This article is part of our College Football Picks series.
Penn State vs. Ohio State Betting Odds, Picks, and Predictions for College Football Week 9
This matchup of Big Ten East rivals likely features two of the three best teams in the conference, though the gap between Nos. 1 and 3 has looked like the distance between State College and Columbus this season. The 13th-ranked Nittany Lions showed how good they could be with a 45-17 win over Minnesota last week. But, will that team show up, or will it be the one that was clearly outmatched by Michigan in a 41-17 loss two weeks ago? It's pretty easy to tell what type of squad the Buckeyes will bring: one that has been statistically dominant over the first half of the season. A win on the road against Penn State would be a nice resume booster for Ohio State's case as the No. 1 team in the nation.
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Penn State vs. Ohio State Odds for Week 9
Spread: Penn State +15.5 (-107 PointsBet)
Total: 61 (-107 PointsBet)
Moneyline: Penn State +475 (Bet365); Ohio State -600 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
The Nittany Lions are just over two-touchdown underdogs across the board, and this spread would probably fall closer to three scores if the game was played outside of Happy Valley. The Buckeyes got as high as -1200 moneyline favorites at FanDuel Sportsbook on Sunday but have since come down to between -610 and -700, while Penn State sits between +450 to +500. The implied score of 38-23 would also give Ohio State its largest margin of victory in this matchup since the 2015 season. In 2022, the Buckeyes are 4-2-1 ATS, the Nittany Lions are 4-3 ATS, and both teams have hit the over in five of their seven games.
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Penn State vs. Ohio State Betting Picks This Week
There are playmakers galore on this Ohio State offense. Even without star Jaxon Smith-Njigba, the Buckeyes' stable of wide receivers is ungodly talented, and catching passes from C.J. Stroud has made for a devastating passing attack that ranks first in the nation for passing touchdowns (28) and second in yards per attempt (10.6). However, the Nittany Lions may be one of the best passing defenses that Ohio State will face this season. The Penn State secondary, highlighted by cornerback Joey Porter, has allowed just six passing touchdowns this season, and this unit ranks 16th in EPA per pass allowed (-0.180), according to @statsowar on Twitter. While there's likely no defense that can shut down Ohio State's offense, the Nittany Lions match up much better than they did in their loss to Michigan's dominant rushing attack.
However, there are still plenty of problems for Penn State's offense. Running back Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen have popped in their true freshman seasons, but they've been limited by an offensive line that ranks 83rd in average line yards (2.63) - a metric from FootballOutsiders.com that measures how many per-carry rush yards an offensive line is responsible for. This has resulted in a rushing success rate of just 33.6% (117th in the nation), per @statsowar. Safe to say, the Buckeyes' defensive line will have its way in this one. A lack of a consistent running game for Penn State and a wrench in Ohio State's passing attack should help keep this game relatively low scoring.
Penn State vs. Ohio State Best Bet: UNDER 61.0 at PointsBet
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Penn State vs. Ohio State Prediction
Recent history suggests this game could be closer than expected. Under head coach James Franklin, the Nittany Lions are just 1-7 against Ohio State, but they're 6-2 against the spread. Penn State's passing defense has the bodies to match up well. The run defense is another story though, as this unit is 93rd in rushing success rate allowed (41.8), per @statsowar. Buckeyes running backs Miyan Williams and TreVeyon Henderson are a dangerous combination that should be able to keep this defense more than honest.
On the other side, Penn State's offense is miles behind that of Ohio State. Unless the Nittany Lions' running backs can make the plays necessary, it'll be very tough sledding for quarterback Sean Clifford as he seeks to get the ball out to a solid corps of receivers. Penn State's offense is just too inconsistent to trust, whereas the Buckeyes' defense has taken care of business at every turn so far this season, ranking fourth in overall success rate allowed (28.6) and second in EPA per play allowed (-0.284), per @statsowar. Ohio State has gotten off to some choppy starts with turnovers in recent weeks, and Penn State could very well force one or two early field goals in the red zone. Yet, it's hard to see how this Scarlet-and-Grey wave doesn't eventually wash over the field in Happy Valley.
Final Score: Ohio State 34, Penn State 17
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