College football Week 9 best bets – Oregon and Stanford kick off Pac-12 schedule

CJ Verdell and the Oregon Ducks celebrate a touchdown
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Ricky Dimon

NCAAF

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Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports--just about any and all you can think of!--and coaching tennis in Atlanta, Ga. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me.

College football Week 9 best bets – Oregon and Stanford kick off Pac-12 schedule

The Pac-12 is finally back in action, so—with a few exceptions—we just about have a full slate of college football this week. As usual, though, the biggest games on the docket can be found in the SEC, ACC, and Big Ten. But biggest does not necessarily mean best when it comes to betting opportunities.

Let’s take a look at the best college football bets for Week 9.

Oregon Ducks -8.5 vs. Stanford Cardinal

Both Stanford (K.J. Costello) and Oregon (Justin Herbert) lost high-powered starting quarterbacks from last year. The most important returnee among the two teams is Ducks running back C.J. Verdell, who has been borderline unstoppable over the last two seasons. More of the same should be expected from him right from the start in 2020. Oregon also boasts Cyrus Habibi-Likio in the backfield, and the tandem works well in terms of keeping both parties fresh throughout games. Success in the running game early should open up the airwaves as this Pac-12 showdown progresses. The Ducks are much better than Stanford on paper and will likely take care of business without too much trouble.

Cincinnati Bearcats -12.5 vs. Houston Cougars

Cincinnati currently has the inside track (at least relative to its other non-Power Five brethren) on being an outsider in the College Football Playoff. It has to continue winning, of course, and it must do so in style. The Bearcats should satisfy both requirements against Houston on Saturday. They are coming off a 49-10 rout of Memphis in which they made a mockery of the -6.5 spread. Cincinnati has not given up more than 13 points to an FBS opponent this season and quarterback Desmond Ridder is getting into a groove with plenty of games under his belt now in 2020. In other words, this team is performing well on both sides of the ball. Houston, which has already lost to Central Florida and BYU, may have a problem.

Vanderbilt Commodores +19 at Mississippi State Bulldogs

Mississippi State’s offense under new head coach Mike Leach was all the rage following a 44-34 win over LSU in week one. To the say the honeymoon is now over would be a gross understatement. The Bulldogs have since lost four in a row, including a pair of setbacks against unranked opponents in Arkansas and Kentucky. They scored a grand total of two points against the Wildcats; you really can’t make this stuff up. Costello (yes, the former Stanford signal-caller) and Will Rogers have combined for two touchdowns and 12 interceptions in the four losses. Vanderbilt obviously isn’t good, either, but Mississippi State giving 19 points to anyone is alarming.

Texas Tech Red Raiders at TCU Horned Frogs Over 60.5

Texas Tech was awful against Oklahoma last week—especially on the defensive side of the ball (what’s new?!?!). The Red Raiders are giving up 41.2 points per game this season after allowing 62 to the Sooners. Although TCU is 0-3 at home this season, it scored 34 points in one of those losses (to Iowa State) and it has scored 34 points in each of its two road victories. Quarterback Max Duggan should be able to abuse Texas Tech’s porous defense. So far this year, Red Raiders games are averaging a total of 72.7 points.

Pickswise is your home for the best free college football previews and predictions all season long. Make sure to check out our NCAAF Picks page!

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