Four College Football Bets You Should Make This Week

    Week 9 of college football doesn’t feature many marquee matchups, but there are a number or fascinating point spreads out there. It’s setting up to be a

    October 25, 2018

    Week 9 of college football doesn’t feature many marquee matchups, but there are a number or fascinating point spreads out there. It’s setting up to be a week where we can learn a lot about several teams and hopefully can find opportunities to bet on or fade those teams in November.

    There were eight games that interested me this week and I narrowed it down to my four favorite sides.

    Here are the picks for Week 9.


    Miami (-4) at Boston College

    You don’t have to wait until Saturday – there’s a Friday game worth picking. Miami makes the long trip to Chestnut Hill for a date with Boston College.

    This is a very meaningful game for Boston College: the annual Red Bandana Game. The school honors former Boston College lacrosse player Welles Crowther, who was a hero during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Boston College started this tradition in 2014 and they upset USC in that game. They trounced Florida State on a Friday night in last season’s Red Bandana Game.

    I like Boston College in this spot, and it’s not only because of the emotion or importance of this game for the fans and program. It’s more of a play against Miami, who needed to rally from a 20-point deficit to beat Florida State and lost 16-13 to Virginia before their bye week. It looks like Malik Rosier will get the nod at starting quarterback over N’Kosi Perry in this game, but neither has been impressive this season.

    One note to look at before betting on Boston College is the status of AJ Dillon. The star running back is practicing and is likely to play after missing the last two games with an ankle injury. This would be a huge boost to the Eagles’ offense and the bye last week gave him extra time to get ready for this game.

    One minor concern about betting Boston College is that the Red Sox will be playing Game 3 of the World Series while this game is going on. I’m slightly worried that the focus in the crowd might be checking scores on phones rather than watching the game on the field. However, I still think it will be a tough atmosphere for Miami to play in and I have Boston College winning this game straight up.


    North Carolina at Virginia (-8.5)

    The 2018 North Carolina season has been a series of bad news and tough breaks. The Tar Heels suspended 13 players before the season for selling school-issued shoes. Nine of the 13 players were suspended four games.

    In Week 3, North Carolina’s game against UCF was postponed because Hurricane Florence was approaching the area.

    Once the suspended players for North Carolina returned, they had a great chance to turn around their season with a home win against Virginia Tech. The Tar Heels had the lead for the entire second half before the Hokies scored a touchdown in the final seconds of a 22-19 win. Despite the loss, North Carolina outgained Virginia Tech 522-375 and was the better team.

    The unluckiness continued for North Carolina last week, as they fell in double overtime to Syracuse on the road. Their record is 1-5 but they have had players suspended for most of the season, major weather distractions and they lost two toss-up games to pretty good ACC teams.

    Their opponent this week is Virginia, which is a program on the rise under third-year coach Bronco Mendenhall. The Cavaliers upset Miami two weeks ago and then defeated Duke last week. The Duke win was very impressive considering it seemed like a letdown spot off the Miami upset. Virginia won both games in the underdog role and now is in unfamiliar territory as over a touchdown favorite in this game.

    I like North Carolina to keep this game close. They are better than their record indicates, and winning five of their last six games to become bowl eligible is realistic. They had some tough luck the last few weeks, but I still think they are motivated to get to a bowl game and possibly save Head Coach Larry Fedora’s job.


    7 Georgia (-6.5) vs. 9 Florida in Jacksonville

    This is the game I’m most looking forward to watching, and I happen to like a side in this contest. Georgia and Florida meet in their annual neutral site game in Jacksonville. The winner of this game will likely win the SEC East unless Kentucky surprises some teams.

    Both teams are coming off bye weeks, and each team has played LSU this month. Florida defeated LSU as one-point underdogs on Oct. 6 and Georgia was upset by LSU as 6.5-point road favorites on Oct. 13.

    If you ignore the results of each game, then it appears like there is line value on Georgia as a 6.5-point favorite against Florida on a neutral field. Here is some math, assuming that home field advantage in college football is worth three points to the point spread:

    • Week 6: LSU (-1) at Florida means LSU was four points better on a neutral field.
    • Week 7: Georgia (-6.5) at LSU means Georgia was 9.5 points better on a neutral field.


    Based on that point spread math, Georgia would’ve been around a 13.5-point favorite against Florida if this game was played three weeks ago. That’s a seven-point difference from what we are seeing right now at the current market.

    The question is if the line move is warranted. I definitely can see why this line is lower than 13.5, and maybe Georgia was overvalued all season.

    However, I do like this situation for Georgia, who was in a very similar spot last season. The Bulldogs were undefeated in November and then lost to Auburn in a game that seemed like it would take a huge hit to their College Football Playoff hopes.

    Georgia finished the regular season strong and then beat Auburn in a rematch three weeks later to win the SEC and get to the Rose Bowl, which was one of the semifinals. Going through the adversity of last season should help some of the players on this Georgia team, including quarterback Jake Fromm.

    Georgia’s path to the Playoff pretty much stays the same whether they beat LSU or not. They still can win the East by winning out and they would’ve likely needed to beat Alabama anyway if they wanted to reach the Playoff. The Georgia defense struggled against LSU, but a defensive-minded coach like Kirby Smart is the guy you want to trust coming off a bad performance with extra time to gameplan.

    Florida also has a good defense, but I’m not convinced that quarterback Feleipe Franks will be able to make enough plays for the Gators. I like Georgia to pull away to a victory and cover a discounted point spread.


    18 Iowa at 17 Penn State (-6.5)

    I’m going to start my preview for this game by saying what scares me about picking Iowa. It feels like they’ll be a trendy underdog by the end of the week and I’m always nervous when the public bettors gravitate to an underdog.

    Also, Iowa’s strength of schedule hasn’t been difficult this season. The Week 4 loss to Wisconsin looks worse after the Badgers were blown out by Michigan two weeks ago.

    However, I’m going to take the bait and back Iowa against a Penn State team with very little to play for other than pride. The Nittany Lions’ Playoff chances are extremely unlikely; they have two losses and the slimmest of chances to win the Big Ten East. Penn State’s home loss to Michigan State in Week 7 was devastating, especially with the way the Spartans looked against Michigan last week.

    Iowa has a lot on the line with the Big Ten West very much in play. The Hawkeyes have gone under the radar since their loss to Wisconsin. They had an early-season bye week before dominant wins over Minnesota, Indiana and Maryland. The Iowa defense has been a force all season, despite losing their three leading tacklers from last season.

    Speaking of last season, this is a revenge game for the Hawkeyes, who lost on the final play of the game to the Nittany Lions at Kinnick Stadium. Penn State dominated the game in the box score and Saquon Barkley had over 300 total yards. But the way the game ended had to leave a bad taste in Iowa’s mouth and there could be extra motivation for this week’s game.

    Along with having a strong defense, Iowa has a solid offense that is led by quarterback Nate Stanley. He’s one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the conference and has a huge opportunity in this game. The Penn State defense was on the field for 100 plays against Indiana, so fatigue could be a factor as this game goes on.

    My one warning before taking Iowa here is to check the weather reports up until the start of the game. The early forecast calls for temperatures in the 40s and rain. This ugly weather could favor Iowa since they have the better defense. My concern is if the Hawkeyes trail early, they could struggle to score and mount a comeback.


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