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NCAAF Wagering Picks: Buckeyes at Nittany Lions
BetUS college football betting line: Ohio State -4, Total: 40
The Ohio State Buckeyes (8-0 SU, 4-3 ATS) put their #1 national ranking on the line on Saturday night when they travel to Beaver Stadium in University Park, Pa. (natural turf) for a face-off with Joe Paterno and the Penn State Nittany Lions (6-2 SU, 4-4 ATS). Game time is 8 PM ET. In the Top Sportsbooks college football betting odds, Ohio State is listed at -4 with the over/under posted at 40 points.
Ohio State is #1 in the USA Today and Associated Press polls, as well as the BCS standings, which means they control their own destiny in terms of playing for the national championship. Last time out they got off to a big early lead against Michigan State, but got sloppy on offense and hung on for a 24-17 win, failing to cover as a 17.5-point favorite. Penn State had a close call last week against Indiana, with a non-covering 36-31 win in Bloomington as a seven-point favorite. Penn State showed an inability to convert several opportunities in the red zone in that one.
In the HEAD-TO-HEAD college football betting trends:
* OHIO ST. has covered eight of the last 12 meetings
* OHIO ST. has won four of the last five meetings SU
* PENN ST. has won and covered four of the last five meetings at home
* The home team has covered the last nine meetings
* Four of the last five meetings have gone under the total
Last year, Ohio State registered a 28-6 win over Penn State, covering as a 17-point favorite. The game went under the posted total of 43 points. The teams combined for only 501 yards of offense. In the last three meetings, neither team has chalked up more than 253 offensive yards, so this has certainly been a series dominated by defense lately.
Ohio State is averaging 34.3 points per game, but has played four of seven posted games under the total. One of the reasons is obvious – the Buckeyes have a shut-down defense, rated a decisive #1 in the country. Ohio State is the only Division I team that has allowed a singe-digit average to its opponents (just 7.8 ppg), is #1 in passing efficiency defense (yielding just three TD passes and a microscopic 4.43 yards a pass attempt), and is #2 in rushing defense, surrendering just two yards a carry and 62.4 yards a game. Opponents have scored only seven TD’s all year. QB Todd Boeckman has replaced Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith and been a pleasant surprise, ranking 7th nationally in passing efficiency. Also:
* OHIO ST. has covered nine of its last 11 road games
* OHIO ST. has played four unders in its last six road games
* OHIO ST. has covered eight of its last 11 as a road favorite
* OHIO ST. has covered 20 of its last 29 as a favorite
Penn State has permitted only 15 ppg, tied with Arizona State for fourth in the country. The Lions have allowed just 2.3 yards a carry, and a shade less than 80 yards a game. Top running back Austin Scott was suspended indefinitely because of a rape and assault charge hanging over his head, but Rodney Kinlaw has stepped right in, and rushed for 349 yards over his last three games. QB Anthony Morelli has completed 59.5% of his passes for 1739 yards and seven TD’s. Penn State plays well on special teams too, ranking second in net punting (punting yards minus opponents’ returns). Also:
* PENN ST. has won nine of its last 11 games SU
* PENN ST. has won 19 of its last 20 home games SU
* PENN ST. has played 10 unders in its last 15 games
* PENN ST. has played seven unders in its last ten home games
Free Pick: Play The Under
Defense is the name of the game between these two teams, and the recent history has indicated that they know each other’s tendencies and play things rather close to the vest. Ohio State’s offense may not be as explosive as last year’s, when it had not only Smith but WR’s Ted Ginn and Anthony Gonzalez and RB Anthony Pittman. But the defense may be better. Penn State is stingy too, and plays ball control, so this one points to yet another “under” play in this very physical series.
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