College Football Week 9: Predictions Against the Spread
Week 9 of college football starts off early with a Tuesday, prime-time matchup starring the easily overlooked No. 2 Boise State Broncos.
This week also pits 13 of the AP’s Top 25 on road tilts.
As most gamblers know, predicting how a team will react to unfriendly confines can often be difficult.
An 8-12 record last week piles onto my list of mediocre weekly records. However, this week feels different—a change for the better is ahead…hopefully.
Let’s see what games are on tap this weekend.
Last Week's Record: 8-12
Overall Record: 77-75-4
No. 1 Oregon (-7) @ No. 24 USC
Oregon’s sparse success on the road against USC (5-24-1) has to raise a little concern about this spread.
USC continues to mature, but the Ducks' explosive offense is road-tested. They need to escape this possible trap game to prove their Pac-10 dominance.
The Ducks dismantle the Trojans offense and win by plenty.
Pick: Oregon -7
No. 2 Boise State (-37) Vs. Louisiana Tech
The Broncos have been kicking asses and taking names later, winning every game against non-ranked teams this season by at least 43 points.
Also, Boise State owns an eight-game winning streak against Louisiana Tech and will do an excellent job covering the spread against the Bulldogs on the blue turf.
Pick: Boise State -37
No. 3 Auburn (-7) @ Mississippi
Although Ole Miss is capable of lighting up the scoreboard (31.4 p/g) and Jeremiah Masoli did look sharp against Arkansas, Auburn’s defense has been suffocating on the road, giving up a measly 291 yards per game (ninth in the FBS).
Also, Auburn has something extremely special in Cam Newton. The Tigers might actually be a legit BCS No. 1.
Pick: Auburn -7
No. 4 TCU (-34.5) @ UNLV
TCU’s only loss to UNLV happened in Sam Boyd Stadium 13 years ago, but that result is highly unlikely this weekend
UNLV’s 109th-ranked scoring defense (36.4 p/g) will undoubtedly struggle to contend with these explosive Horned Frogs.
TCU’s offense has struggled slightly on the road, though, which might make covering this lofty spread interesting.
Pick: UNLV +34
No. 5 Michigan State @ No. 18 Iowa (-6)
This season Iowa’s defense has been amazing at home, allowing on average a miniscule 9.6 points per game.
However, the last three games between these two have been decided by a touchdown or less.
Michigan State’s road offense has been impressive (33.0 p/g) and is definitely good enough to cover and even win this game.
Pick: Michigan State +6
No. 7 Missouri @ No. 14 Nebraska (-7)
Missouri’s upset of No. 1 Oklahoma has many believing that the Tigers are BCS bowl bound.
Nebraska has BCS hopes of its own, though, and will look to reassert their Big 12 dominance by winning the Victory Bell.
An upset hangover lurks in Lincoln, and the Cornhuskers could go for the jugular early.
Pick: Nebraska -7
No. 8 Utah (-7) @ Air Force
Since Air Force’s brief appearance in the AP Top 25, the Falcons have dropped two straight and definitely need some home cooking this weekend.
Unfortunately, Utah’s rock’em, sock’em offense is rolling furiously into town.
Utah’s scoring on the road (51.3 p/g) is the second best in the FBS. This game should be a blow out.
Pick: Utah -7
No. 10 Ohio State (-25) @ Minnesota
It is no secret that Ohio State has completely owned Minnesota (42-7) in the past.
Covering spreads has not been a huge problem either.
Over the past seven games, Ohio State is posting a 5-2 ATS record, and a four-touchdown shellacking is not out of the question.
Pick: Ohio State -25
No. 11 Oklahoma (-23.5) Vs. Colorado
Two huge negatives stack up against Colorado this weekend.
One: Oklahoma is livid about last week’s loss to Missouri. Two: The Sooners also have not forgotten about their loss to these Buffaloes three years ago.
Expect an enormous sonic boom from these redemption-seeking Sooners.
