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There is just one top-25 showdown on the Week 9 college football schedule, but boy is it a big one in the Big Ten.
No. 3 Ohio State is heading to Happy Valley on Saturday night to square off against No. 18 Penn State at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT. The Buckeyes opened as 13-point road favorites today at William Hill for this matchup.
“I don’t think this game will have as big a handle as Alabama-Georgia,” said Nick Bogdanovich, Director of Trading for William Hill US. “But it’ll be huge just because it’s the big game of the day and it’s one of the later games that day. Ohio State was a huge decision for us last weekend, and everyone who bet that game will be back on them here. We’re going to need Ohio State to not cover a game or two. They looked so good and Penn State lost, so this line is a little extra higher than it could have been.”
There wasn’t a team that suffered a more heartbreaking defeat than the Nittany Lions this past weekend. They faced Indiana in their season opener, and the Hoosiers closed as 6.5-point home underdogs (+215 moneyline).
Penn State took over at the Indiana 14-yard line up 21-20 with 1:47 left in the game and Indiana having one timeout remaining. Penn State running back Devyn Ford scored a touchdown on the first play of that drive, which extended the Nittany Lions’ lead to eight points but also gave Indiana a shot to tie the game. The Hoosiers would go on to knot the score up at 28, then won by one in overtime after it was ruled quarterback Michael Penix Jr. barely crossed the plane on a game-winning two-point conversion.
“Obviously [Penn State head coach James] Franklin dropped the ball big time,” said Bogdanovich. “But it’s still their first game, it’s the first full run they had. Penn State may still be really good, they just played a bad game. Or maybe Indiana’s improved. Time will tell. But when it’s your first game out, anything can happen.”
Ohio State, meanwhile, justified its high ranking in its first game of the season, crushing Nebraska 52-17 as a 27.5-point favorite.
“Ohio State looks strong and [Justin] Fields is a Heisman candidate,” said Bogdanovich. “They’re definitely the team to beat in that conference. But they’ll get tested. Wisconsin looks good, Michigan looks good, Penn State can give them a scare. Even though Ohio State has been the class of the Big Ten for a while, they’ll get tested.”
Check out William Hill’s opening spread for No. 3 Ohio State vs. No. 18 Penn State below.