College Football Betting: Ohio State at Penn State

College Football Betting:  Ohio State at Penn State

Big Ten football matchup on the docket for Saturday night as Ohio State hits the road to take on Penn State. Ohio State has run roughshod over it’s competition this year with a 5-1 SU/ATS record. Their lone SU/ATS loss–to Virginia Tech–underscores a concern about their schedule. Their wins are against Navy, Kent State, Rutgers, Cincinnati and Maryland. The Buckeyes are notorious for scheduling weak opponents in the early going but their schedule isn’t particularly tough the rest of the way either with the exception of a game against Michigan State. A team can only play the opponents on their schedule but that doesn’t help their national championship aspirations when they’re perceived as beating up on overmatched opponents. Penn State is a solid 4-2 overall but just 1-2 in conference play.

We’ll leave the empty suit pundits on ESPN to worry about Ohio State’s ‘legitimacy’ as a national championship contender. Our job is to find pointspread winners and this game sure looks a lot like last night’s Pac 12 matchup between Oregon and California. In both cases, it was a top tier team against a decent team. And, ultimately, the top tier team was able to pull away. There is a big difference between Penn State and California but one that will likely produce the same result–the Nittany Lions are a feisty defensive team that struggles offensively. Not including a game against rebuilding UMass, Penn State hasn’t scored more than 21 points in a game since opening night against USF. They’ve scored a total of 19 points in their last two games against a decent class of Big 10 opponent. In many ways, this game sets up as a worse tactical matchup for the underdog than last night’s Oregon/Cal game was. It’s unlikely that Penn State’s offense can sustain drives long enough to give their defense any help.

Urban Meyer has dropped 50+ on opponents in his last four games. A 66-0 drubbing of overmatched Kent underscores the fact that this team is looking for big margins to try and compensate for a weak schedule. Just don’t see any way that a sputtering Penn State offense can keep it close against an opponent willing and able to drop a margin on them.