Betting Against The Spread: Week 9 Picks

Athlon's Braden Gall offers his top college football picks against the spread each week.

Athlon's Braden Gall offers his top college football picks against the spread each week.

-by Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden on twitter)

Everyone has a bad week every now and then — just like Oklahoma and Wisconsin. It took eight weeks of college football but I finally had a sub-.500 weekend of action. The Razor-pigs rolled around in the Oxford mud for most of the day while the underdog Huskies proved they are still a year away from competing for Pac-12 titles. And cmon, we all get Zookered at least twice a season, right?

There is a lot to like this week as the market over-corrects itself (Purdue, Texas Tech, Washington, West Virginia, Arkansas). Do not hesitate to go after those teams who dramatically under or over-performed last weekend.

Season Record ATS: 50-28-3 (4-5-1 last week)

Week 9's Top Picks:

1. Arizona (+4) at Washington
Washington is coming off a bad loss to Stanford while Zona is soaking in the glow of what was an embarassing performance by UCLA last Thursday night. This is the first major over-correction. Arizona is 2-5 with one win over FBS competition, is allowing over 33 points per game and is last in the Pac-12 in total defense. The Huskies have relatively easy wins over Cal, Utah and Colorado and have not lost at home since Halloween of 2010. My Pick: Washington -4

2. Hawaii (-7) at Idaho
Horrendous. There is no other way to explain the Vandals' play over the last two months. Idaho has yet to beat an FBS opponent and last won in Week 2 over North Dakota. Losses to Texas A&M and Virginia on the road are understandable, but home losses to Fresno State and Louisiana Tech by a combined 37 points (and any loss to New Mexico State) are not. Idaho is 114th in total offense and 89th in total defense. Hawaii won this match 45-10 last fall and is averaging 328 passing yards per game. My Pick: Hawaii -7

3. Clemson (-3.5) at Georgia Tech
Only Stanford has a better record against the spread than Clemson's 7-1 thus far. This is an ACC title game rematch from a few seasons ago and if anyone watched the Jackets the last two weeks, there is just no way this number makes any sense. Tevin Washington cannot complete passes and the option attack hasnt't been productive in two loses to Virginia and Miami. In fact, Tech wasn't even competitive last week "in" Coral Gables. Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins continue to roll. My Pick: Clemson -3.5

4. SMU (+3) at Tulsa
This one is simple: Give credit where credit is due. When Athlon editor Steven Lassan has a gut feeling about a team winning outright at the mid-major level, I do not hesitate. He is affectionately known as the Lassanator. Tulsa's defense has been bad no matter the competition — and the competition has been very mediocre of late. SMU has been lighting up secondaries all season and has beaten quality competition in TCU. Tulsa's best win this year is a road W over Rice. My Pick: SMU +3

5. Baylor (+14) at Oklahoma State
The Bears will score plenty of points with RG3, but Oklahoma State will score plenty more. The Pokes rolled-up 725 yards of offense in this game last season and is humming along again in 2011: No. 2 nationally in passing, No. 3 in total offense and No. 2 in scoring. Okie State is also one of only four teams with a 6-1 record this season against the spread. This has an A&M-esque 55-28 feel to it. My Pick: Oklahoma State -14

6. Purdue (+12.5) at Michigan
Market correction No. 2. Someone was going to collect the benefit checks from Ron Zook and, in 2011, it was Purdue's Danny Hope. The Boilers played arguably the easiest schedule of any FBS team until Week 7 - and was 3-3 before Hope had the pleasure of being on the business end of a good Zookering. Michigan is coming off a bye week and has arguably the most electric player in the nation under center. This was an 11-point win by Michigan last season in West Lafayette. This is a new and improved Maize and Blue in The Big House. My Pick: Michigan -12.5

If you are feeling lucky

7. Bowling Green (-3.5) at Kent State
Few teams are statistically worse than the Golden Flashes of Kent State. At 10.7 points per game, they are the worst scoring team in the naton. At a pathetic 180.6 yards per game, they are the least productive offense in America. Bowling Green is riding high after a 13-10 win over Temple last week and sits at 4-4 for the year. Ignore last year's final score, these are two totally different teams in 2011. The Flashes are 1-6 against the spread this fall. My Pick: Bowling Green -3.5

8. Stanford (-7.5) at USC
There is only one team unbeaten against the spread for more than a calendar year. And there is only one Andrew Luck — no matter how well Matt Barkley can cover Jason Mraz. The Trojans have been playing great football so they will not sneak up on the Cardinal, who are favored on the road in the series for the first time ever. Luck will be able to pick apart a defense that is 104th against the pass (265.1 ypg). It will be 16 straight for the Cardinal. My Pick: Stanford -7.5

9. UAB (+5.5) at Marshall
The Herd has excellent wins over Southern Miss and Louisville to go with a another decent victory over Rice (two of which have come in the last four weeks). New quarterback AJ Graham has jump-started the offense in two starts and will slice up the 117th-ranked total defense. Don't worry about the 26-24 win over UCF last weekend, all you need to know is that UAB lost to Tulane at home. My Pick: Marshall -5.5

10. Cal (-4.5) at UCLA
The Bruins are one of three teams with a 1-6 mark against the spread this season and are staggaring around the ring after Arizona dropped them to the canvas on national TV 48-12 last Thursday night. Zach Marynard and half-brother Keenan Allen are possibly the most well-tethered QB-WR combo in the nation (Allen's 129.4 ypg leads the country) and are coming off a 34-10 destruction of Utah. A bad Cal team beat UCLA 35-10 last season. My Pick: Cal -4.5

11. Arkansas (-10) at Vanderbilt
It's a safe bet that Vandy defensive coordinator Bob Shoop isn't getting much sleep this week trying to prepare for the Razorbacks. The Hogs have come out flat all season long in the first half, but have scored plenty of points in the second half so there is little Vandy should be able to counter with on offense. This was a 49-14 game in Fayetteville last season. James Franklin has closed the gap some, but not from 35 points to nine. My Pick: Arkansas -10

2011 Trends:

7-0 Against the Spread: Stanford

7-1 Against the Spread:  Alabama, Clemson

6-1 Against the Spread: Arkansas St., Kansas St., Oklahoma St., UTEP

6-2 Against the Spread: LSU, Temple

2-6 Against the Spread: Virginia Tech

1-6 Against the Spread: Colorado St., Kent St., UCLA

1-7 Against the Spread: Central Michigan

Other Week 9 Content:

Steven Lassan's Key Storylines for Week 9
Athlons Sports In-Depth Preview: Michigan State vs. Nebraska

Mitch Light's Top Ten Picks of the Week

Athlon Sports Picks Every Game of Week 9


Exclude From Games: 
<p> Athlon's Braden Gall offers his top college football picks against the spread each week.</p>

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