Top-5 programs aim to keep their College Football Playoff chances alive on Saturday as the Ohio State Buckeyes take on the Penn State Nittany Lions while the Georgia Bulldogs square off with the Texas A&M Aggies.
Penn State Nittany Lions at Ohio State Buckeyes (-18)
Moneyline: Nittany Lions +675, Buckeyes -1050
Betting Total: TBA
Time (Eastern): Noon, FOX
The Ohio State Buckeyes have played like a program worthy of a College Football Playoff berth all season long and have treated bettors well throughout. The Penn State Nittany Lions are probably the toughest opponent the Buckeyes have taken on all year, but they should be up to the challenge.
The Buckeyes have mopped the floor with inferior opponents in Maryland and Rutgers in recent weeks. However, they have quality wins on the résumé this year in Wisconsin (38-7) and Nebraska (48-7). Ohio State has covered in five straight home games and eight of their last nine conference clashes.
It’s been a total team effort, with Justin Fields (69.1 percent completion rate, 9.4 yards per attempt, 31-1 TD-INT ratio) picking opponents apart through the air while J.K. Dobbins and Master Teague (over 2,000 yards combined with 17 TDs) split duties as the number-four rushing attack in the country. Penn State’s fourth-ranked rushing defense should be able to limit the effectiveness of the Buckeyes’ tailbacks, but playing on the road will make that task difficult.
Meanwhile, the Nittany Lions will be hard-pressed to move the football in this one as they bring their 43rd-rated offense by yards per play into Columbus against Ohio State’s top-rated defense in that department. Expect the Buckeyes to win and cover in a low-scoring Saturday affair.
The play: Ohio State spread
Texas A&M Aggies at Georgia Bulldogs (-13.5)
Moneyline: Aggies +415, Bulldogs -525
Betting Total: TBA
Time (Eastern): 3:30 p.m., CBS
The Texas A&M Aggies have struggled in two true road games this year, averaging just 17 points, and playing at the always-hostile Sanford Stadium will not help them as they face the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday.
The Bulldogs boast the nation’s second-ranked defense by points allowed per game and the fourth-ranked stoppers by yards allowed per play. Aggies quarterback Kellen Mond has been playing well against unranked opponents but against a team like Alabama, for example, he was a lacking 24-of-42 for just 6.3 yards per attempt. Georgia’s Jake Fromm-led offense shouldn’t have to do much to get the win and cover in this spot.
Trends bettors should note that the Bulldogs are 14-5 against the spread against teams with winning records, per Covers.com, and have covered in 20 of their last 28 conference games.
The play: Georgia spread