College football picks, predictions against the spread for Week 9 top 25 games

Week 9 of the college football season features three games between AP Top 25 teams.

The Fox noon kickoff game features a Big Ten East rivalry matchup between No. 2 Ohio State and No. 13 Penn State at Beaver Stadium. The Buckeyes have won the last five meetings between the teams.

The Big 12 race continues in the 3:30 pm ET window when No. 9 Oklahoma State travels to No. 22 Kansas State in a battle of teams with one conference loss apiece.

That sets up the prime-time matchup at 7 pm ET between No. 19 Kentucky and No. 3 Tennessee at Neyland Stadium. The Vols cannot look ahead to the Week 10 blockbuster matchup at No. 1 Georgia.

MORE: College Football Playoff ranking schedule, release dates for 2022

This is the last week before the first set of College Football Playoff rankings are unveiled on Nov. 1 and another chance to improve our record against the spread:

  • Straight up: 116-28, .806 (10-1 last week)
  • ATS: 78-64-2, .549 (6-5 last week)

Updated odds on Caesars sportsbook

Here are our Week 9 predictions against the spread:

Week 9 picks against the spread

Thursday, Oct. 27

  • Virginia Tech at No. 24 NC State (-13.5) (7:30 pm, ESPN)

The Wolfpack had a bye week to adjust to losing Devin Leary, who is out for the season. Charleston Southern transfer Jack Chambers will look to get the offense back on track. Virginia Tech has been a miserable road team at 0-3 S/U and 0-3 ATS, but has won the last five meetings in this series.

Pick: NC State wins 27-14 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.

  • no. 14 Utah (-8) at Washington State (10 pm, FS1)

This line has dropped a full point from its open, and it’s a road test for the Utes, who are still alive in the Pac-12 championship race. The Cougars have covered in their last three home games, and that included a 44-41 loss to Oregon. It won’t be easy, but Utah will use this as a dress rehearsal for its trip to Oregon on Nov. 19.

Pick: Utah wins 34-22 and COVERS the spread.

Saturday, Oct. 29

  • no. 2 Ohio State (-15.5) at No. 13 Penn State (12 pm, Fox)

The Buckeyes have won the last three meetings by an average of 11 points per game, and they have won five straight in the series. The line has increased by a half-point from its opening, and the noon-game atmosphere is different from a full-fledged “Whiteout.” Ohio State makes its case for No. 1 ahead of the first College Football Playoff rankings.

Pick: Ohio State wins 41-19 and COVERS the spread.

  • Notre Dame at No. 16 Syracuse (-3) (12 pm, ABC)

The Orange hung with Clemson in Week 8, but it wasn’t enough. The Irish have been inconsistent from week to week, and the line has jumped 1.5 points from its open. The Irish are 2-0 ATS as an underdog this season, and if they can hit the 200 rushing yard mark they will win. This will be one of the more entertaining games in the noon window.

Pick: Notre Dame wins 26-23 in an UPSET.

  • no. 7 TCU (-7) at West Virginia (12 pm, ESPN)

The Horned Frogs survived a Big 12 four-pack of ranked opponents, and are on the road against the Mountaineers, who have been better at home but still have been blown out as an underdog in two of their last three games. Get this before the Horned Frogs get a hook on that one-score line.

Pick: TCU wins 38-28 and COVERS the spread.

  • no. 8 Oregon (-17) at Cal (3:30 pm, FOX/FS1)

Oregon just continues to impress with Bo Nix at quarterback. The Ducks have scored 40 or more points in six straight games, and they have covered in five of those games. The Golden Bears have not allowed more than 31 points in a game this season, but their offense won’t be able to keep up here.

Pick: Oregon wins 42-17 and COVERS the spread.

  • no. 1 Georgia (-22.5) vs. Florida (3:30 pm, CBS)

The Bulldogs have been heavy favorites every week this season, and they are 3-0 ATS when the spread is less than 30 points. The Gators are 2-0 ATS as an underdog under first-year coach Billy Napier. The Bulldogs will stay in control, but the Gators will throw in a few wrinkles in this rivalry game. This is a lot of points.

Pick: Georgia wins 40-18 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.

BOWL PROJECTIONS: Vols, Bulldogs stay on playoff path

  • no. 11 Wake Forest (-5.5) at Louisville (3:30 pm, ACC Network)

The Demon Deacons are trying to keep their New Year’s Day Six hopes alive against an up-and-down Louisville team that beat Pitt in Week 8. These teams have split the last eight meetings, and the winner has averaged 48 points. Wake Forest is 6-1 ATS this season. Keep riding that trend.

Pick: Wake Forest wins 38-25 and COVERS the spread.

