College Football Best Bets for Week 9 (Oklahoma State Continues Run to Big 12 Championship)

Oklahoma State's quarterback Spencer Sanders (3) throws the ball against Texas Tech in a Big 12
Oklahoma State's quarterback Spencer Sanders (3) throws the ball against Texas Tech in a Big 12 / Annie Rice/Avalanche-Journal / USA TODAY

Another Saturday, another full slate of college football for you to sit down enjoy.

There are some pivotal conference games going down during Week 9 that could serve as elimination games in certain title races. Teams like Oklahoma State and Kansas State will hope to stay in good standing amongst their Big 12 foes in the chase for a championship game berth. The same could be said for UCF-Cincinnati and Ohio State-Penn State in other headline matchups.

Here are our best bets for these three massive games during Week 9 action.

Ohio State vs Penn State Prediction and Pick

I think Ohio State is far superior in this matchup, but I'm not interested in laying north of two touchdowns on the Buckeyes, but I'd rather focus on the team's defense. The Buckeyes are top five nationally in yards per play allowed and should overwhelm sixth year quarterback Sean Clifford.

I believe that Nittany Lions head coach knows that Clifford can't out-duel Stroud and the Ohio State offense that is first in yards per play, and he is going to opt to keep this game on the ground and take the air out of the ball. Franklin is going to try and limit possessions for the Buckeyes offense and potential mistakes for Clifford to make.

Penn State's strength on defense is in the secondary, top 20 in EPA/Play in the passing game, and they thrive when their backs are against the wall, top five in the country in red zone touchdown allowed percentage. The Nittany Lions have been great at forcing field goals when team's get inside the 20.

I don't trust the Penn State offense to put up points, but I believe their defense can keep a lid on the OSU offense to a certain extent. It's worth noting that Ohio State is 103rd in plays per minute this season, so this clock can be moving throughout.

The Buckeyes will pull away late, but it won't be a high scoring affair. -- Reed Wallach


Oklahoma State vs. Kansas State Prediction and Pick

This Oklahoma State team is right back to Mike Gundy’s old ways.

Last year they built up a very strong defense that nearly carried them to a Big 12 title and playoff appearance. This year, however, it's all offense.

The Cowboys, led by Spencer Sanders, have the fourth-ranked offense in points per game in the country. Sanders has thrown 15 touchdowns to four interceptions, 2,030 yards, and has run for 358 yards and eight more touchdowns. The concern is that he only completes 58.8% of his passes, but when you have 57 attempts like last week against Texas, you can still complete 34 of them for 391 yards. 

The defense for Oklahoma State is 86th in points per game and 117 in terms of yards allowed per game. Their passing defense is 127th out of the 131 teams in the country. Luckily for them, Kansas State relies primarily on their 11th ranked rushing offense for their yards. Deuce Vaughn is a focal point for this team offensively while Adrian Martinez has already eclipsed his rushing total from each of his last two years at Nebraska with 565 yards on the ground. Through the air he hasn’t even thrown for 1,000 yards yet this season to go along with only four passing touchdowns. 

Somebody is going to really exploit this Oklahoma State secondary the way that Max Duggan and TCU did, but it’s not going to be Kansas State. No matter who plays quarterback for K-State, they will have to run the ball. While Oklahoma State’s run defense is not good, it's far better than their secondary.

I’d expect a shootout and a Cowboys win, I’ll be on both the over and Oklahoma State. -- Josh Yourish

PICK: Over 56.5 (-110) and Oklahoma State +110 (Best Parlay Odds: +301)

Cincinnati vs. UCF Prediction and Pick

Cincinnati continues to win, but they’re doing it close to inferior teams in their conference. Rarely do you find a team that is 6-1 and in the top 20 with this bad of a record against the spread. Their defense is no longer dominant like they were a year ago. They are still No. 17 in the country in yards per game, but that is a far cry from top five and their offense has fallen off without Desmond Ridder. This Ben Bryant led attack is 45th in the country in total offense. 

UCF’s John Rhys Plumlee led unit is actually No. 6 in total offense. Last week, they couldn't get the run game going and JRP threw three interceptions against ECU. It was a bizarre performance and I wouldn’t expect a repeat of it this week. The dual threat Ole Miss transfer leads the Knights in passing and rushing yards, he is their entire offense and he’s been so good this year that I’m willing to write off that ECU disaster. 

I’ve been fading Cincinnati and it feels like they have been doing everything that they can to lose games. A four point win over 1-5 USF and a two point win over 3-3 SMU. UCF is better than both of those teams and I’ll take the Knights. -- Josh Yourish

Pick: UCF -110

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.