Ohio State-Penn State Showdown Creates Odd Odds for College Football Betting

Posted on: October 27, 2017, 04:00h. 

Last updated on: October 27, 2017, 01:30h.

Penn State tailback Sequon Barkley will be attempting to sprint to the front of the Heisman Trophy balloting and keep his team in the running for the National Championship when they go on the road to face Ohio State on Saturday.

Penn State running back and Heisman Trophy hopeful Saquon Barkley
Penn State running back Saquon Barkley can impress Heisman Trophy voters and lead his team to the College Football Playoffs with a big performance against Ohio State on Saturday. (Image: CBS Sports)

The Buckeyes, though, are favored by 6 ½ and the over/under is 57 ½ in one of the most hotly contested college football matchups of the season. And the sportsbooks around Las Vegas are all over it.

Ohio State began the season ranked No. 2, but suffered a stunning loss to Oklahoma, at home, 31-16, in week two, which threw the season rankings into a tizzy. That dropped the Buckeyes all the way to 11th in the Associated Press Top 25 poll before moving up to sixth in this week’s voting.

Penn State, meanwhile, began the year in that sixth position, but have since moved up to No. 2. They are one of seven undefeated teams remaining in the AP’s Top 25.

It’s a bit surprising that a higher ranked team is nearly a touchdown underdog, but oddsmakers believe that home field advantage and additional rest following a bye week significantly tilt the game in favor of Ohio State coach Urban Meyer’s squad.

Second Test for Penn State

Penn State will be facing its second consecutive top-20 team. Last week they hosted Michigan and clobbered them, 42-13.

“When you have an explosive offense like we do, and you are playing really good first quarter defense, and you can get a lead, it changes how people have to play,” Penn State coach James Franklin said after the game. “We played with an aggressive mindset and an aggressive mentality in all three phases.”

Ohio State’s defense is currently ranked 15th in the nation, and that will test the Nittany Lions’ 27th-ranked offense.

Franklin knows that battle should decide the game and said he and his staff have been preparing for any new schemes Meyer might throw at them.

“They’re one of the more talented teams in the country,” he said. “They’re a multiple defense. They do a lot of things and do a lot of things well.”

Battle of Heisman Hopefuls

How well Barkley does on Saturday may not only decide the outcome of the game but lock up his Heisman Trophy chances as well. The junior rushed for 108 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns. He also got three passes for 53 yards and a touchdown.

He began the year at 20-1 to win college football’s best player of the year, but has steadily moved up and this week was the overwhelming favorite at 4-7. He is also the projected No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft if he forgoes his final year and enters the pros.

Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett can improve his chances of winning the Heisman if he has a strong performance against Penn State. The senior has a nearly 67 percent completion rate on the year and has thrown 21 touchdowns with just one interception. He began the year at 10-1 for winning the annual award, and has stayed at those odds.

Franklin said he is impressed with the signal caller and how he has performed.

“I see J.T. playing with a lot of confidence right now,” Franklin said. “He’s obviously surrounded by a lot of talent, and he’s doing a great job of distributing the ball to that talent.”