Free NCAA Football Pick: Penn State, Ohio State Clash in Columbus

Oct 26, 2017

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Oskeim Sports provides bettors with at least one free NCAA Football Pick each week. This week’s free NCAA Football Pick is on the Penn State/Ohio State game.

Ohio State and Alabama are by far the best two teams in college football according to my power ratings, with the Crimson Tide being a 3.8-point favorite over the Buckeyes on a neutral field.

Penn State is currently sixth in my power ratings, trailing the Buckeyes by approximately nine points (and Alabama by 12.8 points).

The scheduling dynamics strongly favor Ohio State, who is coming off a bye week after scoring over fifty points in each of its previous four games (4-0 SU & 3-1 ATS).

In contrast, the Nittany Lions are coming off an emotional revenge game against Michigan and are traveling for the second time in three weeks. Penn State is a money-burning 2-8 ATS in its last ten games as a road underdog, whereas the Buckeyes are 4-1 ATS in their last five games as home favorites.

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer is 21-1 SU and 16-5-1 ATS with rest during the regular season, 14-1 SU and 13-1-1 ATS with rest versus opponents off a SU and ATS win and 6-0 SU and 5-0-1 ATS with rest against undefeated opposition.

The Buckeyes’ prolific attack is led by senior quarterback J.T. Barrett, who owns 25 school records and is responsible for 126 touchdowns, 14th-most in college football history. Barrett is also on the cusp of setting a Big Ten Conference record for touchdown passes as he is currently tied with Drew Brees with 90.

The Buckeyes are averaging 47.3 points and 577 total yards per game at 7.4 yards per play against teams that would combine to allow just 5.7 yards per play to a mediocre offense.

Overall, Ohio State is 1.4 yards per rush attempt, 1.7 yards per pass attempt and 1.7 yards per play better than average offensively this season. To state that the Buckeyes’ attack is in good form would be a gross understatement.

Indeed, Ohio State four consecutive 50-point games tied a school record established in 2014 during Barrett’s breakout redshirt freshman campaign. Meyer’s squad has accumulated 500 yards of offense and 300 passing yards in each of its past five games, setting another school record.

The credit belongs to first-year offensive coordinators Kevin Wilson and Ryan Day, both of whom have worked tirelessly in finishing the right personnel to maximize the Buckeyes’ efficiency.

Penn State’s stop unit rates 1.1 yards per play better than average (4.0 yards per play to teams that would combine to average 5.1 yards per play against a mediocre defense) so the Buckeyes’ offense possesses a 0.6 yard per play advantage from the line of scrimmage.

Ohio State’s elite defense, which is 1.4 yards per play better than average, has a 0.2 yards per play advantage over the Nittany Lions’ potent attack. Penn State will have a difficult time running the ball against a stout Buckeye front seven that is 2.1 yards per rush play better than average.

Finally, Ohio State is 9-3 ATS in its last twelve games after scoring 40+ points in its previous affair, 4-0 ATS in its last four conference games and 9-2 ATS in its last eleven home games against the Nittany Lions.

Lay the points with Ohio State as Oskeim Sports’ Free NCAA Football Pick for Saturday, October 28, 2017.