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An early look at Week 9 CFB betting lines

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We should be in for a much better slate of games this weekend than we had the last two weeks.

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Indiana Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

The last two weekends of college football haven’t exactly had a plethora of ranked, exciting matchups to tune in for. In fact, with Ohio State on a bye for one of those weeks and playing a night game against Indiana last time out, it was a really good time to get some of your favorite fall activities done during the day. Hopefully you were able to get your apple picking and corn mazes out of the way, because you’ll want to be locked in on the couch this Saturday with a much better slate on tap.

Obviously for Buckeye Nation the schedule will revolve around Ohio State’s all-important matchup against Penn State. The game lost a little bit of its luster with the Nittany Lions’ loss to Illinois, but it is a matchup that has been highly competitive for the last few years and still has big ramifications for the Big Ten East race. We wrote yesterday that the Buckeyes opened up as 16.5-point favorites in the contest, and that line has already moved up to -18.5 as the public jumps all over Ohio State.

What other interesting spreads are out there this weekend, and what other games should you be tuning in for this Saturday? All lines are courtesy of the DraftKings Sportsbook.


Notable Big Ten matchups

No. 6 Michigan (-4.5) vs. No. 8 Michigan State — 12:00 p.m., FOX

The other huge matchup in the conference this weekend is between the two teams up North. Even despite Michigan State’s overall struggles over the past several years, the Spartans have done a phenomenal job in this rivalry, winning nine of the last 13 meetings between the two teams including a 27-24 victory in Ann Arbor last season. Kenneth Walker III is playing like a legit Heisman candidate, and Mel Tucker has done a masterful job bringing the program back to relevance. Michigan has been dominant on the ground and on defense this year in their own right this season, but has looked vulnerable at times with close calls against Rutgers and Nebraska.

I like MSU with the points here. I think both defenses are solid in this matchup, but I trust what the Spartans do on offense far more than I do the Wolverines. I don't particularly like Cade McNamara at QB for UM, and Michigan State’s wide receiver tandem of Jayden Reed and Jalen Nailor is far better than anything at Michigan without Ronnie Bell. Jim Harbaugh could certainly pull out a close one on the road, but I think MSU covers either way.

No. 9 Iowa vs. Wisconsin (-3.5) — 12:00 p.m., ESPN

Talk about a game between two teams that simply can not score the football. Iowa played itself into the No. 2 team in the country a few weeks ago thanks to a strong defense, but having one of the worst offenses in all of FBS finally came back to bite them in a 24-7 loss to Purdue. The Hawkeyes are now coming off a bye to face a Wisconsin team that just last week defeated that same Boilermakers squad 30-13 on the road. The Badgers have been almost equally anemic on the offensive end, with quarterback Graham Mertz tossing just two touchdowns compared to seven INTs on the year.

If you're wondering just how truly bad these two offenses are, the over/under for this game is 37 — and I think it could still go under! If I had to pick a side in this game, I'll have to go Iowa with the points. Wisconsin will be good for a turnover or two against a Hawkeye defense that specializes in takeaways, and honestly I can't see either team winning by more than three points. This could be a 13-10 sort of affair in either direction.


Elsewhere in CFB

No. 2 Cincinnati (-24.5) vs. Tulane — 12:00 p.m., ESPN2

The Bearcats have done everything under their control to position themselves for the College Football Playoff this season, and while it could still end up not being enough, the only thing they can do is continue to win — and win big. Cincinnati played an uncharacteristically close game against Navy in its last time out, and will want to impress going up against a 1-6 Tulane squad that was just dominated 55-26 by SMU this past weekend. The Green Wave are 0-3 in the American, and I don't see them putting up that great of a fight against Luke Fickell’s boys.

Give me Cincinnati with the points.

Miami vs. No. 17 Pittsburgh (-10) — 12:00 p.m., ACC Network

Miami managed to pick up an impressive win last time out against No. 18 NC State, while Pitt took down Dabo Swinney in a 27-17 win over Clemson. Panthers QB Kenny Pickett should be a legitimate favorite for the Heisman Trophy at this point in the season, especially after his performance against the Tigers, and Pitt will be looking to remain undefeated in conference play as it chases an ACC title. This Hurricanes squad does not even remotely scare me without D’Eriq King, and Pitt seems to be rolling right now.

I think Pat Narduzzi and the boys cover this one with ease.

No. 1 Georgia (-14) vs. Florida — 3:30 p.m., CBS

In what has been an otherwise weird and crazy season across the board, Georgia has looked consistently like the best team in the country — especially on defense. The Bulldogs’ defense looks impenetrable on a weekly basis, and the 13 points scored against them by Kentucky last time out tied the most any team has scored on their starting unit. Florida has largely been a disappointment this season, and after playing it close against Alabama earlier in the year, Dan Mullins managed to lose to a reeling LSU squad with a lame duck head coach.

I think the actual play here is taking the under at 51, but I'll ride with Georgia.

No. 10 Ole Miss vs. No. 18 Auburn (-2.5) — 7:00 p.m., ESPN

The only ranked matchup outside the Big Ten this week, these are two teams who are incredibly hard to figure out. Ole Miss has looked really good the majority of the time, most notably defeating Arkansas in a 52-51 banger, but also looked terrible in a 42-21 loss to Alabama against a defense that, quite frankly, isn’t all that stellar. Auburn has been even weirder, losing to Penn State earlier in the year and getting dominated by Georgia but also defeating Arkansas 38-23 in their last time out. I’m not a huge fan of Bo Nix, and I am a big fan of Matt Corral, so that is how I'm shaping my decision here.

It will likely be a fun matchup between a pair of SEC teams still searching for some kind of identity, but I'll take Lane Kiffin’s boys with the points.

No. 19 SMU vs. Houston (-1) — 7:00 p.m., ESPN2

This isn’t a game on paper that would catch the eye of a casual fan of college football, but it’s one you should certainly flip on if the Ohio State game turns into a blowout. The American matchup has huge ramifications for the conference title race, as the winner of this game will in all likelihood face Cincinnati in the AAC title game. The Mustangs sit at a perfect 7-0 behind QB Tanner Mordecai and an electric passing offense, while the Cougars have rattled off six-straight wins with QB Clayton Tune at the helm after dropping their season opener to Texas Tech. There is a lot on the line in this one, so both of these teams will be focused and ready to rock.

This should be a fun, high-scoring game, so I like the over here at 62.5. If I had to choose a side, I think SMU might be the play.

Other notable lines

  • No. 24 Coastal Carolina (-18) vs. Troy — Thursday 7:30 p.m., ESPN2
  • Texas vs. No. 16 Baylor (-2.5) — 12:00 p.m., ABC
  • No. 22 Iowa State (-7) vs. West Virginia — 2:00 p.m., ESPN+
  • Texas Tech vs. No. 4 Oklahoma (-20) — 3:30 p.m., ABC
  • Minnesota (-7.5) vs. Northwestern — 3:30 p.m., BTN
  • No. 12 Kentucky (-1) vs. Mississippi State — 7:00 p.m., SEC Network
  • North Carolina vs. No. 11 Notre Dame (-3.5) — 7:30 p.m., NBC
  • Fresno State vs. No. 21 San Diego State (-1) — 10:30 p.m., CBSSN

Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.