College football betting: Who to take in Week 9

I like to give an explanation as to why I like a side or a total for a game. Rather than post in multiple tweets, I’ll just give some quick hits for what I am betting for Week 9 of the college football season.

Game Totals

12pm ET

Rutgers at Illinois UNDER 42

Illinois is coming off a nine-overtime win over Penn State. There were nine overtimes played and the end result was a 20-18 score. You have two run-first teams, both of which have a defensive strength ... against the run. The Scarlet Knights are 88th in rushing yards but 106th in yards per carry.

The Fighting Illini is top 50 in total rushing yards and yards per carry, while also 29th-best at converting on third downs. Having a run-first team with the ability to extend drives is great for an UNDER play.

My best bet of the week: North Texas at Rice UNDER 57

Duke at Wake Forest UNDER 71.5

This number is largely inflated because of the Demon Deacons' 70-56 win last week over Army. OK, honestly, it could happen for Wake Forest. This offense is pretty amazing, sixth-best for offensive touchdowns scored, led by QB Sam Hartman. Duke, however, is not amazing. If I am taking an OVER, I want both teams to score. The Blue Devils in the last three two road games have scored 7 and 0 points. I would feel pretty silly holding an OVER when the score ends 48-0. The problem? Turnovers. Duke is fourth-worst in giveaways, while Wake is third best in takeaways. You can’t score if you keep turning the ball over.

Wyoming at San Jose State UNDER 41

You have two of the slowest-paced teams in all of college football, both ranked bottom 30 for plays per game. Additionally, both are 110th for total offense and 95th or worst for offensive touchdowns scored, averaging 23 and 17 points per game.

Defensively, both squads are top 45 for opponent points per play and opponent touchdowns allowed. Neither light up the scoreboard, while both are great at limiting points. The makings of a low-scoring affair.

Arizona at USC UNDER 56

Check out Tuesday’s episode of the Yahoo Sportsbook Daily to hear my reasoning.

ATS Picks

Rutgers at Illinois +100

I talked about this total above. Now, I’ll talk about the side. Both teams lack in offense, 119th and 109th in total offense, respectively. Illinois, however, has the one-two-punch duo with RBs Chase Brown and Joshua McCray, who together account for two-thirds of the total rushing yards and five of the seven total rushing scores, while the Scarlet Knights have just one running back with over 300 yards on the season. These two are similar in terms of defense, so I’ll take the better offense.

Iowa State at West Virginia +7.5, +250

Backing the Mountaineers on the road? Fade! That was the case but is now 1-7 since 2020 after defeating TCU last week 29-17 away. West Virginia at home, however, a much different team - a better offense and a better defense. This season at home, WV held a rushing team in Virginia Tech to 2.7 YPC and held a passing team in Texas Tech to below 300 passing yards and zero passing touchdowns. QB Jarret Doege is also a different player at home than on the road.

  • Away: 7 YPP, 2 TD, 4 INT, 10 sacks

  • Home: 9.5 YPP, 6 TDs, 1 INT, 5 sacks

UTEP +11.5 at Florida Atlantic

El Paso has two strengths: top 10 in total defense (30th against the pass, 7th against the run) and top 25 in applying quarterback pressure, generating 20 total sacks on the season led by DE Jadrian Taylor. The Owls QB N’Kosi Perry is one of the worst-protected quarterbacks sacked 17 times. What stops drives? Attacking the quarterback. Taylor can do that. The question becomes, can the Miners score? Yes, just run the ball. FAU is bottom 15 against the run. Apply that QB pressure, keep the offense to the ground and generate some turnovers. UTEP is in the top 20 for takeaways.

If you’re feeling frisky, +340 for the underdog is an option.

Oregon State at Cal +2, +105

The Beavers are a run-first team. The defensive strength of the Golden Bears? Top 35 against the run. Cal is a pass-first team. The defensive strength of Oregon State? Not against the pass, bottom 10 in passing yards allowed (124th). The edge goes to the home team with the significantly better defense. Better at limiting opponent red zone attempts, scores, and offensive touchdowns. Cal QB Chase Garbers has also shown improvements as of late with four touchdowns and zero interceptions in his last two games. Plus, he has 300 rushing yards on the season, nearly 100 last week against Colorado. Hopefully he can parlay that recent success into a home win.

Virginia +3, +115 at BYU

This will be the most potent offense the Cougars have faced. The Cavaliers are top 30 in points per play, first in red zone attempts, second in red zone scores, 12th in offensive touchdowns scores. Defensively, it stinks. Virginia is giving up yards, bottom 20 in total defense, but not necessarily giving up the points. Both teams are 62nd in opponent red zone scores. However, BYU is better at limiting touchdowns. As less than a field-goal spread, if this were to come down a final game-winning, knock one through the goal-posts type of game, I’ll put my trust into Virginia’s kicker, Brendan Farrel, who has a 90 field goals made percentage compared to BYU’s Jake Oldroyd with 65. That’s a pretty significant difference. I’ll take the better offense that can score more touchdowns and has a better kicker.

Parlay options

A round-robin on all the totals and then on all the side picks is worth an option. However, if I were to hone in on just one parlay from each, this is what I would go with.

OVER/UNDER three-team parlay (+600)

Duke at Wake Forest UNDER 71.5

Wyoming at San Jose State UNDER 41

Arizona at USC UNDER 56

ATS and ML three-team underdog parlay (+600 ATS, +1445 ML)

Iowa State at West Virginia +7.5, +250

Oregon State at Cal +2, +105

Virginia +3, +115 at BYU

Big betting card! Good luck!