Penn State vs. Ohio State Expert Pick and Prediction – October 21, 2023
PENN STATE VS. OHIO STATE EXPERT PICK AND PREDICTION – October 21, 2023 — Ever since James Franklin arrived in Happy Valley, there’s been one consistent thorn in his side: Ohio State.
The Nittany Lions have held their own against Michigan, splitting the past six meetings with the Wolverines. But Franklin has gone 1-8 against the Buckeyes, and he’s 0-4 in Columbus.
Making matters more irritating for the Nittany Lions, it’s not like they haven’t come close. Over their past three trips west down I-70, they’ve lost by an average of seven points per game. But each time, all they’ve done in Ohio Stadium is lose, and it’s been a major constant in this rivalry. Since Penn State joined the Big Ten in 1993, it has played 15 games at Ohio State, and the Buckeyes own a 13-2 mark against the Nittany Lions in Columbus.
However, this might be Franklin and Penn State’s best shot to finally get out from under Ohio State’s scarlet and gray shadow. The Buckeyes, quite frankly, haven’t looked like a national title contender. They have taken steps in that direction, but Maryland played them tough for three quarters and they should have lost at Notre Dame. Only against Purdue has Ohio State really looked like a powerful squad.
And that makes this a rare situation where the pressure is on both sides. Penn State’s got to prove it can handle the Big Ten’s best, and if it can, it will put itself in the driver’s seat for the Big Ten title and the College Football Playoff. The Nittany Lions get to play Michigan at home, so a win here would make a world of difference for their chances. For Ohio State, it’s probably win or else, as it’s hard to see the Buckeyes winning in Ann Arbor if they lose here.
(6-0 SU, 6-0 ATS)
(6-0 SU, 3-3 ATS)
When: Saturday, October 21st at Noon EDT
Where: Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
Public Bets: 85% on Penn State
Public Money: 89% on Penn State
Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of October 16th, 2023.
Penn State vs. Ohio State In-Season Trends
Penn State continues to find a way to cover each week, regardless of the opponent or the line. Last week against Massachusetts, the Nittany Lions were giving 42 points and still found a way to cover quite comfortably. They have been pushed twice, and both came on the road: Illinois and Northwestern played Penn State tough for a half before fading late.
Related: Georgia vs. Vanderbilt Recap
Ohio State hasn’t always been up for covering huge spreads, but it has usually been up for playing out defensive battles. The Buckeyes have played to the under in five of six games, with the lone exception coming when they dropped 63 on Western Kentucky.
It’s going to be a cool, cloudy day in central Ohio, with temperatures sitting around 58 degrees. Wind shouldn’t be much of a factor, and only passing showers should come into play.
Kyle McCord hasn’t yet shown that he can move the football against a good defense. He’s played three below-average defenses in the Big Ten, and he struggled to get anything going against Notre Dame. Whether he can get the ball to Marvin Harrison Jr. will go a long way toward deciding if the Buckeyes can do anything against Penn State’s conference-leading defense.
The Nittany Lions haven’t yet thrown an interception with Drew Allar at quarterback, but they’re also facing one of the best defenses in the Big Ten. Penn State is likely to lean on the ground game as much as possible, given it’s one of only two teams in the Big Ten averaging 200 yards on the ground or more. That means Kaytron Allen and Nicholas Singleton likely get plenty of touches, unless the Buckeyes can force the game into Allar’s hands.
Ohio State has dominated this series, but this is not the same Ohio State team that we’ve seen in recent years. The Buckeyes have yet to show the dominant performance against a good team that has been their trademark.
The Nittany Lions have been building toward this game all season. They look like they’re ready to take advantage of the opportunity. They’ve been the more consistent team all season, and that’s where I want to go with this game.
Penn State +4