The college football regular season schedule continues to wind down with a number of great rivalry showdowns on the slate over the next two weeks. While the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend offers the best rivalries of the year, this Saturday’s Big Ten clash between the No. 9 Penn State Nittany Lions and the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes deserves to be on the list.
The Lions’ lone straight-up setback of the season against nine wins came two weeks ago in a stunning 31-26 road loss to Minnesota as 6.5-point favorites. Ohio State has rolled through its first 10 games unbeaten, but it could not cover against Rutgers its last time out in a 56-21 victory as a ridiculous 52-point road favorite.
Penn State still has a shot at winning the Big Ten East standings if it can win this game while the Buckeyes are working towards the bigger picture of winning a national championship.
There is little doubt that Ohio State has the clear SU edge in this annual grudge match but bitter rivalries have a way of keeping games much closer than they are expected to be.
Top Underdog Bet- Take the Penn State (+18) at Ohio State
This Saturday’s showdown is set for High Noon at Ohio Stadium with FOX carrying the national broadcast. The current spread has Ohio State listed as an 18-point favorite with the total set at 56.5 points.
Coming off the disappointing loss to Minnesota, the Lions had a close call against Indiana at home this past Saturday in a 34-27 victory as 15-point favorites. Top online sportsbooks know they have failed to cover the closing spread in five of their last eight games, but that was as favorites. They have yet to take the field this season as clear underdogs.
Penn State is an even 5-5 against the spread with the total going OVER in three of their last five games. The Lions are 3-1 ATS in four previous road games this year.
To keep things close against the heavily favored Buckeyes, the Penn State offense is going to need a near perfect performance from quarterback Sean Clifford and its leading rusher Journey Brown.
Clifford has thrown for 2,450 yards and 22 touchdowns against six interceptions. He is also the team’s second-leading rusher with 374 yards and five scores on 97 carries. Brown has gained 521 yards running the ball with six touchdown runs on 86 attempts.
The Lions’ defense is going to give up quite a few points on Saturday even if this unit plays its best game of the year. The goal would be to keep Penn State within two scores heading into the fourth quarter.
Ohio State has its best team in years on either side of the ball.
This is a legitimate national title contender that can give both LSU and Clemson a serious run for the money. Covering a 52-point spread aside, the Buckeyes have also been a profitable betting team this season at 8-2 ATS.
They have closed as double-digit favorites in all 10 games in one blowout after another. However, to date they have not played all that tough of a schedule.
After Penn State at home, they will finish the regular season on the road against Michigan. This is not to say Ohio State will look past Penn State as a heavy home favorite but this could turn into a tougher test than expected.
The Buckeyes have dominated this series over the past several seasons with a SU 6-1 record in the last seven meetings. They are 10-2 SU in their last 12 home games against Penn State. One thing to keep in mind is the Lions’ 4-1 record ATS in the last five meetings.