Week 9 College football best bets, odds and game picks, including Baylor vs Texas Tech: Expect a high-scoring affair in Lubbock

Texas Tech Red Raiders quarterback Donovan Smith (7) is sacked by Baylor Bears defensive tackle Josh Landry (92) during the second half at McLane Stadium.
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Caleb Wilfinger


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Deputy Editor for Pickswise with years of experience handicapping and giving out winning picks. Lover of all US sports and Southampton FC. For Caleb Wilfinger media enquiries, please email contact@pickswise.com.
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The 2022 college football season continues to deliver great games, upsets galore and excitement. Last weekend’s slate was another entertaining one, and we should have more great action in store for Week 9.

Last week resulted in a disappointing 1-2 card for me, but my best bets record is still 13-8-1 over the last 7 weeks. Let’s get back on track this week!

This week’s action kicks off on Thursday and will go deep into Saturday night. While this week’s lines have been on the move since Sunday, there are still some good value bets of which to take advantage.

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

We’ve got NCAAF picks for all the big games in Week 9!

Baylor Bears vs Texas Tech Red Raiders over 60.5 (-110)

Odds available at DraftKings Sportsbook at time of publishing

In a very competitive Big 12, both of these offenses have been strong. I expected Baylor to take a step back, but offense isn’t the area where the Bears have struggled. This is a team that ranks 20th in offensive success rate for rushing and passing, plus 25th in offensive EPA margin. This is a balanced attack that is humming at the moment, following a 35-23 win over Kansas and putting up 40 on West Virginia.

However, the Bears’ defense has seriously regressed, currently sitting at 80th in opponent success rate and 103rd in EPA per pass allowed. That doesn’t bode well against a Texas Tech offense that is red-hot heading into this one. Fresh off a 48-point performance last week, Behren Morton and company are absolutely rolling at the moment. And it shouldn’t matter if Morton gets the start this week, or if Tyler Shough returns from injury to reclaim the starting QB job; either one should do damage against this Baylor defense. In a game where both offenses hold significant edges over their opponents, this total is lower than it should be. Look for the winner of this one to score at least 35 points.

Be sure to check out our full Baylor vs Texas Tech predictions

East Carolina Pirates +3.5 over BYU Cougars (-110)

Odds available at FanDuel Sportsbook at time of publishing 

At the beginning of the season, I thought BYU had a real chance to make the most of its difficult schedule. Instead, the Cougars have fallen on hard times of late, dropping their 3rd straight game to Liberty last weekend. The troubles for BYU boil down to its defense, as the Cougars are allowing nearly 6 yards per play while ranking 123rd in success rate allowed, 121st in EPA per play and 115th in net points per drive. This unit is also outside the top 100 in EPA per rush, 113th in stuff rate and 116th in EPA per pass allowed, part of why they’ve allowed 121 points over the last 3 games.

The Cougars’ task won’t get any easier against East Carolina on Friday. Keaton Mitchell is an outstanding running back who should see little resistance against this BYU front. But the real star of the show for the Pirates is quarterback Holton Ahlers. Ahlers is having the best season of his career to this point, completing 71% of his passes with 18 touchdowns. Having just dominated Memphis and UCF, Ahlers and this ECU offense should be brimming with confidence in Provo. These teams are trending in opposite directions, so I’ll gladly take the points with the underdog here.

Be sure to check out our full East Carolina vs BYU predictions

UCF Knights ML over Cincinnati Bearcats (-105)

Odds available at DraftKings Sportsbook at time of publishing

This matchup has routinely turned into the game of the year in the AAC, and for good reason. Both programs have been strong in recent years, but Cincinnati has had the upper hand in this series of late. However, the talent gap between the teams this year is much smaller than in 2021 and 2020. The two teams have similar records, but the Bearcats are fortunate to be 6-1 on the season, having barely survived against South Florida and SMU in their last 2 games. There are also significant advantages that UCF holds in the trenches, which was uncommon in recent meetings.

The Knights are 16th in EPA per rush and 12th in rushing success rate on offense, which bodes well against a Bearcats defense that is 87th in EPA per rush. UCF is also 22nd in EPA per rush on defense, while Cincinnati’s ground game is 121st in success rate. This means that the Bearcats will likely need to rely on quarterback Ben Bryant to make big-time throws in a hostile road environment. That’s a tall task, especially for a turnover-prone QB. The Bounce House will be rocking for this game and I expect that to bolster an already potent Knights offense. UCF is likely favored if it didn’t lose to East Carolina a week ago, so I’ll back the Knights here in a spot I know they’ll get up for.

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