Pick: Oklahoma -23.5
No. 13 Stanford (-7) @ Washington
In the preseason, this game was being touted as a battle between soon-to-be legendary NFL arms.
While Andrew Luck has maintained his NFL Draft worthiness, Jake Locker’s stock is taking a free-fall nose dive.
This game should still be an aerial-fest, but a rested Luck and his Cardinal should feast.
Pick: Stanford -7
No. 15 Arizona (-9.5) @ UCLA
Although Arizona has only won at UCLA three times, the Wildcats' last win in the Rose Bowl was two years ago in a 31-10 massacre.
UCLA’s inept scoring offense (21.3 p/g) should stagger well behind Arizona’s (33.1 p/g), and a similar result should ensue.
Pick: Arizona -9.5
No. 16 Florida State (-3.5) @ North Carolina State
North Carolina State took a punch in the face two weeks ago, but a week off provided them with time to lick their wounds and prepare for the Seminoles.
Florida State posts a 1-8 ATS record against the Wolfpack this decade, and an ACC blindside is definitely somewhere in their near future.
Pick: North Carolina State +3.5
No. 17 South Carolina (-17.5) Vs. Tennessee
Tennessee has given up 40-plus points in back-to-back games, and South Carolina definitely has enough firepower to make it three straight.
The one-two combination of Stephen Garcia and Marcus Lattimore will be way too much for these incompetent Vols.
South Carolina wins this one by at least three touchdowns.
Pick: South Carolina (-17.5)
No. 19 Arkansas (-21.5) Vs. Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt has found success in Fayetteville, winning two of their four games in Razorback Stadium.
In the two games this decade, Arkansas failed to cover both spreads.
A probable Ryan Mallet raises even more concerns about Arkansas’ capabilities of covering this ambitious spread.
Arkansas wins, but it will be closer than expected.
Pick: Vanderbilt +21.5
No. 20 Oklahoma State (-5.5) @ Kansas State
Both Oklahoma State (48.3 p/g) and Kansas State (33.9 p/g) are capable of lighting up the scoreboard, and both defenses are more than inclined to let a barn-burner develop (30.6 p/g and 25.8 p/g respectively).
The Cowboys came up on the short end of a shootout last week but should have enough stamina to pull away late in this game.
Pick: Oklahoma State -5.5
No. 22 Miami (-14.5) @ Virginia
Although Miami has only defeated Virginia in Charlottesville by 10 points or fewer, the Cavaliers’ anemic offense should struggle to keep up with the Hurricanes this weekend.
Virginia’s offense ranks 104th when playing a conference foe (14.7 p/g). Miami should have this game—and the spread—in hand by halftime.
Pick: Miami -14.5
No. 23 Mississippi State (-7) Vs. Kentucky
Although Mississippi State is 4-1 ATS in the last five, they failed to cover the spread last week at home against a mediocre team which definitely raises some concerns for this weekend.
Kentucky’s passing game is not terrible (280.9 y/g) and could keep them within striking distance.
Pick: Kentucky +7
No. 25 Baylor @ Texas (-7.5)
The Bears have lost 12 straight to Texas, but these are hardly the Longhorns we have grown to loathe.
Baylor appears to be more consistent than the up-and-down Longhorns, and they might even be the better team taking the field.
Robert Griffin III has the talent to take over this game and lead these Bears through uncharted territory.
Pick: Baylor +7.5
Nevada (-24) Vs. Utah State
Nevada’s first loss this season dropped them out of the AP Top 25, yet they still grasp onto BCS ranking real estate.
The Wolf Pack should be able to rebound big against the powerless Aggies.
Nevada has won five straight in this matchup but have only covered the spread at home. Luckily, this game is in Reno.
Pick: Nevada -24
Michigan (-3) Vs. Penn State
Michigan snuck into the Coaches Poll at No. 25 this week.
Denard Robinson is expected to play, which could be a death sentence for the Nittany Lions. Penn State’s immature offense will not be able to keep up with this dual threat.
Wolverines take this game by a big margin.
Pick: Michigan -3