Penn State vs Ohio State Predictions

Last Updated: Oct 16, 2023

Some of the Big Ten’s best teams have gotten through the first half of the season relatively untested, but that trend is coming to an end with a top-10 matchup in the conference’s East Division.

No. 7 Penn State will travel to Columbus to take on No. 3 Ohio State, the seventh consecutive fully ranked matchup between these squads, but the first between top-10 teams since 2019.

The last time either team came into this game unranked was 2016, when Ohio State was ranked second in the country and Penn State wasn’t in the poll. Ironically enough, this was the Nittany Lions’ most recent win in the series, in which Ohio State owns a 23-14 all-time edge.

That 2016 meeting ended with an iconic blocked kick returned for a touchdown, and it’s Penn State’s only win in the past 11 meetings of the two sides. Will it turn that trend around this Saturday?

Find out with our free Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Ohio State Buckeyes college football picks and predictions for Saturday, Oct. 21, at noon ET.

Penn State vs Ohio State Odds

Track our latest CFB odds for Nittany Lions vs Buckeyes:

NCAAF lines used for Penn State at Ohio State were current as of Monday, Oct. 16, at 2:30 a.m. EST on DraftKings Sportsbook.

  • Moneyline: Ohio State (-192) • Penn State (+160)
  • Spread: Ohio State -4.5 (-110) • Penn State +4.5 (-110)
  • Total Points: Over 48.5 (-110) • Under 48.5 (-110)

In this clash of Titans, Ohio State is interestingly enough a road favorite by more than a field goal at most sportsbooks. The scoring total is also an enticing one, set just above the key number of 48.

Penn State vs Ohio State Prediction

SCORE PICK: Penn State 20, Ohio State 19

You can’t fault a team for playing the games in front of them, but Ryan Day’s Ohio State has spent much of this season looking unimpressive against mediocre opposition. It has one nice win at Notre Dame, but it was outplayed in most respects even in that instance, and an often-stagnant offense has allowed opponents to hang in the game much longer than they probably should based on talent level alone.

Conversely, Penn State has been an absolute juggernaut, and nobody has pushed them at any point this year, save for an early scare against Northwestern. First-year starting QB Drew Allar is beginning to live up to the hype, as he has yet to be intercepted, but still needs to make some bigger throws.

Overall, the Nittany Lions can eke out the upset in this one since they are one of the few teams with a defense that can nearly match Ohio State’s, and they have a well-balanced offense to keep them competitive against that tough Buckeye defense.

Penn State vs Ohio State Best Bets

Penn State +4.5 (-110)

BetMGM Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 Unit

We’re sticking with the spread, as it covers some great football numbers, and while Penn State has every ability to make this a memorable victory, the safer wager is just that it’ll keep it close. This way, you’re protected to a degree against the kind of madness that goes on in a harsh road environment like The Horseshoe.

In addition to Allar at quarterback, Penn State has stars in the key positions that often get overlooked to a degree. Olu Fashanu just might be the best offensive lineman in the Nation, and can help to neutralize Ohio State’s pass rush, which would erase the advantage of one of its biggest strengths.

On the other side of things, Chop Robinson, Dani Dennis-Sutton, and Adisa Isaac form a formidable edge rushing rotation, as all three have a pass rush win rate of at least 17%, and they should provide Ohio State’s offensive line with its toughest test yet.

Under 48.5 (-110)

BetRivers Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 Unit

While 49 might seem like a significant number, 48 is actually the fifth-most common actual total in college football games, while 45 is third on the list and 41 is seventh. Forty-nine is way down in 14th, also below 44 and 47.

You’re getting a great deal here on a number that captures some key end values, between two of the better defensive teams in the country.

Penn State’s defense is the best unit in the country as per EPA per play, while the same metric has OSU’s inside the top 25. Both offenses grade well too, but neither one grades nearly as well as the defense it’s going up against.

Coach James Franklin will likely keep things simple for Allar against a defense of this caliber, and it’s easy to imagine Kyle McCord struggling in a big way for Ohio State. He’s had big shoes to fill due to following up previous Buckeye starters Justin Fields and C.J. Stroud, and he’s not coming anywhere close to doing so thus far.

Penn State vs Ohio State Same Game Parlay

Penn State vs Ohio State SGP (+268)

DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 0.50 Units

  • Under 48.5 (-110)
  • Penn State +4.5 (-110)

With few options for Same Game Parlaying at press time, we’re going to combine the two bets above to boost their value. This is a solid wager as the two legs should hit or miss together; an upset win can sometimes mean a shootout, but that’s not likely to be the case here.

The Buckeyes have the higher-ceiling offense, so if Penn State is able to stay in this one to the tune of covering the spread, it’s likely that its top-tier defense was able to slow down the pace and make this a defensive war, much like the game Ohio State played against Notre Dame.

Speaking of pace, neither of these teams plays nearly as fast as the National average, so the cadence of this one should promote a low, closely-fought matchup.


William Schwartz

As a former athlete and lifetime fan, sports have always been a huge part of my life. I've written about them for almost as long as I've been watching and playing them, from a blog I wrote with a friend in middle school, to journalism classes at the University of Michigan, to today. I hope to bring you entertaining coverage, strong analysis, and profitable betting picks on any and all sports, whether it's MLB baseball, college football, European soccer, or anything in between.

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