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College football Week 9 odds, picks and viewing guide

Profile Picture: Dan Halverson

October 27th, 2020

Week 8 of the college football season felt a bit cathartic, especially when Indiana won in overtime over Penn State to signal the Big Ten was back in action and part of the excitement of college football again.

A primetime matchup between ranked Michigan and Minnesota felt earned, and night matchups involving Mountain West icons San Diego State, Nevada, and Boise State felt refreshingly familiar.

With only one game involving ranked teams playing each other in Week 9, it likewise feels like a normal Week 2 full of matchups against FCS opponents and cupcakes. There are still meaningful conference games this weekend, though, so let’s take a look at three of the more intriguing ones.

Date, timeMatchupTV station
Fri, Oct. 30, 7:00 p.m.
#19 Marshall at Florida International
CBSSN
Sat, Oct. 31, noon
Boston College at #1 Clemson
ABC
Sat, Oct. 31, noon
#5 Georgia at Kentucky
SEC Network
Sat, Oct. 31, noon
Memphis at #7 Cincinnati
ESPN
Sat, Oct. 31, noon
Michigan State at #13 Michigan
FOX
Sat, Oct. 31, noon
#16 Kansas State at West Virginia
ESPN 2
Sat, Oct. 31, noon
#20 Coastal Carolina at Georgia State
ESPNU
Sat, Oct. 31, noon
#23 Iowa State at Kansas
FS1
Sat, Oct. 31, 3:30 p.m.
#4 Notre Dame at Georgia Tech
ABC
Sat, Oct. 31, 3:30 p.m.
#9 Wisconsin at Nebraska
FS1
Sat, Oct. 31, 3:30 p.m.
#17 Indiana at Rutgers
BTN
Sat, Oct. 31, 4:00 p.m.
Texas at #6 Oklahoma State
FOX
Sat, Oct. 31, 6:00 p.m.
#25 Boise State at Air Force
CBSSN
Sat, Oct. 31, 7:00 p.m.
Mississippi State at #2 Alabama
ESPN
Sat, Oct. 31, 7:30 p.m.
#3 Ohio State at #18 Penn State
ABC
Sat, Oct. 31, 7:30 p.m.
Arkansas at #8 Texas A&M
SEC Network
Sat, Oct. 31, 7:30 p.m.
Missouri at #10 Florida
SECN Alt
Sat, Oct. 31, 7:30 p.m.
Navy at #22 SMU
ESPN 2
Sat, Oct. 31, 8:00 p.m.
#15 UNC at Virginia
ACCN
Sat, Oct. 31, 8:00 p.m.
#24 Oklahoma at Texas Tech
FOX
Sat, Oct. 31, 10:15 p.m.
Western Kentucky at #11 BYU
ESPN

Michigan State vs. Michigan

Sat, October 31 2020, 4:00 PM

Michigan Wolverines

Spread

-25

Moneyline

-1975

Total

O 52.5

Michigan State Spartans

Spread

+25

Moneyline

+925

Total

U 52.5

The Michigan Wolverines started their season out with a nationally televised trouncing of 21st-ranked Minnesota.

Debuting new starting quarterback, Joe Milton, a 6’5” former 5-star recruit, Michigan looked effective on offense and racked up 49 total points. But the more impressive play took part on defense, where the Wolverines effectively shut down Tanner Morgan and Rashod Bateman, two of the stars of the 2019 season.

At one point, Michigan recorded three straight sacks and gave up just seven points in the entire second half.

Michigan State, meanwhile, struggled mightily in head coach Mel Tucker’s first appearance. The Spartans committed seven turnovers in a loss to Rutgers. Quite simply, it was a pathetic performance.

Things won’t get any easier for them, as they now take on their biggest rival, who is significantly more talented at every level. Michigan State was a competitive team for many years, due to quality defensive line and defensive back development under Mark Dantonio, plus decent quarterback play. Where the Spartans have failed recently, however, is in both recruiting talent and connecting with the 2- and 3-star players they are capable of recruiting.

