In a battle of Top 10 teams, the No. 7 Penn State Nittany Lions (6-0) travel to Columbus for a noon showdown against the No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes (6-0). At stake in this contest is more than Big Ten East supremacy as the winner remains in the CFB Playoff mix while the loser would need help to re-enter that conversation.
Penn State has been dominant to start the season. The Lions have won every game by 17 or more points, beating opponents by an average of 36.3 points in 2023. Penn State’s defense has recorded two shutouts by applying pressure on opposing QBs; the Lions have notched 27 sacks on the season and forced 13 turnovers (7 INTs, 6 FF).
Not to be outdone, Ohio State has upgraded their once-porous defense in 2023. The Buckeyes have allowed 9.6 points per game while running over their competition. And Ohio State has posted the best victory of the season among Big Ten teams, beating Notre Dame earlier this season on the road 17-14.
Which Big Ten team emerges victorious from this mega matchup? Read on to see what the best player prop wagers are for bettors in the Penn State versus Ohio State game Saturday as well as our best overall bet to make.
At their core, the Nittany Lions employ a run-control offense to beat down opponents and open up the passing game for star QB Drew Allar. They rely heavily on RB Nicholas Singleton as the local product has rushed 89 times on the season, or nearly 20% of all of Penn State’s offensive plays.
In games against better competition, Singleton has been stifled. Against Iowa, the Lions RB notched 17 carries for 49 yards while he recorded 37 yards on 11 carries against Illinois the previous week.
Expect Ohio State to gear up for the run against Penn State and hold Singleton under 57.5 rushing yards.
Penn State is among the nation’s best against defending the pass. Through six games, the Nittany Lions have yielded only 743 passing yards, an average of less than 125 yards per outing.
Yet Penn State hasn’t seen the likes of Ohio State’s offense in 2023. This season, the Buckeyes – under first-time starter Kyle McCord – have thrown for 1,848 yards in their first six games. The leading receiver for Ohio State is WR Marvin Harrison Jr., a future NFL player that has caught 31 passes for 604 yards and five TDs.
In what most pundits suggest will be a defensive battle, offensive yards could be scarce Saturday. Despite these predictions, expect Harrison to be the leading target for the Buckeyes, recording at least 86 yards in the noon contest against Penn State.
The Nittany Lions rank among the best teams in the nation this season with only three turnovers through their first six games. That’s largely due to Penn State’s Drew Allar, a sophomore QB that has yet to throw an interception during his collegiate career. To date, Allar is completing 65% of his passes for 1,254 yards with 12 TDs, an incredible start to his first year as a starter.
Expect that to change Saturday against Ohio State. It’s not because the Buckeyes have produced significant pressure against opponents (10 sacks through six games) or intercepted opposing QBs at a monster clip (four INTs total).
Instead, Allar is extremely susceptible to throwing his first pick this year due to playing in front of 100,000 hostile Ohio State fans. While Allar grew up in Medina, Ohio, few hometown fans will be pulling for him against Ohio’s preferred college team. With such a daunting task, expect at least one errant pass to fall into the Buckeyes’ open arms Saturday.
If you look at the history of these two teams, placing a bet on this low of an under would not make sense. Nine of the last 12 outings produced scores above 45 points, including a 75-point finish in 2022.
Still, these aren’t your average defenses entering this contest. Combined, the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions have allowed a total of 106 points in 12 games this year with both teams allowing less than 10 points per contest.
While these games mostly have been against lesser competition, expect the final score to be in the 38-44 point total range at best Saturday.