Week 9 college football best bets and predictions
We’re more than halfway through the college football season and VSiN has been pumping out more content for it than ever. All of our college football stories and resources are available at our Week 9 CFB Bet Hub, where you’ll also get best bets from all of my incredibly talented colleagues. But you’ll have to keep reading this one to get my college football best bets every week. I’m coming off a tough week with my picks, but I’m looking to bounce back with some winners here. I only have three plays on my card at the moment, but I might add some more picks later on. If I do, they’ll be thrown in at the bottom of this story, so definitely make sure to come back and look for more Week 9 college football best bets throughout the day on Saturday, October 28.
Part of the reason Bo Nix has been so good this season is that the Ducks have one of the best offensive lines in the nation. Oregon is first in the country in Havoc allowed, meaning the Ducks rarely make mistakes. And that’s because they rarely have defenders in their backfield. But Utah is sixth in the nation in Havoc rating this season, so this is a team that has proven it can cause some problems. And considering this is a home game for the Utes, I think they’ll be fired up and find a way to make Nix uncomfortable. There’s a reason Utah has won 18 home games in a row and 29 of its last 30. The crowd noise in Rice-Eccles Stadium should make it hard for Nix to communicate with his offense. And this is already one of the best defensive lines in college football. That’ll be impossible to block when you consider all the factors at play.
The only thing I’m really concerned about with this game is the Utah offense. If Cameron Rising were playing for the Utes, I’d have zero doubts about them winning this game. But the star quarterback is out for the season, so it’ll be Bryson Barnes’ show the rest of the year. Barnes isn’t nearly the player that Rising is under center, but the junior has made some significant strides in recent weeks. He was especially impressive in last week’s win over the USC Trojans, throwing for 235 yards with three touchdowns and adding another 57 yards and a score on the ground. Barnes has now rushed for at least 50 yards in back-to-back games, and he is just looking very confident now. Between that and the emergence of two-way star Sione Vaki, this Utes offense suddenly looks formidable. And with a defense like Utah’s, that’s more than enough.
Overall, I just think the Utes are a bit underrated at this point in the year. This is a team that would very likely be in the College Football Playoff picture with a healthy Rising, but they have still been very good without him. And the reality is that Kyle Whittingham is the best coach in this conference, by far. So, I trust him to come up with ways to beat this Oregon team. That’s why I’m taking the points and then sprinkling the moneyline. These numbers are disrespectful to an elite Utah program, especially with the game being played in Salt Lake City.
Bet: Utah +7 (-109 – 1.5 units) & Utah ML (+205 – 0.5 units)
This is a game in which I don’t trust the offenses to come up with much, even with a total that is on the lower side. Last week, Mississippi State earned a 7-3 win over Arkansas. And while it’s great that the Bulldogs were able to pick up a victory, it was the third time in five weeks that Mississippi State scored 17 or fewer points. Now, the Bulldogs will be facing a Tigers defense that isn’t all that bad. Auburn has allowed 76 points over the last two weeks, but that’s because of matchups with the LSU Tigers and Ole Miss Rebels. Those are two explosive offenses, capable of scoring on anyone.
All in all, I just don’t think Mississippi State will find a way to turn in multiple successful drives against a decent defense — especially in one of the more difficult road venues in the nation. At the same time, Auburn isn’t exactly threatening offensively. The Tigers have scored 21 or fewer points in all four of their meetings with SEC competition this season. And they still haven’t figured out the quarterback situation, with both Payton Thorne and Robby Ashford continuing to take snaps. Having multiple quarterbacks is rarely the sign of a successful offense, so I think Mississippi State head coach Zach Arnett, a brilliant defensive mind, will have his group ready to stop Hugh Freeze’s team.
I’m not saying this game will look exactly like last week’s Mississippi State game, but I would be shocked if this isn’t ugly football to watch.
Bet: Under 43.5 (-110 – Play to 42.5)
Colorado had a bye week to think about blowing its 29-0 lead over Stanford on October 13. That should help the Buffaloes reset a bit, but they have still lost three of their last four games and are now just 1-3-1 against the spread in their last five games. This has not been a good football team since the surprising start to the season, and the matchup this week is a tough one. Last weekend, UCLA earned a 42-7 road win over Stanford as a 17-point favorite. That’s a big win over a common opponent, and I have my doubts about the Buffaloes finding a way to keep this thing close.
Last week, Chip Kelly made the decision to replace freshman quarterback Dante Moore with Ethan Garbers. It was a questionable move considering the upside Moore possesses, but the Bruins offense responded in a big way. Garbers threw for 240 yards with two touchdowns and no picks in the game, and he also added another 51 yards on the ground. That dual-threat ability really opened up the offense, and so did Garbers’ quick decision making as a passer. Carson Steele also had a huge game for UCLA, rushing for 76 yards and three touchdowns. He is now rolling after having rushed for 110 or more yards in back-to-back games prior to facing Stanford.
It’s just hard to really picture Colorado stopping this UCLA offense, as the Bruins marched down the field with little resistance last week. And the Buffaloes aren’t much better defensively than the Cardinal. Colorado has a very poor Havoc rating and that’s not what you want against a Kelly-coached team. Meanwhile, the Bruins are actually ninth in Havoc themselves. So, I think UCLA’s defense will make easy work of Colorado — especially with the Buffs having a disastrous offensive line. That could mean we’ll see some mistakes out of Shedeur Sanders.
This felt like a matchup with the potential to be great earlier in the year, but we have seen different teams since. With that in mind, I think the Bruins earn their second blowout win in a row. Since Kelly took over, the Bruins are 5-1 ATS when coming off a conference win by 21 or more points. When they get hot, they get hot.
Bet: UCLA -17 (-110)
2023 Record: 34-28-1 (+2.68 units)
Tulane -10 (-110) vs. Rice
Purdue ML (+110) vs. Nebraska
Wisconsin +14.5 (-105 – 2 units) vs. Ohio State