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Top College Football Week 9 Opening Lines and Picks

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Top College Football Week 9 Opening Lines and Picks
Aidan Hutchinson #97 of the Michigan Wolverines. Photo by Gregory Shamus / Getty Images via AFP.

This article is outdated. Check out our college football week 10 opening lines and picks article here.

It’s the last Saturday of October and it features a huge slate of college football matchups. Take a look at some of the most interesting moves on the opening line.

Let’s be honest, last week’s college football odds left much to be desired. This week will more than make up for that with a plethora of games to whet the appetite of football bettors everywhere. Let’s get ready for the feast by looking at early line moves and our top picks (Odds courtesy of Circa; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Michigan vs. Michigan State Opening Line and Pick

Date/Time: Saturday, October 30, 12 p.m. ET
TV: FOX
Location: Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MI

Opening Line: Michigan -3

Though there have been a number of heated games in this battle of the Wolverine State, Saturday’s could be among the best. In the 114-game rivalry, this is the first time both clubs are unbeaten at 7-0 or better. Of late, the matchup couldn’t be much tighter, as Michigan holds an 11-10 lead since the turn of the century.

The Wolverines opened as field-goal favorites on the road, but the line has since moved to -4.5.

Coaching has changed the fortunes of both teams, with Jim Harbaugh bringing in younger, more aggressive assistants to Ann Arbor and Mel Tucker getting a buy-in from his players in East Lansing.

Both offenses feature strong running games, but Michigan State is the better passing club, averaging 251 yards per game to Michigan’s 189.

Defensively, Michigan ranks second in the country in points allowed while Michigan State sits 21st. The Wolverines are 11th in total defense and the Spartans rank 89th. I expect Michigan to shift the field position in its favor for the win and cover.

PICK: Michigan -4.5 (-110) ★★★★

SEE ALSO: 4 NFL Week 8 Opening Lines and Picks

Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma Opening Line and Pick

Date/Time: Saturday, October 30, 3:30 p.m. ET
TV: ABC
Location: Memorial Stadium, Norman, OK

Opening Line: Oklahoma -20

Oklahoma might be 8-0, but if the leaders of the Big 12 would face Georgia, Alabama, or Ohio State in the College Football Playoff, oddsmakers would likely have them as double-digit underdogs.

If you discount the Sooners’ 76-0 win against Western Carolina, their average margin of victory is a mere 8.7 points per game, hardly championship material. This explains them tumbling from -20 favorites to -17.5 versus Texas Tech. (Note: Tuesday morning the line moved back upward.)

Since figuring out the run game in their past three contests (263 YPG) the Sooners should be able to move the ball on the Red Raiders. And with a bye next week, expect a complete effort from Oklahoma.

Against big, physical offensive lines, Texas Tech allowed 336 yards on the ground to Texas and 394 rushing yards to TCU.

Covering the spread won’t be a walkover for the Sooners, they will just wear out the Red Raiders, whose head coach was fired Monday.

PICK: Oklahoma -19.5 (-110) ★★

Kentucky vs. Mississippi State Opening Line and Pick

Date/Time: Saturday, October 30, 7 p.m. ET
TV: SEC Network
Location: Davis Wade Stadium, Starkville, MS

Opening Line: Kentucky +1

Many may not realize that these two SEC clubs are ranked in the Top 30 in total defense entering the weekend. That could lead to the trading of a great deal of helmet paint.

Kentucky prefers to run the pigskin and blend in the pass, while Mississippi State utilizes the run as window-dressing for its No. 4-ranked pass offense.

Look for this conference matchup to come down to turnovers in a low-scoring affair. The Wildcats have only one miscue in their past three games, while the Bulldogs have at least two turnovers in three of their past four contests. Cowbells or not, that will be the determining factor in favor of Kentucky.

PICK: Kentucky -1.5 (-110) ★★

Penn State vs. Ohio State Opening Line and Pick

Date/Time: Saturday, October 30, 7:30 p.m. ET
TV: ABC
Location: Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH

Opening Line: Ohio State -16.5

This is supposed to be an important game in the Big Ten and nationally, yet the point spread says otherwise with Ohio State an ever-growing home favorite.

While we are sure Penn State will play better than in its upset loss to Illinois, there are concerning signs. The Nittany Lions were gouged for 357 rushing yards by the Illini and they are far from completely healthy upfront on defense. This could be problematic on the road even with more effort.

Additionally, Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford is beat up and his team has rushed for under 100 yards four times in seven games. It’s a given that Buckeyes coach Ryan Day will bring the heat on the pass rush and Ohio State has surrendered only 72.8 YPG on the ground in their past five tries.

With Ohio State 10-2 against the spread after two straight wins by 21 or more points, look for the Buckeyes to sap the energy out of Penn State to cover.

PICK: Ohio State -18.5 (-110) ★★★

Picks made on 10/26/2021 at 10:24 a.m. ET