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2020 Early Line Released: Penn State Favored at Michigan, Underdog vs. Ohio State, No. 5 to Win Title

by on March 16, 2020 3:00 PM

Let’s be optimistic: College football will return.

And Ohio State vs. Penn State in a Beaver Stadium Whiteout on October 24 is certainly something to look forward to.

For you, for me, for the oddsmakers.

Though the game is still 222 days away, odds for the Big Ten showdown were just released by FOX Bet and Mount Airy Casino Resort in the Poconos.

And the Buckeyes are a 1.5-point favorite in 2020 over the Nittany Lions.

Since 2016, the series has produced three intense nail-biters, with Penn State winning 24-21 on Grant Haley’s scoop-and-score in 2016, while Ohio State came from behind in the fourth quarter to win 39-38 and 27-26 in 2017-18.

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The Buckeyes won 28-17 in The Horseshoe last season. Even in that contest, despite playing in the second half without quarterback Sean Clifford, the Nittany Lions entered the fourth quarter trailing just 21-17.

See the odds by clicking here

Ohio State finished 2019 with a 13-1 record and ranked No. 3 after winning the Big Ten championship. They fell to Clemson, 29-23, in the semifinals of the College Football Playoff. Penn State finished ranked No. 9, with an 11-2 record and only the loss to Ohio State and a 31-26 defeat at Minnesota marring its record.

The PA-based oddsmakers have the Nittany Lions a 1.5-point favorite on the road against Michigan in The Big House on October 3, and a 3-point favorite at Nebraska in Memorial Stadium on November 7.

Under James Franklin, Penn State is 1-2 at Michigan. Penn State lost 18-13 in Ann Arbor in 2014, and lost 49-10 in 2016 and 42-7 in 2018. Since Franklin assumed the reins at Penn State in 2014, Nebraska is the final Big Ten road venue where he is has taken his team. Penn State last visited Lincoln in 2012 under Bill O’Brien, when it lost 32-23 in a contest clouded by controversial calls.

In other 2020 games involving Big Ten teams, the oddsmakers have Ohio State as an 8.5-point favorite over Michigan at home and a 2.5-point favorite at Oregon in an early-season contest in Eugene. Michigan is a 1-point underdog at Washington.

Overall, FOX Bet and Mt. Airy Casino Resort have Ohio State as the favorite to win the Big Ten Conference, followed by Michigan, with Penn State and Wisconsin tied for the No. 3 spot.

Nationally, Penn State is listed as the No. 5 favorite to win the national title. Clemson is the prohibitive favorite, followed by Alabama, Georgia and Notre Dame. Wisconsin is No. 6, followed by Ohio State, LSU, Florida, Oklahoma, Texas and USC.

In the 2020 Heisman Trophy race, Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields is the favorite, followed by Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Oddsmakers have Clifford at No. 30.

In its early odds, FOX Bet/Mt. Airy have this listed this caveat: “Potential games (must be played in 2020 at listed venue for action).”

Mike Poorman has covered Penn State football since 1979, and for since the 2009 season. His column appears on Mondays and Fridays. Follow him on Twitter at His views and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Penn State University.
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