10 College Football Picks Against the Spread (ATS) for Week 9

Buckeyes host the Badgers in key Big Ten battle

The Week 9 edition of college football picks against the spread is highlighted by a huge game in the Big Ten as Wisconsin heads to Columbus to face Ohio State. Elsewhere, Penn State hopes to keep rolling against Michigan State; red-hot Utah hosts California; and Pittsburgh meets Miami in a battle of two ACC Coastal teams headed in opposite directions. Here are 10 predictions for games against the spread.

 

Ohio State (-14) over Wisconsin

This was shaping up to be one of the marquee regular-season games of the 2019 season... until Wisconsin lost at Illinois last Saturday. It’s still an intriguing game that quite possibly will be the first of two meetings this season between these two teams. The Badgers had been arguably the most impressive team in the nation prior to the misstep in Champaign; they won their first six games by an average score of 43-5 and had shut out four opponents along the way. Ohio State has been equally (or more) dominant, with its seven wins coming by an average score of 50-8. No team has scored more than one touchdown against the Buckeyes since Florida Atlantic scored two in Week 1 (both coming in the fourth quarter). Ohio State 30, Wisconsin 14

 

Utah (-19) over California

This seems like a big line when you consider that California has not allowed more than 24 points in a single game this season. It doesn’t seem so big, however, when you realize that the Bears are averaging only 13 points in their current three-game losing streak and that Utah has allowed a total of 23 points in its last three games. The Utes haven’t received much national attention since their loss at USC in late September, but they are playing extremely well on both sides of the ball. In last week’s 21-3 win vs. Arizona State, Utah limited the Sun Devils to 136 total yards, including only 25 through the air. This is a very good team that is still alive in the hunt for a spot in the CFB Playoff. Utah 27, California 7

 

North Carolina (-3.5) over Duke

Both teams are 2-2 in the ACC Coastal, but Duke’s road to the league title game is much more difficult at this stage. The reason: The Blue Devils’ two losses are to the two teams that have only one conference loss — Virginia and Pittsburgh. North Carolina, on the other hand, controls its own destiny (to a degree) since it has yet to play either of those teams. The theme for UNC in Year 1 of Mack Brown’s second stint: close games. Two of the Tar Heels’ three wins have come by four points or fewer, and each of their four losses has been by six points or fewer. Expect more of the same this week in Chapel Hill. North Carolina 31, Duke 27

 

Penn State (-6) over Michigan State

Penn State has passed every test en route to its 7-0 record. It hasn’t always been aesthetically pleasing — the Nittany Lions have been outgained in three of the victories — but the defense has been consistently strong, and the offense has made enough plays to win. Michigan State hasn’t made many “winning” plays against quality opponents this season. The Spartans are 4-3 overall, with four wins against unranked teams and three losses against teams currently ranked. In the three games against ranked foes (Arizona State, Ohio State, and Wisconsin), they have scored a total of 17 points. Not good with Penn State’s elite defense coming to town on Saturday. Points will be at a premium. Penn State 20, Michigan State 7

 

Ball State (-3) over Ohio

Ball State has emerged as one of the surprise teams in the Group of 5 ranks. The Cardinals are 3-0 in the MAC for the first time since 2013 after last week’s surprisingly easy 52-14 win over Toledo. That followed road wins at Northern Illinois, the defending league champs, and Eastern Michigan. This week Ohio, the preseason favorite in the MAC East, comes to Muncie. The Bobcats are 2-1 in the league, with a one-point win over Buffalo and a seven-point win over Kent State sandwiched around a three-point loss to Northern Illinois. This is the type of game Ball State needs to win to take the next step as a program. Ball State 28, Ohio 23

 

Navy (-3.5) over Tulane

Navy: college football picks against the spreadTulane had its four-game winning streak snapped in humbling fashion: The Green Wave lost by 30 points at Memphis on Saturday night. Now, Willie Fritz’s team must make the trip to Maryland to face rejuvenated Navy. The Midshipmen are 5-1 overall, with the only loss by 12 points at Memphis in a game in which standout quarterback Malcolm Perry was slowed by injury. Navy has been better offensively in 2019, but the real improvement has been on defense; the Mids are allowing only 4.6 yards per play, down from 6.5 last season. Order has been restored in Annapolis. Navy 30, Tulane 24

 

Pittsburgh (-5) over Miami

Pittsburgh dropped its opener by 16 points at home to Virginia but has since won five of six, with the only loss by seven points at Penn State and each of the five wins by 10 points or fewer. That loss to UVa could be tough to overcome, but the Panthers remain in the hunt to repeat as champs of the ACC Coastal Division. Miami, on the other hand, has played its way out of the race with a 1-3 start in league play (even though the one win was over first-place Virginia). The Hurricanes concluded a disappointing four-game homestand last week with an overtime loss to Georgia Tech. Miami’s defense has been solid, but the offense has struggled; the Canes have scored more than 25 points only once in six games against FBS opponents. Pittsburgh 24, Miami 17

 

Northern Illinois (-23) over Akron

Akron wrestled the unofficial title of worst team in the nation away from UMass with its 37-29 loss to the Minutemen in late September. That has been the only single-digit defeat in the Zips’ run to an 0-7 start in Year 1 of the Tom Arth era. They put up a fight in their first MAC game, a 45-24 loss at Central Michigan in Week 3, but have lost their last two league games (both at home, to Kent State and Buffalo) by a combined score of 47-3. Northern Illinois is struggling as well, but the Huskies are at least competitive. They are 2-5 overall and 1-2 in the league, with both of their defeats by seven points or fewer. This visit from Akron is only NIU’s third home game of the 2019 season. Northern Illinois 27, Akron 3

 

North Texas (-3.5) over Charlotte

Will Healy began his tenure at Charlotte with two wins in the first three games — but those wins came against FCS foe Gardner-Webb and UMass. The 49ers have lost their three C-USA games by an average of 19.7 points. The schedule softens a bit down the stretch, so don’t be surprised if Charlotte ends the season on a strong note. That, however, might have to wait another week. North Texas doesn’t have a gaudy record (3-4 overall), but this is a solid program (UNT has a 14-5 record in the league in the last two-plus seasons) with an outstanding quarterback in senior Mason Fine. North Texas 41, Charlotte 30

 

Memphis (-10.5) over Tulsa

Memphis made a statement Saturday night, blitzing AAC upstart Tulane by 30 points at the Liberty Bowl. That win came one week after the Tigers suffered their only defeat of the season, a turnover-marred 30-28 loss at Temple — a game in which Memphis outgained the Owls (6.4 to 5.4 per play) and were victimized by a horrendous replay overturn in the final minutes. Memphis is a play away from being 7-0. Tulsa has had the misfortune of opening its AAC schedule with games against SMU, Navy, and Cincinnati. The Golden Hurricane, to no one’s surprise, are 0-3, although they did lose the SMU game in overtime. That record will be 0-4 after Memphis comes to town this weekend. Memphis 41, Tulsa 20

 

Last week: 4-6

Season: 38-41-1

 
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