NCAA Football Betting Odds: Week 9 Line Movements & Last-Minute News
This weekend will be the last college football weekend in October, and you know what that means. It's time for games to start meaning a little extra and for teams to start wanting it a little bit more. Make no mistake about it, teams want to win every single game they play in. However, when November rolls around and you start getting down to the final handful of games, teams who are trying to solidify their spot in the CFP or even bowl games, for that matter, try just a little bit harder as there is far too much to lose.
We have some great games to round of October, all of which feature CFP hopefuls. For starters, No. 3 Ohio State hosts Wisconsin , while No. 2 LSU hosts No. 9 Auburn and No. 8 Notre Dame travels to Michigan for a date with No. 19 Michigan. As was this case last week with Wisconsin losing to Illinois, we should have a better indication of how the CFP will shape itself heading into the first week of November.
Here are notes for some of Saturday's games around the country, in no particular order.
Indiana Hoosiers @ Nebraska Cornhuskers (-2.5, 52): Coming into this game, you'd think it would have been Nebraska with the better season to date, but instead it's the Hoosiers, who own a 5-2 record on the season and have won two straight games. They've played some good football this season and are well on their way to a bowl game this year. Nebraska, on the other hand, had high expectations but have failed to live up to them this season. Their losses aren't the worst losses as they've lost to Colorado, Ohio State, and a really good Minnesota squad. This line opened up as Indiana -2 but has been since been through zero and now Nebraska is 2.5-point favorites . There are a lot of question marks surrounding the Hoosiers on offense as they have their starting QB listed as questionable with an undisclosed injury. The total has dropped a bit from 54 to 52. And with the QB flux in Indiana, I see this total dropping even more.
California Bears @ No. 12 Utah Utes (-21.5, 37.5): This game is one of those games where revenge is on the mind of one of these two teams. Back in 2016, the California Bears upset a very strong Utah squad 28-23 in Berkeley. Now the two teams meet again, this time in Salt Lake City, where the Utes own a 4-0 home record. The Utes are fighting for a division title as well as a potential major bowl game. They are catching the Bears at the right time as the Bears are riding a three-game losing streak, and as such the line has jumped from -18 to -21.5 in favor of the Utes. California's offense has seemingly gone missing, as they've scored 17, 7 and 17 points in the three losses, and it doesn't figure to get any easier against a Utah defense that's given up a total of 23 points in their last three games. As such, the total has been bet down from its already low opening of 40 to 37.5. Part of me still believes this is about three points too high unless Utah obliterates them and drops 40 themselves.
No. 8 Notre Dame Fighting Irish @ No. 19 Michigan Wolverines (+1, 52): I'm torn between calling this game the best game of the week or the game between Wisconsin and Ohio State. Either way, this will be a great game to watch for neutral fans. For bettors, this game is a headache to handicap based on the crazy line movement. This game opened up as Michigan -4 but as quickly been bet down and through zero to make the Wolverines one-point home dogs on their own turf. I completely understand the line movement in this one. This game means a hell of a lot more to Notre Dame (from a CFP perspective) than it does to Michigan, who is already out of the CFP and essentially out of the Big Ten race after last week's loss to Penn State. The total opened up at 53.5 but has dropped a point-and-a-half to 52, and we don't see why. Notre Dame can score points in a hurry. And while Michigan is predicated on their defense, the defense has fallen apart in their two losses, giving up 35 and 28 points, respectively. For the first time all season, Notre Dame will have all of their offensive weapons healthy and available for use. Notre Dame is the better and more complete team, so we'll side with the Fighting Irish in this one.
Miami Hurricanes @ Pittsburgh Panthers (-5.5, 43.5): To say it's been a very disappointing season for the Miami Hurricanes would be an understatement. They started the year off with a glorious chance to knock off the eighth-ranked Florida Gators but couldn't get the job done. From there they proceeded to lose three of their next six games. However, it's not about who they beat, it's about who they lost to. North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech aren't exactly the greatest teams in the world, and as such, the Hurricanes find themselves behind the eight-ball in terms of getting to six wins and a bowl game. The QB carousel has been a major part of the struggles as they have yet to find the right guy to lead them. Now they must go play a Pitt team that has won four straight and is playing some really good football. This game opened up at Pitt -2, but has been bet up to Pitt -5.5, which shows us how little faith bettors have in the once-vaunted "U". It should also be noted that the Hurricanes are delaying as long as possible to announce who will be under center to start the game. N'Kosi Perry is dealing with a shoulder injury but may be able to play through it. The total has dropped a few points from 46 to 43.5, and with good reason. Both of these defenses can be solid on their day, which makes points hard to come by.
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