Wilson: Early College Football Betting Pick for Week 9
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Mason Fine
Plenty of folks were left scratching their heads on Sunday at the sight of a few Week 9 college football opening spreads. Texas opened as an underdog to TCU at Circa Sportsbook, while Ohio State is favored by more than two touchdowns against Wisconsin.
Per the Action Network’s power ratings, the Buckeyes deserve to be that big of a favorite, but the market is off-base on its assessment of the Longhorns.
As I always do on Sundays, I used our power ratings to bet a few openers, including one game I’ll detail more below.
This has been an evolving process this season, as Vegas-based Circa Sportsbook has posted spreads before any other book. But I’m a firm believer that you can find some numbers with value right off the bat if you’re using success rate and explosiveness for that backbone of making your wagers.
Week 9 will feature 10 teams in the AP Top 25 on the road. Of those 10 teams, Notre Dame, Texas and Arizona State are favored by a field goal or less at the time of writing.
Let’s take a look at one of my favorite early bets of the week. Stay tuned for much more betting coverage in the run-up to Saturday.
All odds as of Sunday evening. Check out PointsBet, where Action Network users get an exclusive 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).
College Football Games I Bet Early and Projected Spreads
Note: A negative number indicates the home team is favored by that many points; inverse for a positive number.
North Texas at Charlotte (+3.5)
3:30 p.m. ET
Seth Littrell made turned down the opportunity to coach Kansas State in December, instead choosing to stay at North Texas. Senior quarterback Mason Fine also returned for a Mean Green season that has not worked out exactly as planned. North Texas’ 3-4 record has bit of luck attached, after beating Middle Tennessee in the final seconds on Saturday.
— Conference USA (@ConferenceUSA) October 19, 2019
It starts with a defense that has been one of the worst in the nation. Specifically on the ground, the Mean Green defense ranks outside the top 100 in opponent rush yards per attempt and rushing touchdowns. North Texas’ opponents have scored on 92% of their red zone possessions (115th in the nation).
The 49ers, meanwhile, are an easy team to handicap: Their run game is excellent … and subpar pretty much everywhere else. Specifically, Charlotte ranks seventh in the nation in rush explosiveness per CollegeFootballData.
That makes the 49ers a terrific matchup for North Texas, which is 130th in opponent rushing explosiveness. Charlotte should have ample opportunity to break off some big gains on the ground.
Charlotte boasts a good enough pass defense to handle Mason Fine, and the 49ers are also top 15 in red zone points per attempt and defensive sacks. Our Action Network projections make this game North Texas -1.5. I like investing in Charlotte any number that’s pick’em or better.
The Pick: Charlotte +3.5