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Easy Bucks: Analyzing the Spread, Point Total and Betting Props to Watch for Ohio State vs. Penn State

Do Buckeye fans already find themselves missing Sean Clifford? You bet, Columbus!

Sports bettors in Ohio and beyond should count themselves grateful OSU finally has a playable money line this season with home field advantage attached!

Can the Buckeyes cruise to a seventh straight win over the Nittany Lions since 2017? Will James Franklin finally claim that elusive win in Ohio Stadium that has successfully evaded him throughout his tenure in Happy Valley?

As always, play responsibly, and let’s consider the sports betting perspective for Ohio State’s showdown with Penn State.

Lines and odds courtesy of Action Network market consensus or best available.

The Spread: Ohio State -4.5

Last weekend saw the first time Ohio State covered a spread in back-to-back games since the team faced Michigan State and Iowa a season ago. The start to the year has hardly gone smoothly for Buckeye bettors optimistic about taking the points, but the team does now find itself at a 3-2-1 record against 2023 spreads, with those two losses arriving in the opening weeks of the season.

However, the upcoming showdown with Penn State figures to easily serve as Ohio State’s most difficult challenge since the Notre Dame game. Accordingly, this game’s betting market should close with OSU’s second-narrowest projected margin of victory this season. For a team that has seen sporadic ATS performance dating back to last October, the previous 10 results against Penn State can hardly inspire faith in a cover. 

OHIO STATE AGAINST THE SPREAD (ATS) RESULTS IN LAST 10 GAMES VS. PENN ST. (VIA ODDS SHARK) 
DATE AWAY SCORE HOME SCORE RESULT HOME SPREAD ATS
Oct 29, 2022 OSU 44 Penn St. 31 W +15.5 L
Oct 30, 2021 Penn St. 24 OSU 33 W -18.5 L
Oct 31, 2020 OSU 38 Penn St. 25 W +10.0 W
Nov 23, 2019 Penn St. 17 OSU 28 W -20.0 L
Sep 29, 2018 OSU 27 Penn St. 26 W +3.5 L
Oct 28, 2017 Penn St. 38 OSU 39 W -7.0 L
Oct 22, 2016 OSU 21 Penn St. 24 L +17.5 L
Oct 17, 2015 Penn St. 10 OSU 38 W -18 W
Oct 25, 2014 OSU 31 Penn St. 24 W +13.5 L
Oct 26, 2013 Penn St. 14 OSU 63 W -16.0 W

In fact, since James Franklin’s only win over Ohio State, the Buckeyes have covered a spread against the Nittany Lions only once — a stretch dating back to 2016 that includes seven ATS losses. A failure to win by at least five points this year will result in Ryan Day’s third straight blown cover attempt since 2021.

But eight of the last 10 meetings have also seen Ohio State favored by double-digit margins, and half of those contests took place away from Ohio Stadium in one of college football’s most notoriously disorienting places to play. How does recent ATS performance grade out for previous OSU/PSU games in Columbus with similar spreads?

OHIO STATE ATS RESULTS IN ALL HOME GAMES VS. PENN ST. w/ SINGLE DIGIT SPREADS SINCE 1998 (VIA ODDS SHARK) 
DATE AWAY SCORE HOME SCORE RESULT HOME SPREAD ATS
Oct 28, 2017 Penn St. 38 OSU 39 W -7.0 L
Nov 19, 2011 Penn St. 20 OSU 14 L -6.5 L
Oct 25, 2008 Penn St. 13 OSU 6 L +1.5 L
Oct 30, 2004 Penn St. 10 OSU 21 W -7.0 W
Oct 26, 2002 Penn St. 7 OSU 13 W -4.0 W

The Buckeyes own three straight ATS losses under such circumstances since the 2008 season, the most recent of which arguably serves as the most thrilling battle this not-a-rivalry has ever witnessed. No matter how confident you may find yourself in Ohio State winning this game, it seems worth taking a moment to consider how the dynamic between these teams rarely loses its competitive edge when the betting market forecasts a close encounter.

The Total: 45.5

Another week, another under! This series advocated early on this season for investments on the shallow side of point totals. Now, Ohio State find themselves staring down a fourth potential under in a row as the clock rules and Buckeye defense continue to undercut opportunities to score. If the current line holds, this Saturday will mark the first time Ohio State has seen a projected point total close for one of its games close in the 40s since its 2019 home game against Wisconsin.

Perhaps another reflection of how competitively this not-a-rivalry has played out in recent seasons, the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions have not seen their forecasted tally close below 50 points in over a decade. The shallowest example during that stretch arrived the year before Franklin finally got his first win in the series.

OHIO STATE POINT TOTAL RESULTS IN LAST 10 GAMES VS. PENN ST. (VIA ODDS SHARK) 
DATE AWAY SCORE HOME SCORE RESULT TOTAL O/U
Oct 29, 2022 OSU 44 Penn St. 31 W 60.5 O
Oct 30, 2021 Penn St. 24 OSU 33 W 60.5 U
Oct 31, 2020 OSU 38 Penn St. 25 W 63.0 P
Nov 23, 2019 Penn St. 17 OSU 28 W 58.0 U
Sep 29, 2018 OSU 27 Penn St. 26 W 69.5 U
Oct 28, 2017 Penn St. 38 OSU 39 W 57.5 O
Oct 22, 2016 OSU 21 Penn St. 24 L 54.5 U
Oct 17, 2015 Penn St. 10 OSU 38 W 50.0 U
Oct 25, 2014 OSU 31 Penn St. 24 W 53.0 O
Oct 26, 2013 Penn St. 14 OSU 63 W 56.0 O

Given the incoming anomalous closing line relative to the rest of the recent history between these teams, the last 10 results unfortunately offer little useful context toward what to expect in overall scoring. A record of 4-5-1 impartial to the under would appear to reflect that inconclusiveness.

