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Betting Against the Spread: College Football Week 9 Picks

Nick Mullens

Nick Mullens

I hope everyone took advantage of a down week in college football and watched the Richmond-James Madison game last week. It was arguably the best game on Saturday. This week my excitement brings me to my hometown Philly where Temple takes on Notre Dame. I didn't go to Temple, but I went to many games there when I was the only fan in a section and the Owls were getting blown out. Years and years of losing did nothing to waver my fandom and now it's all paying off. They may not beat the Irish this weekend, but the publicity the school is getting cannot be matched. To the Washington State fans reading this, you really didn't deserve ESPN’s “College GameDay” when ND was involved. The better matchup is in the City of Brotherly Love on Saturday.

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Record: 37-37 (Last week 3-3)

South Florida (4-3) at Navy (5-1)

South Florida is hot, having won three straight entering Saturday's tilt. The Bulls are doing it with balance on offense between Marlon Mack and Quinton Flowers. USF has rushed for 150 yards in all but one game and in that contest it finished with 149 against Florida State. Navy's defense has shown some cracks and hasn't faced an offense that can beat it on the ground and through the air since Notre Dame, which was a 41-24 loss. The good thing for the Midshipmen is that the Bulls haven't had a lot of time to prepare for their option attack, which has scored 24 points or more in every game. These two offenses should be able to do what they want. SELECTION: Over 51

Rutgers (3-4) at Wisconsin (6-2)

I'm going to go against the grain on this one. The numbers aren't pretty for Wisconsin, who has scored 28 points or less in six straight games and are still looking for Corey Clement to do his thing after getting hurt early on. There's a chance Clement is going to be available for this one as he takes on his hometown team. Wisconsin has covered in just three games and has generally been underwhelming all year long. The Scarlet Knights have been through a lot this year and are continuing to deal with an injury to Leonte Carroo, who represents their only real offensive threat. Rutgers has been beaten up defensively all year long. Last year the Badgers won this game 37-0 in New Jersey. Sometimes unhealthy teams just need a cupcake… so eat up Badgers. SELECTION: Wisconsin -20

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Georgia State (2-4) at Arkansas State (4-3)

It's a solid Sun Belt battle as the Red Wolves take on the Panthers. ASU has won three straight and four of its last five as the offense has finally figured things out. Fredi Knighten and Michael Gordon are making things work, as the team has scored 135 points in its last three contests. Georgia State has been beaten up by any team that has a pulse on offense. The Panthers gave up 32 to New Mexico State, 61 to Oregon, 41 to Liberty and 37 to Appalachian State. The good thing for the road team is that Nick Arbuckle is hot under center. He has thrown for over 300 yards in four of his last five starts. The Red Wolves have gone over in 14 of their last 18 Sun Belt games, including seven of their last nine against teams with a losing record. SELECTION: Over 59.5

Oklahoma (6-1) at Kansas (0-7)

The Jayhawks continue their winless season on Saturday as they host Oklahoma. Kansas has allowed 564.3 yards per game defensively with three opponents scoring 55 points or better against them. The Sooners are smoking hot offensively, scoring 44 points or more in four of their last five games. This will be a glorified scrimmage for them on Saturday. We know how the last game turned out with Samaje Perine facing Kansas. OU has gone over in 10 of its last 12 road games including eight of its last nine as a road favorite. SELECTION: Over 62.5

Illinois (4-3) at Penn State (6-2)

The Nittany Lions continue to win as they host Illinois. The Illini have lost two straight including a tough one to Wisconsin this past Saturday. Illinois' offense has become one-dimensional, rushing for just 101 yards in its last two matchups. Penn State's defense has had to pick things up with the offense struggling. Good thing for the Nittany Lions is that running back Saquon Barkley is getting healthy and should be able to find holes against a porous Illini defense. PSU has won 14 of its last 18 games against Illinois including eight of nine at home. SELECTION: Penn State ML -200

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UTEP (3-4) at Southern Miss (5-3)

It's been a great season for the Golden Eagles, who have surpassed last year's win total. They have won two straight and three of their last four as they host a limping UTEP squad. The Miners’ defense has used road games as a vacation this year allowing 48, 69, 47 and 52 points. UTEP's offense has gone down the tubes ever since losing Aaron Jones at running back. The home team has been a covering machine all year long failing to do so just once. The Golden Eagles are loving this newfound success behind an offense that is gashing teams on the ground and through the air. UTEP is 5-17 ATS as an underdog the last three seasons. Last year the Miners won this game at home by 21 points. It's going to get ugly in Hattiesburg. SELECTION: Southern Miss -25

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Michigan (5-2) at Minnesota (4-3)

It's been an emotional week for Minnesota with Jerry Kill stepping down as head coach. Both the Golden Gophers and Wolverines are coming off a bye week. Minnesota has lost two of its last three, but will have emotion on their side in this one. Michigan is coming off its horrific loss to Michigan State and the Wolverines may have that cloud hanging over them. This will be a low-scoring affair as evidenced by the low total. In a lot of cases, that means take the underdog, especially at home in a rivalry game. Minnesota has covered in 13 of its last 19 conference games. SELECTION: Minnesota +13.5

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UT Martin (4-2) at Arkansas (3-4)

The Razorbacks take a break from SEC play as UT Martin comes to town. The Skyhawks will be playing their second FBS opponent after losing 76-3 to Ole Miss in their season opener. This is a potent offense that has scored 28 points or more against every other opponent. They also have a defense that has had their issues as evidenced by the 45 points they gave up last week to Murray State. Arkansas is coming off a 54-46 win in four overtimes over Auburn at home. The Razorbacks also have a road game against Ole Miss next week so focus could be a bit of an issue. I think that shows up on the defensive side of the ball. Last year Arkansas beat Nicholls State 73-7 in week two. SELECTION: Over 60.5


— One of the spot plays this weekend comes on Friday night when UConn hosts East Carolina. The Pirates are coming off a very tough home loss to Temple in a game that was extremely important in the standings. Now ECU is essentially three games behind the Owls in the AAC East. UConn has lost two straight and five of its last six after a surprising 2-0 start. The Huskies have a three-point loss at Missouri to go along with a respectable effort at BYU. They are a banged-up team right now, but are at home and remain hungry. East Carolina has failed to cover in 14 of its last 20 conference games. Taking UConn in this one means you believe it's a bad spot for the Pirates and are hoping that the Huskies’ defense can slow down ECU’s two-QB attack.

— Utah State has been a favorite of 21.5 to 31 points just seven times since 1992, covering in five of those instances. They are a massive favorite against a Wyoming team most likely without senior QB Cameron Coffman and No. 1 WR Tanner Gentry. This is an Aggies team that followed up a 26-point home win over Boise State with an awful effort at San Diego State. There's no doubt in my mind Utah State wins this one, but that's a lot of points for an inconsistent team. Wyoming has covered in all four of its road games this year so that also was a factor.

— Appalachian State has allowed just 84 points in seven games this season with 41 of them coming against Clemson back in week two. The Mountaineers are coming off a huge home win over Georgia Southern and now host Troy on Saturday. Focus could be an issue with the home team, as Appalachian State also has a matchup with Arkansas State on Nov. 5.. It's an odd sandwich game situation here. The question is if Troy's 52 points last time out was an aberration. Based off the situation, the road team is the play, but you'd have to hold your nose if you went through with it.

— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Josephs prefers non-Power 5 college football and may be the only one wagering on the Sun Belt. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.