-0 run picking Penn State games and has hit on eight of nine Ohio State contests. That’s a 15-1 combined record on spread picks for or against each team. Anyone who has followed him is up big.
Now, he has crunched the numbers and generated a strong point-spread selection for Saturday’s Ohio State vs. Penn State showdown. It’s only available over at SportsLine.
Oh knows Ohio State has destroyed the competition on the way to a 4-0 start, and that includes a 40-28 win at No. 15 TCU. Its other three games have been routs, beating the likes of Oregon State, Rutgers and Tulane by an average of 46 points.
Dwayne Haskins has emerged as a Heisman frontrunner, piling up 1,194 yards, 16 TDs and only one INT. But teams can’t focus on slowing down the sophomore QB because the Buckeyes have two running backs that would start on just about every team in the country. Sophomore JK Dobbins, himself a preseason Heisman contender, has rushed for 323 yards and two TDs, while junior Mike Weber has 299 yards and three scores. They each average 5.8 yards per carry.
The defense has been just as dominant, holding opponents to an average of only 301.5 yards. Star pass rusher Nick Bosa remains out after having “core surgery” following an injury against TCU. The Buckeyes have 15 sacks and four INTs so far; Bosa has four of them, while DT Dre’Mont Jones has three.
But just because Ohio State has been dominant thus far doesn’t mean it will cover on the road against a Penn State team that also features an explosive offense and is also ranked in the top 10.
Penn State needed overtime to edge Appalachian State in its season-opener, but the Nittany Lions have taken nothing for granted since. Against Pittsburgh, Kent State and Illinois, the Lions have racked up an average of 59 points, with a margin of victory of 45.7 per game.
The Nittany Lions have pounded defenses through the air and on the ground, averaging 275 yards passing and 240 yards rushing. Senior quarterback Trace McSorley has 763 yards passing with eight touchdowns against just two interceptions.
Penn State’s defense has also been solid this season. In fact, the Nittany Lions are allowing just 173 passing yards per game, which ranks 29th in the nation.
Oh has analyzed this matchup from every possible angle and while we can tell you he’s leaning under, he has discovered a crucial x-factor that makes one side of the spread a must-back. He’s only sharing his pick over at SportsLine.
Who covers Ohio State-Penn State? And what crucial x-factor decides the spread outcome? Visit SportsLine now to see which side you need to jump all over Saturday, all from the data scientist who’s an amazing 15-1 on picks involving these two teams.