College football week 9 predictions against the spread

College football Week 9 picks against the spread for every top-25 matchup

The college football season enters the midpoint this week, and Week 9 features three matchups between ranked teams.

No. 13 Wisconsin travels to No. 3 Ohio State (Noon ET, FOX) in a pivotal Big Ten matchup. No. 9 Auburn visits No. 2 LSU (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS) in the next-big top-10 showdown, and prime time features the classic rivalry between No. 8 Notre Dame and No. 19 Michigan (7:30 p.m. ET, ABC). That makes for some tough Week 9 picks against the spread.

Here is a look at our record so far this season:

Straight up: 130-31, .807 (17-4 last week)
Against the spread: 87-74, .540 (10-11 last week)
Upset picks: 2-9, .182 (0-1 last week)

With that, Sporting News’ college football picks for Week 9 (odds provided courtesy of Sportsbook Review as of 2 p.m. ET Monday, Oct. 21):

Thursday, Oct. 24

No. 16 SMU (-13.5) at Houston

The Mustangs have rolled up 40-plus points in their last six games, but Houston hasn’t lost to SMU at home since 2005. The Cougars should be able to hang round in this one.

SMU wins 40-28 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.

Saturday, Oct. 26

No. 13 Wisconsin at No. 3 Ohio State (-14)

The line has moved up one point from its open, and the Buckeyes are heavy favorites. Ohio State has covered against the spread in each of its last six games, but five of the last six meetings with the Badgers have been decided by one score or less.

Ohio State wins 31-16 and COVERS the spread.

No. 5 Oklahoma (-23.5) at Kansas State

The Sooners are 4-3 against the spread. Oklahoma is winning Big 12 games by an average of 27.3 points per game, and the Wildcats have lost two games by an average of 16 points per game. Oklahoma presents too many issues on offense.

Oklahoma wins 45-21 and COVERS the spread.

No. 20 Iowa (-10.5) at Northwestern

The Wildcats have scored more than 15 points in a game only once this season, and the Hawkeyes can exploit that. It’s worth knowing Northwestern has won the last three meetings, but that won’t matter this time.

Iowa wins 27-14 and COVERS the spread.

No. 21 Appalachian State (-24.5) at South Alabama

The Jaguars are stuck in a five-game losing streak, and the Mountaineers are trying to make their case for a New Year’s Day 6 bowl bid. App State won the last meeting by 45 points.

Appalachian State wins 44-14 and COVERS the spread.

No. 9 Auburn at No. 2 LSU (-12)

It’s another top-10 showdown in a battle of Tigers, and LSU is 5-2 against the spread this season. They missed covering against Florida, however, and this line looks a touch too high knowing Auburn is 6-1 against the spread this season. We think this one comes down to the wire.

LSU wins 34-24 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.

No. 6 Penn State (-5.5) at Michigan State

The Spartans had a bye week to recover from back-to-back losses to Ohio State and Wisconsin, and this is the third straight ranked game for the Nittany Lions. Penn State is 1-4 against Michigan State under James Franklin; the Spartans throw another wrench into the Big Ten race.

Michigan State wins 22-20 in an UPSET.

No. 15 Texas at TCU (pick ’em)

This could be a pick ’em by kickoff. The Horned Frogs are coming off back-to-back losses, however, and Texas will recalibrate after a close call with Kansas. TCU has won four of the last five meetings, but Sam Ehlinger leads the Longhorns to victory in the fourth quarter.

Texas wins 31-27.

Maryland at No. 17 Minnesota (-16.5)

Minnesota continues to roll, and the Gophers have covered the last three weeks as favorites. Maryland can turn this into a shootout if they limit the turnovers. We think that’s the most likely scenario.

Minnesota wins 38-27 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.

Oklahoma State at No. 23 Iowa State (-10.5)

The Cyclones have unleashed Breece Hall the last two weeks, and he has rushed for 315 yards in the last two games. The Cowboys have been hot-and-cold all season, but this feels like a few too many points.

Iowa State wins 38-31 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.

Arkansas at No. 1 Alabama (-32)

Tua Tagovailoa (ankle) is out, and Mac Jones has a chance to show what he can do against Arkansas, which is 1-3 against the spread as an underdog. Jones finds a groove in the second half, and the Tide get the extra week to get ready for LSU.

Alabama wins 44-13 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.

Boston College at No. 4 Clemson (-33.5)

Clemson is 5-1 against the spread when it is 20 points or more this season, and the defense hasn’t allowed more than 20 points in a single game. The Tigers dropped in the polls, too, which means Dabo Swinney might set out to make a statement.

Clemson wins 51-14 and COVERS the spread.

No. 8 Notre Dame at No. 19 Michigan (-1)

Michigan has two Big Ten losses, but there is still a chance to play spoiler against a rival, and for Jim Harbaugh to win a game against a top-10 team. The Irish, however, had an extra week to prepare — Brian Kelly gets his first win at the Big House.

Notre Dame wins 26-24 in an UPSET.

No. 24 Arizona State (-4) at UCLA

The Sun Devils are 0-3 against the spread as a favorite this season, but it’s a low spread and we like Arizona State to pick up their first win against a Pac-12 South opponent. The Bruins’ up-and-down nature makes it a tough call.

Arizona State wins 31-24 and COVERS the spread.

Cal at No. 12 Utah (-18)

The Utes have given up just 23 points with three straight covers since losing to USC. Cal is trending in the other direction, but the Golden Bears have not allowed more than 24 points in a single game.

Utah wins 27-13 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.

Washington State at No. 11 Oregon (-14)

The Ducks are in control of the Pac-12 North, but they can’t take a break against a Washington State team that broke a three-game losing streak last week. The Cougars have won the last four meetings. This one will be entertaining.

Oregon wins 41-38 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.

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