- Penn State travels to Ohio State in the Big Ten opener for both schools
- Both teams are coming off blowout wins in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge this week
- Read below for odds, analysis and prediction for this matchup
The No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes (8-0) host the Penn State Nittany Lions (7-1) on Saturday afternoon in Columbus. It’s the Big Ten opener for both schools and the Buckeyes are presently 8.5-point favorites.
Penn State vs. Ohio State Odds
|Penn State Nittany Lions||+8.5 (-110)||N/A||O 132.5 (-110)|
|Ohio State Buckeyes||-8.5 (-110)||N/A||U 132.5 (-110)|
Odds taken 12/6/2019
Big Ten/ACC Challenge
The Big Ten/ACC Challenge was a rousing success for the Big Ten, with the Buckeyes and, surprisingly, the Nittany Lions, posting convincing wins. Ohio State, then ranked No. 7, blew out No. 6 North Carolina in what was arguably the most impressive performance in college basketball on the young season. The Buckeyes defeated the normally explosive Tar Heels 74-49.
𝘼 𝙝𝙞𝙨𝙩𝙤𝙧𝙞𝙘 𝙣𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩 𝙞𝙣 𝘾𝙝𝙖𝙥𝙚𝙡 𝙃𝙞𝙡𝙡
— Ohio State Hoops (@OhioStateHoops) December 6, 2019
Meanwhile, Penn State, not normally known for its success on the hardwood, dominated Wake Forest with a commanding 76-54 win earlier this week.
Per Ken Pomeroy’s rankings, the Buckeyes are the No. 2 team in the country. Pomeroy’s rankings essentially rank everything as it pertains to offensive and defensive efficiency for every team. OSU has a strong offense, but is making its biggest impact on the defensive side this season. Ohio State is also only allowing a Big Ten-best 52 points per game.
Penn State is No. 23 in KenPom’s rankings. The Nittany Lions have proven to be equally efficient on both ends of the floor and rank inside the top five of the Big Ten in both scoring offense and scoring defense.
Ohio State is a Balanced Team
The Buckeyes have three players averaging double figures, led by junior big man Kaleb Wesson. Wesson is averaging 12.7 PPG and 9.3 rebounds per contest. Freshman guard D.J. Carton comes off the bench and chips in with 10 points a game.
Sophomore Duane Washington, Jr. is also chipping in 10 points a game, and is among the nation’s top three-point shooters on the young season, connecting on 14 of his 27 attempts from beyond the arc.
— THE Bunch of Nuts Podcast (@bunch_nuts) December 5, 2019
Penn State is a Veteran Squad
The Nittany Lions have wins over two ACC foes in Wake Forest and Syracuse and a win over Georgetown. Penn State is also a balanced squad, led by senior forwards Mike Watkins and Lamar Stevens. The 6’8″ Stevens leads PSU in scoring, averaging 17.5 points while also pulling down eight rebounds per contest. The 6’9″ Watkins is averaging a double-double, with 11 points and 10 rebounds per game.
Penn State gets solid guard play from a pair of sophomores in Myreon Jones and Myles Dread.
FINAL | Nittany Lions with a 76-54 victory over Wake Forest.
Mike Watkins collects rebound #800 in the win.
— Penn State Men’s Basketball (@PennStateMBB) December 5, 2019
Against the Spread This Season
Penn State is 6-2 against the spread this season. The Nittany Lions have been an underdog once this season, as they were 2.5-point underdogs at Georgetown, yet won the game by 15. PSU is 4-4 in meeting the over/under thus far this season.
The Buckeyes are 7-1 versus the spread thus far this season. The only time they didn’t cover was when they were 23.5-point favorites over UMass Lowell and won by 20.
OSU won last season’s meeting in State College by four points.
Ohio State is the Smart Choice
Both teams are off to a great start. Ohio State is one of the best teams in the country and a lock for a spot in March Madness, while the Nittany Lions will have work to do, but are trending upwards.
You throw all numbers out the window as this is the first game in conference play. However, how could you not be impressed by what the Buckeyes did to a young, but supremely talented North Carolina team this week? The Nittany Lions will keep this one close, especially with their talented big men, but Ohio State will be too much to overcome in Columbus.
The Pick: Ohio State (-8.5)
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