  • no. 17 Illinois (-8) at Nebraska (3:30 pm, ABC/ESPN)

Bret Bielema is 2-0 S/U against the Huskers since taking over at Illinois, and the Illini have won those games by an average of 13 points. Nebraska also has the worst defense in the Big Ten. So, why does this feel like a trap game knowing both teams had a bye week and the line increased by 1.5 points? The Illini survive, but the Huskers make it interesting.

Pick: Illinois wins 31-24 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.

  • no. 9 Oklahoma State (+1.5) at No. 22 Kansas State (3:30 pm, FOX)

The Cowboys are underdogs for the fourth time this season. The Wildcats are dealing with injuries to quarterback Adrian Martinez and running back Deuce Vaughn. Oklahoma State has won the last three meetings. We’ll trust Spencer Sanders on the road to keep the Cowboys on the path to the Big 12 championship game.

Pick: Oklahoma State wins 35-31 in an UPSET.

  • no. 20 Cincinnati (Pick ’em) at UCF (3:30 pm, ESPN)

This remains a pick ’em across most sportsbooks. The Bearcats have been a tough play as a favorite. They are 6-0 S/U but just 2-4 ATS. That included a bad beat against SMU in Week 8. Still, this is a solid team that should be able to meet the challenge on the road at UCF. Cincinnati has won the last three meetings.

Pick: Cincinnati wins 30-27 and COVERS the spread.

MORE: What a 12-team College Football Playoff field would look like after Week 8

  • Missouri horse no. 25 South Carolina (-5.5) (4 pm, SEC Network)

The Gamecocks are now in the rankings, but there is betting momentum toward Missouri – which has three one-score losses in SEC play. The Tigers have won the last three meetings in this series, too. So, why do we like South Carolina? They are 3-0 S/U and 3-0 ATS at Williams-Brice Stadium against FBS opponents this year.

Pick: South Carolina wins 27-21 and COVERS the spread.

  • no. 19 Kentucky at No. 3 Tennessee (-13) (7 pm, ESPN)

The Wildcats have a top-10 defense (16.4 ppg), and Will Levis had an extra week after returning from an injury. Pitt and Florida kept the Vols under 40 points with the help of a rushing attack that cleared 140 yards. Kentucky will do the same with Chris Rodriguez Jr. Tennessee won 45-42 in a wild one last year, and Hendon Hooker engineers another memorable victory at Neyland Stadium.

Pick: Tennessee wins 38-26 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.

  • no. 10 USC (-16) at Arizona (7 pm, Pac-12 Network)

The Trojans had a bye week to bounce back from the 43-42 loss at Utah, and this line bumped up a full point from its opening. That’s because the Wildcats have allowed 36.3 points per game. Jayden de Laura can make some plays, too, but USC pulls away in the second half.

Pick: USC wins 44-27 and COVERS the spread.

  • Michigan State at No. 3 Michigan (-23) (7:30 pm, ABC)

Right off the bat this spread looks way too high considering the Spartans have won the last two meetings and will be in all-or-nothing mode at the Big House. The Wolverines are 10-2 S/U in night games at Michigan Stadium, but one of those losses was to the Spartans in 2017. The Wolverines will pull away in the second half with that running game, but not before some anxious moments in the first half

Pick: Michigan wins 38-20 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.

  • no. 15 Ole Miss (-2.5) at Texas A&M (7:30 pm, SEC Network)

The Rebels were exposed at LSU, and they will stay on the road against Texas A&M – which is scrambling to make a bowl game at this point. Ole Miss has won two of the last three at Kyle Field, and with the line dropping a half-point there is some value. Take the more consistent offense.

Pick: Ole Miss wins 30-27 and COVERS the spread.

BENDER: Texas A&M, Miami among 5 most disappointing teams in 2022

  • Pittsburgh at No. 21 North Carolina (-3) (8 pm, ACC Network)

The Panthers have slipped from contention in the ACC Coastal, but they have won the last two meetings against the Tar Heels by a touchdown. This one is in Chapel Hill, however, and North Carolina has the best total offense (506.0) and scoring offense (41.7) in the ACC. Drake Maye keeps that rolling, but this one has a high degree of Coastal unpredictability to it.

Pick: North Carolina wins 37-30 and COVERS the spread.

  • Stanford at No. 12 UCLA (-16) (10:30 pm, ESPN)

Stanford has gutted out back-to-back ugly victories in which it allowed just 14 points, and now will face UCLA’s high-powered offense at the Rose Bowl. USC, Washington and Oregon all touched up the Cardinal for 40-plus points, but the defense has improved since then. These teams have split the last four meetings, with the road team winning all four.

Pick: UCLA wins 37-23 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.

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