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Betting Against the Spread: College Football Week 9 Picks and Odds


In true mid-major fashion, I swept my college football card (perfect in NFL too) last week with the help of several Sun Belt teams. Sometimes when things just aren't going your way, you need to return to your roots. The matchups continue to be stellar and I feel like the best is yet to come for my selections.

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Record: 22-20 (5-0 last week)

Note: All games are on Saturday, Oct. 29 unless otherwise noted, and all times ET.

Air Force (4-3) at Fresno State (1-7), 10:30 p.m. (Friday)

This is purely a situational play as the records and numbers tell me to take Air Force, but the other circumstances are a bit tough. The Falcons have lost three straight and are coming off a tough double-overtime loss against Hawaii. They have to travel for this short week and prepare for a Fresno State team that has a new head coach and presumably a new attitude. There were a few decent things to come out of the Bulldogs’  loss to Utah State last week — no turnovers and they held the Aggies to fewer than 400 yards of offense. Air Force has covered just seven of its last 15 games on the road. Fresno has covered in six of its last eight against teams with a winning record including both this year. Don't go nuts here, but I like the situation for the home team. SELECTION: Fresno State +14

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UCF (4-3) at Houston (6-2), 12 p.m.

Houston's season has gone down the tubes and quick after losing to SMU last week. The Cougars’ defense has disappeared, allowing 115 points to Navy, Tulsa and SMU over the past three games. UCF is on the upswing with Scott Frost as their head coach. The offense has been a lot better with McKenzie Milton at quarterback, so the Knights should be able to move the ball. Houston has gone over in four of its last five and in an unfocused spot the Cougars are capable of both scoring and allowing points. UCF has gone over in three of its four road games. SELECTION: Over 58

Kansas State (4-3) at Iowa State (1-6), 12 p.m. ET

This is another situational play on Saturday as one-win Iowa State hosts Kansas State. The Cyclones are coming off a bye week and have the Wildcats and Sooners at home in the span of a week. ISU has a competent offense with QB Joel Lanning and RB Mike Warren as well as WR Allen Lazard. Kansas State is coming off a close home win over Texas and has a home tilt with Oklahoma State next on the docket. The Wildcats’ offense has struggled at times to get traction, especially on the road where they've scored 46 points in three games. ISU has covered in six of its last 10 at home in this series. The Cyclones have covered seven of their last 11 October games. SELECTION: Iowa State +6.5

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Miami (4-3) at Notre Dame (2-5), 3:30 p.m.

This matchup has meant so much more in the past. The 2016 version is Miami looking to snap a losing streak vs. a Notre Dame just trying to get bowl eligible. One missed extra point against Florida State has sent the Hurricanes reeling into a three-game spiral that has seen the offense sputter and the banged-up defense have its own issues. The Fighting Irish can't do much right either as they have lost two straight and four of their last five. Notre Dame still has Navy, Army, Virginia Tech and USC left, so bowl eligibility may be a struggle to attain. I'm leaning to the home team despite the fact that Brad Kaaya could have a field day. Kaaya's inconsistency is an issue and will continue to be on Saturday. SELECTION: Notre Dame +2.5

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New Mexico State (2-5) at Texas A&M (6-1), 7:30 p.m.

Oh boy, I feel bad for New Mexico State. Texas A&M is coming off an awful effort against Alabama and will want to take out some frustration. The road Aggies allow more than 500 yards per game while putting up 432 themselves. The home Aggies are the opposite, putting up 496.4 yards per game while allowing around 440. New Mexico State gave up 62 points at Kentucky, 52 at Troy and 55 at Idaho. Texas A&M scored 67 on FCS member Prairie View A&M back on Sept. 10. New Mexico State has gone over in 22 of its last 31 including five of seven this season. The visiting Aggies won't be able to slow down Texas A&M at all so I'm hoping some late points in garbage time help us out. SELECTION: Over 71

Clemson (7-0) at Florida State (5-2), 8 p.m.

This is what many thought would be the game of the season before things kicked off in late August. Clemson is in the mix for the national championship while Florida State is in looking to play spoiler. Both teams are coming off of a bye, so they should be well rested and relatively healthy. The Seminoles have allowed just 25 points in their last two games and are playing with confidence. Redshirt freshman QB Deondre Francois is improving while Dalvin Cook is one of the best RBs. The Tigers haven't played that great for the most part this year, as evidenced by closer-than-expected games against Troy and NC State. FSU has been a home underdog of 3.5 to 7 points just twice since 1992 and have split those two games. Clemson has covered just five of its last 13 road games. SELECTION: Florida State +4.5

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— Just in case you were thinking of taking Army, for the second week the Black Knights are facing a team that has had an extra week to prepare. Last week North Texas came off of a bye and was able to move the ball in an outright upset victory. I'm not saying take Wake Forest because the Demon Deacons’ offense is horrendous, but it's just something to consider in this one.

— 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.