- Ohio State has opened as a 10.5-point road favorite at Penn State in Week 9
- The Buckeyes dominated in their season opener, while the Nittany Lions stumbled and lost in double-OT at Indiana on Saturday
- Read below for an early look at the matchup and whether the line will move leading up to the game
The Big Ten conference features one of its biggest game of the year in only its second week of play. No. 3 Ohio State has opened as -10.5 road favorites over No. 18 Penn State at Beaver Stadium on Saturday, October 31 (7:30 PM EST).
In what looked like a potential top ten matchup before the Big Ten season began in Week 8, Penn State will be desperate to avoid an 0-2 start after their stunning loss at Indiana.
No. 3 Ohio State vs No. 18 Penn State Week 9 Opening Odds
|No. 3 Ohio State||-10.5 (-105)||-430||OFF|
|No. 18 Penn State||+10.5 (-115)||+320||OFF|
Odds taken October 25th from FanDuel
Buckeyes Start Season With a Bang
Ohio State lived up to preseason expectations in an impressive season-opening victory against Nebraska in Week 8. QB Justin Fields threw for 276 yards and two touchdowns and added another score on the ground to lead his team to a commanding 52-17 victory.
The Buckeyes proved why they are projected to have the best offense in college football this year. Returning wide receivers Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson each had 100-yard games, while five-star freshman Jaxon Smith-Njigba stole the show with an insane toe-tapping touchdown grab in the fourth quarter.
An unbelievable touchdown catch by Ohio State true freshman Jaxon Smith-Njigba ? pic.twitter.com/BJveVu159X
— Yahoo Sports College Football (@YahooSportsCFB) October 24, 2020
The Buckeyes were favored by 26.5 points against Nebraska and easily covered the spread. Perhaps the best news for Ohio State bettors is that running backs Master Teague and Trey Sermon still have another level they can get to.
OSU’s offensive line wasn’t able to create much room for the running backs against the Cornhuskers, so look for them to have a better showing against Penn State. This is a very talented group that appeared to be dealing with some rust after a long offseason.
Penn State Opens With Heartbreaking Loss
Penn State is already facing a must-win scenario against Ohio State after losing in overtime to Indiana (36-35) in Week 8. The Nittany Lions out-gained the Hoosiers 488 yards to 211, but they couldn’t covert on some key drives and hurt themselves with several costly mistakes.
Nittany Lions kicker kicker Jake Pinegar missed two field goals, while running back Devyn Ford mistakenly went for a touchdown with his team leading 21-20 late in the game. If Ford had gone down before the goal line, Penn State may have been able to run out the clock and not allowed Indiana the chance to force OT.
The major concern for Penn State is that redshirt junior QB Sean Clifford didn’t look much improved from last season. He threw two brutal interceptions and didn’t get the ball off quick enough when facing pressure. The positive is that the Nittany Lions defense played fairly well until the final drive by the Hoosiers.
The Penn State “White Out” is one of the most electric home atmospheres in college football, but it’s not going to be as effective due to COVID-19 restrictions. The Nittany Lions were 7-0 at Beaver Stadium in 2019, but they only covered the spread in two of those games.
Ohio State has won the last three meetings against Penn State, but the Nittany Lions have played the Buckeyes tight. Two of the last three meetings have been one-possession games and no team has beaten the other by more than two touchdowns since Ohio State won 38-10 in 2015.
In the Buckeyes 28-17 win last season, Fields impressed with two touchdowns and no interceptions, while Clifford struggled for Penn State, completing just 10 of 17 passes before suffering an injury in the third quarter. The skill discrepancy between the two starting QBs will be a key storyline leading up to kickoff.
Penn State RB Journey Brown, who was the team’s leading rusher in the 2019 clash, is dealing with an undisclosed medical condition that might prevent him from hitting the field in 2020. He’s coming off a breakout season and is a huge loss for the Nittany Lions.
How Will the Line Move?
There was already a large amount of hype surrounding Ohio State heading into the season, and it’s only going to increase after their impressive season opener. Ohio State was slammed by the public ahead of their game against Nebraska, which led to them closing as -26.5-point favorites after opening at -23.5.
Expect public money to once again come in on Ohio State leading up to their second game of the season. The Justin Fields for Heisman train has left the station and everyone is looking to get on board. The impressive play of the junior QB is the primary reason why this line will likely shift in favor of the Buckeyes.
Bet Ohio State before the value disappears, but wait it out if you like Penn State. Many will fade the Nittany Lions after that upset loss, but this will be a determined group that has played the Buckeyes tight in recent seasons.