With the 2020 NCAA college football season rolling right along as it heads into Week 9, it’s time to take a fun-filled look at two matchups that both have the look of highly entertaining affairs that are offering a ton of entertainment – and betting – value. Let’s get right to it so you can bet on their NCAAF odds.
The Best Game and Sleeper Game to Watch In Week 9 | NCAAF Betting
First, let’s look at what should be the ‘best’ game on the Week 9 docket before moving forward to look at my top ‘sleeper’ game of the quickly approaching weekend.
No. 3 Ohio State at Penn State (0-1)
- When: Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020 at 7:30 PM ET
- Where: Beaver Stadium, University Park, PA
- TV: ABC
Third-ranked Ohio State got its 2020 season started off on the right foot by walloping Minnesota 52-17 to cover the chalk as a huge, 28-point home favorite. Heisman Trophy-contending quarterback Justin Fields passed for 276 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions while rushing for 54 yards and another score. Running back Master Teague II added 41 rushing yards and a pair of scores in the win.
Penn State ended up on the wrong end of a crushing 36-35 overtime loss against Indiana on Saturday as the Hoosiers were awarded a two-point conversion score on the game’s final play despite the fact that replays showed Hoosiers quarterback Michael Penix Jr. came up just short of scoring.
Quarterback Sean Clifford passed for 238 yards with three TD passes but tossed a pair of costly picks in the loss which dropped the Nittany Lions from seventh to 17th in the national rankings. Now, the Nittany Lions will look to avoid an 0-2 start for the first time since 2012.
“You invest so much that you’ve got to find a way to move on and move on quickly, no matter the results,” Penn State coach James Franklin said Tuesday.
This Week 9 Big Ten showdown will be the first since 2016 that both teams are not ranked in the top 10.
“They’re always going to be hungry when they play us, but certainly when you lose a game like that, everyone’s a little bit more hungry,” he said. “This is a very, very well coached team. They play well in all three phases. We have our hands full this week.”
While Ohio State has won three straight in this rivalry including a 28-17 home win last season, I think the spread is a bit too big for the Buckeyes to cover in this contest, particularly against a Penn State team that will surely be locked-in and focused.
The Buckeyes are just 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win while Penn State has gone a perfect 4-0 ATS in their last four games as a home underdog while also going 9-2 ATS in their last 11 home games against a team with a winning road record.
Ohio State has gone 0-4 ATS in the last four meetings while the home team in this Big Ten series has gone 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings. I’m going with the Nittany Lions to cover the chalk – and I wouldn’t be surprised if Penn State wins outright!
Pick: Penn State +12
Central Florida (3-2) at Houston (2-1)
- When: Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020 at 2:00 PM ET
- Where: TDECU Stadium, Houston, TX
- TV: ESPN+
While this Week 9 AAC clash might not be on everyone’s radar as a top matchup this coming weekend, I believe this pairing between the UCF Knights and Houston Cougars has the potential to be the most exciting game on the entire Week 9 docket.
Central Florida rolled to an emphatic 51-34 smackdown win over Tulane on Saturday as sophomore quarterback Dillon Gabriel passed for a stellar 422 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions and running back Greg McCrae rushed for 162 yards and one score. Wide receiver Marlon Williams added nine catches for 174 yards and three touchdowns in the win.
UCF is averaging 646.8 per game. The FBS single-season record for total offense is 624.9 yards per game – ironically, by Houston in 1989. Gabriel has passed for at least 400 passing yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions in consecutive games to join former Cal signal-caller Jared Goff (2015) and Joe Burrow with LSU last season as the only FBS players to accomplish that feat over the past 15 years.
“You’re only as good as your next performance,” Knights coach Josh Heupel said. “Our record is what it is. That’s who and what we are as a football team right now. We’re defined this week by what happens on Saturday. Control today.
Houston got past Navy 37-21 on Saturday as quarterback Clayton Tune passed for 316 yards with three touchdowns and no picks while running back Kyle Porter rushed for 52 yards and one score. Wide receiver Marquez Stevenson added nine catches for 129 yards and two scores in the win.
“I learned more about our team,” Cougars head coach Dana Holgorsen said. “I think we’re a group that likes to play. I love the camaraderie. You learn a little more about that when you travel because you spend more time with them. You get them for an extra three or four hours on the plane and on buses.
Central Florida has the slight edge in scoring while Houston is statistically better on defense. While the Knights have gone 0-4 ATS in their last four games, Central Florida is also 10-4 ATS in its last 14 games against a team with a winning record. While Houston has gone 21-8-1 ATS in its last 30 games as an underdog, the Cougars are also just 2-8 ATS in its last 10 games following an ATS win.
The underdog in this rivalry is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings, but the road team has gone a perfect 6-0 ATS in the last six meetings. I like Central Florida to keep put its high-scoring ways to get the confidence-boosting road win in this affair.
Pick: UCF 42 Houston 35
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