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Penn State vs. Ohio State ATS Picks

NCAAF Betting Lines Week 9

If there was any doubt as to just how serious the Penn State Nittany Lions were about reaching the College Football Playoff this year, that doubt was shredded within a few minutes of their game against Michigan last week. The Nittany Lions were tremendous from start to finish in that one and deserved their 42-13 victory. Now comes their biggest test, a trip to the Big House to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes that could ultimately decide the fate of all of the teams in the Big Ten.

Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Ohio State Buckeyes
Date and Time
: Saturday, October 28, 2017, 3:30 p.m. ET
Location: Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH
Opening College Football Odds: Ohio State -5
Penn State vs. Ohio State TV Coverage: FOX

Penn State is in the midst of a three-game stretch that will define its season. The team had to play at home against Michigan before traveling to the Horseshoe. After this game is done, it's back on a bus to East Lansing to take on Michigan State, another team that still has its eye on the Big Ten title.

Many were critical of Penn State's schedule to date; its toughest game was either at Iowa or at Northwestern, teams that will never grace the Top 25 this year. But that win against Michigan was a real statement. Saquon Barkley came up with three total touchdowns, and the PSU defense did the rest to secure the biggest win of the team's season.

This Ohio State team, though, presents a much different challenge. For one, the Buckeyes have blown apart all of their foes not named Oklahoma this season. If we consider the Sooners' game a blip, OSU would be the No. 2 team in America right now, not Penn State. Its wins haven't been impressive in nature either, the best of the bunch coming at Indiana in Week 1. But the victories have all been of the "men against boys" variety.

Maybe the worst part about all of this for PSU is the fact that Ohio State had a bye last week. It's so hard to play against teams who have had two weeks to prepare for you. Just as Penn State debuted its direct snap to Barkley for the first time this season last week against Michigan, James Franklin knows that Urban Meyer has been waiting all season to open up his bag of tricks for a moment like this.

The Last Meeting

The jumping off point for Penn State came last year when Ohio State came to Happy Valley. The Buckeyes were 17.5-point favorites, and they took a 21-9 lead into the fourth quarter and looked good throughout.

Yet in that fourth quarter, Trace McSorley's time as a college football superstar began. He only went 8-for-23 as a passer that day, but he generated three scoring drives in the fourth quarter to pull off one of the bigger upsets we saw in college football last season.

The real credit should go out to the Penn State defense. That unit was on the field for 37:19 and had to face 83 Ohio State plays, yet it still mustered up enough to put together a fourth quarter shutout to seal the deal.

Penn State vs. Ohio State Free Picks

It's rare that College GameDay makes a second appearance at a stadium in a season, and it's even more rare to see the same team featured on GameDay in consecutive weeks. That tells you just how important this game really is.

The wagering at all of the best online sportsbooks should be rather split in this one. Ohio State is perceived to be the better of the two teams, but this is just enough points with a team that just crushed Michigan to draw in money on the other side.

We're of the belief that this Penn State team isn't going to be ready for this moment. This might be "just another game" for the Nittany Lions, but they now have to go play big boy football on the road after having played against just Iowa and Northwestern away this season. Last year's two big road games? A 42-39 loss at Pitt and a 49-10 loss at Michigan.

We think Ohio State is going to run the Nittany Lions right out of the Horseshoe in this one.

College Football ATS Pick: Ohio State -5 at
College Football Score Prediction: Ohio State 41, Penn State 17