Michigan, meanwhile, has continued to recruit at a prolific rate.

In 2019, Michigan State was the 12th-highest-scoring team in the Big Ten. Its offensive line is not deep or all that good to begin with, and its rushing attack managed just 50 yards on 1.3 yards per carry against a bad Rutgers defense.

It isn’t wise to buy high on Michigan while simultaneously selling low on Michigan State, but the market is not accounting for the differences in talent between these two teams. Last year’s game was a 34-point victory for Michigan, and the gap has only widened.

Pick: Michigan -25


Ohio State vs. Penn State

Sat, October 31 2020, 11:30 PM

Penn State Nittany Lions

Spread

+11

Moneyline

+330

Total

O 64.5

Ohio State Buckeyes

Spread

-11

Moneyline

-435

Total

U 64.5

In the game of the week, Ohio State heads to Penn State to take on a team the Buckeyes have failed to cover the spread against in four straight matchups.

Ohio State romped Nebraska in its opener and scored a meaningless touchdown late to win by 35, while Penn State outplayed Indiana in a thrilling overtime loss.

Ohio State currently sits as an 11-point favorite after opening as just 9.5-point favorites, indicating early sharp money loves the favorite.

Ohio State will certainly continue to take money in this market, and it won’t be shocking if this line ends up at 13.5 or even a solid 14. They are ESPN’s top-ranked FPI team, were one of the favorites to win it all, and have NFL talent all over the field, including the starting quarterback, Justin Fields.

Fields had just one incomplete pass in his first game of 2020.

Penn State has been recruiting well in recent years under James Franklin, but the Nittany Lions' loss against Indiana exposed some early-season deficiencies. They miss key defenders Yetur Gross-Matos and Micah Parsons from last year’s squad. And even though Indiana quarterback Michael Penix was just 19-of-36 for 170 yards, Penn State gave up far too many points for a defense now tasked with facing Ohio State’s offensive roster.

It’s a square play, but until the line gets to 14, nothing about this matchup gives confidence that the underdog can keep it within the number.

Pick: Ohio State -11


Texas vs. Oklahoma State

Sat, October 31 2020, 8:00 PM

Oklahoma State Cowboys

Spread

-3.5

Moneyline

-165

Total

O 59

Texas Longhorns

Spread

+3.5

Moneyline

+135

Total

U 59

The Oklahoma State Cowboys defeated Iowa State, 24-21, and took an important step in their quest for a Big 12 title.

Now the Cowboys face a blue blood in Texas, who comes to Stillwater as very short three-point underdogs fresh off a win against Baylor.

Oklahoma State is sixth in the country, while Texas is unranked, and yet they are laying only three. It’s a suspicious line, but there is a perception around the country that Oklahoma State is, and always has been, the little brother within the conference.

Texas put up a memorable and impressionable fight against Oklahoma a few weeks ago, and the average bettor has a better chance of naming Sam Ehlinger than Cowboys starter Spencer Sanders, who showed great mobility against Iowa State in his return from injury.

Oklahoma State has given up just 13.6 points per game in conference play with its 10 returning starters, while Texas has given up 34 points per game (in regulation) through its four conference games.

Texas is not a challenger for the Big 12 race this year and will have its door to the title shut on Saturday against a much superior defense.

Pick: Oklahoma State -3.5


NCAAF betting trends

  • The team with the most rushing yards has won 45 of the last 50 games between Michigan and Michigan State.
  • Michigan State is 1-8 ATS in its last 9 Big Ten conference games.
  • Penn State is 1-5 ATS in its last 6 home games.
  • Oklahoma State is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games against Texas.
  • Oklahoma State games have gone Under the total in the last 5 games at Oklahoma State.

Wager on Week 9 of the 2020 college football season at BetAmerica

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