College football line movement: Is a blowout coming in Columbus?

·4 min read

We're already in Week 9 of the college football season. Over half the season has been completed, but we still have a lot to figure out in the coming weeks before bowl season and the selection committee announces the playoff teams.

We've seen some notable line movement in the early part of the week at BetMGM. Which sides are getting early support and what is it telling us?

Blowout coming in Columbus?

A few weeks ago, it looked like the Penn State-Ohio State matchup could decide which team heads to the College Football Playoff. 

Ohio State was struggling, losing to Oregon and looking very unimpressive in wins over Minnesota and Tulsa. On the other hand, Penn State had wins over Wisconsin, Auburn and Indiana, which at the time all seemed like impressive victories. 

Fast forward to now, and Penn State is coming off back-to-back losses to Iowa and Illinois. While the Iowa loss could be explained away, the Illinois loss certainly can't. There are questions about coach James Franklin's future desires and there are also questions about the health of quarterback Sean Clifford. 

It's a completely different story for the Buckeyes, who have won their last four games against Akron, Rutgers, Maryland and Indiana by a combined score of 231-44. The offense looks unstoppable and the defense looks respectable after its early season struggles.

BLOOMINGTON, IN - OCTOBER 23: Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Chris Olave (2) high fives Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) after a touchdown during the Big Ten conference college football game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Indiana Hoosiers on October 23, 2021, at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
The Ohio State Buckeyes are huge favorites against Penn State this weekend. (Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The line for this game opened with Ohio State as a 17-point favorite at home. To some, it might have seemed a bit high and perhaps like too much of an overreaction. However, bettors disagree. The Buckeyes are currently 18.5-point favorites

It seems like the market is expecting a blowout as the Buckeyes march toward a potential playoff appearance while Penn State fades into irrelevance. 

Slow down on Pitt

Pittsburgh is coming off its marquee win of the season, defeating Clemson 27-17 last week. The Panthers are currently -140 favorites to win the ACC, and quarterback Kenny Pickett has received some Heisman hype in recent weeks.

Pittsburgh opened as a 12-point favorite over Miami, but it seems like the early week sentiment is to fade the Panthers after their big win. Currently, Pittsburgh is just a 9.5.-point favorite for this Saturday's game. 

Miami got off to a poor start to the season, which caused many to write this off as a typical Miami season of underachievement. However, quarterback Tyler Van Dyke has stepped in for D'Eriq King and turned around Miami's offense. Miami is coming off a win against NC State last weekend as an underdog. 

Pittsburgh football has a history of shocking losses, and while I'm not saying it'll lose on Saturday, it's certainly something to be leery of. It seems like the market isn't ready to go all in on the Panthers just yet. 

QB issues for Indiana

Michael Penix opened the season as the starting quarterback for the Indiana Hoosiers. Due to injury, Jack Tuttle was forced to take over. Now, Tuttle is down as well. Indiana now has a true freshman and walk-on redshirt sophomore in its quarterback room.

Expectations were high for Indiana to enter the season, but it's failed to meet them. The Hoosiers have lost five games to teams currently ranked in the top 20. 

The Hoosiers opened as 2.5-point underdogs, but the line is now up to 5.5 points. The total has also dropped 1.5-points to its current number of 49.5. 

Maryland opened the season winning its first four games, but the Terrapins have come back down to Earth. They've lost three straight to Iowa, Ohio State and Minnesota. 

Other notable movements

  • Rutgers opened as a 1-point underdog against Illinois, but now finds itself a 1.5 point favorite. Bettors aren't buying Illinois after its upset win last weekend. 

  • Utah is now a 6.5-point favorite against UCLA. The market opened with the Utes as 4.5-point favorites. 

  • Oregon opened as a 26.5-point favorite against Colorado, but that line is down to its current number of 24.5.

  • Georgia State is now a 6.5-point favorite against Georgia Southern after the line opened at 4.5 points. 

  • The total for Purdue-Nebraska opened at 49, but it's moved all the way up to its current number of 52.5.