But what about when narrowing the results to more precisely align with the circumstances of the current meeting, as done for the spread in the previous section? Although the most recent instance dates back to 2011, seven games in the last 25 years between Ohio State and Penn State in Columbus have closed with projected totals in the 40s or lower.

OHIO STATE POINT TOTAL RESULTS IN ALL HOME GAMES VS. PENN ST. w/ O/U PROJECTION
DATE AWAY SCORE HOME SCORE RESULT TOTAL O/U
Nov 19, 2011 Penn St. 20 OSU 14 L 37.5 U
Nov 13, 2010 Penn St. 14 OSU 38 W 49.5 O
Oct 25, 2008 Penn St. 13 OSU 6 L 44.5 U
Sep 23, 2006 Penn St. 6 OSU 28 W 43.0 U
Oct 30, 2004 Penn St. 10 OSU 21 W 34.5 U
Sep 23, 2000 Penn St 6 OSU 45 W 39.5 O
Oct 3, 1998 Penn St 9 OSU 28 W 47.0 U

The Buckeyes witnessed an under hit in five of these seven contests. Ohio State owns a 2-2 record against Penn State under such circumstances since the 2006 season. For a team that has left itself and its opponents starved on point estimations across all but one of the games on the schedule thus far, an under appears hard to pass up this week.

Prop Watch: Either Team to Score a Defense or Special Teams TD

Buckeye Props
Player Prop/Odds
PASSING
Kyle McCord Yards O/U 234.5
Kyle McCord Touchdowns O/U 1.5
RECEIVING
Marvin Harrison Jr. Yards O/U 83.5
Cade Stover Yards O/U 44.5
TO SCORE A TOUCHDOWN
Marvin Harrison Jr. -120
Chip Trayanum -110
Dallan Hayden +100
Miyan Williams +150
Emeka Egbuka +150
Cade Stover +165
Julian Fleming +260
Xavier Johnson +290
Carnell Tate +320
Kyle McCord +450
Ohio State Defense +550
Gee Scott Jr. +600
Prop odds via Action Network

After a second consecutive week seeing a late TreVeyon Henderson injury scratch, Prop Watch humbly moves to 2-2-2 on the season following the first game with a push since Youngstown State. However, between successful prop hits on the Notre Dame and Maryland games, Buckeye bettors can hardly complain now midway through the schedule.

Let’s go for the hat trick on props available in the range of +200 or more, shall we?

Ohio State has roughly 75 additional points of value attached to its current odds for the defense to score a touchdown against Penn State than it did prior to the Maryland game a few weeks ago. Lightning could certainly strike again for Jim Knowles and the Buckeyes this weekend, but the history of this not-a-rivalry demonstrates how scoring beyond the realm of offensive production proves to be a recurring theme across both teams.

For that reason, fans should consider hedging and hunting for an anytime defensive or special teams touchdown prop that covers both teams, rather than just Ohio State. 

Recent results would indicate that betting on the Buckeye defense by itself to find the end zone would be a worthy-enough spot for the upcoming contest. Fans certainly recall the cherry-on-top of J.T. Tuimoloau’s historically great game last season: a 14-yard interception return for a touchdown to seal the victory in Happy Valley. However, the last meeting in Columbus also saw a defensive lineman score for the Buckeyes when Jerron Cage returned a fumble 57 yards to the end zone with some help from Tyleik Williams.

There have been eight total defensive and special teams touchdowns across the last 14 meetings between Ohio State and Penn State. Perhaps the most infamous of all these would be Grant Haley’s 60-yard blocked field goal return in 2016 that flipped the game’s score in favor of the Nittany Lions and ultimately proved to be the difference that evening.

But Penn State also owns another touchdown from that group: J.T. Barrett’s 40-yard pick-six to Anthony Zettel in 2014 that set off a run of 24 unanswered points by the Nittany Lions. Barrett eventually grinded out a double-overtime victory, but the mistake almost immediately undid a first half full of dominance for the Buckeyes. The other defensive and special teams scores in this series going back to 2010 include three pick-sixes thrown by Matthew McGloin and a punt block in the end zone recovered by Michael Yancich.

The Silver Bullets own three defensive touchdowns in six games this season, all of which have arrived at home. The unit under Jim Knowles already took a trip to the end zone last year against Penn State, and some players have even more experience with that accomplishment from the prior campaign.

But given the Nittany Lions find themselves responsible for a quarter of all the non-offensive touchdowns scored in this not-a-rivalry across the last near-decade and a half, why would you not broaden the scope of your investment by including any mistakes from the Buckeyes? If Parker Fleming’s early mishaps create another fateful special teams scoring opportunity that turns OSU/PSU into more of a mess than it should be, you should at least hedge with the potential to profit from such a frustrating error!  

Good luck, and go Buck$.

The post Easy Bucks: Analyzing the Spread, Point Total and Betting Props to Watch for Ohio State vs. Penn State appeared first on RT News Today.



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