Week 9 College Football Predictions & Picks: Situational Betting Spots for Saturday’s Early Games
Michael Reaves/Getty Images. Pictured: The Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team.
- Week 9 of the college football season is here, and so are Stuckey's top situational betting spots for Saturday's games.
- Stuckey's top spots for Saturday's early games include Notre Dame vs Syracuse, West Virginia vs TCU and Charlotte vs Rice.
- Check out all four of Stuckey's favorite situational spots for Saturday's early college football games below.
Week 9 NCAAF Situational Betting Spots
Every Wednesday, I share my favorite situational betting spots for this week’s college football games.
Last week, I identified nine spots that fortunately went 9-0 after going 6-1 the week prior. I have highlighted nine once again for Week 9, split into two groupings across Saturday’s slate of games:
- Noon – 2 p.m. ET (4 games)
- 3:30 – 7:30 p.m. ET (5 games)
This article focuses on the first of those two groups: Games kicking off from Noon to 2 p.m. ET.
Ultimately, the actual spread value still reigns supreme. No matter how great a situational spot appears on paper, you still have to factor in how much value the number holds. A good or bad spot may sway me one way or the other on a bet I’m on the fence for, but it’s certainly more art than science.
Hopefully, I can help you make one or two of those same tough wagering decisions while sharing some key angles, matchups and injury situations for each particular game.
Notre Dame +3 at Syracuse
I’m fading Syracuse in a potential letdown spot after a hard-fought loss at Clemson that all but ended its hopes of reaching the ACC title game.
Headed into that game in Death Valley, I still didn’t have a great read on the Orange. However, I was a bit skeptical after they barely pulled out home wins against a bad Virginia team (which went 1-for-3 on fourth down and missed both field goal attempts in a two-point loss) and a beat-up Purdue squad that had close to an 80% post-game win expectancy.
Plus, I didn’t come away too impressed after last week. Despite covering in a six-point loss, Syracuse got outgained, 450-291, in total yards but benefited from a 4-1 turnover advantage, including a fumble return for a touchdown.
Meanwhile, Notre Dame has been a tough nut to crack so far this season with very inconsistent play on a week-to-week basis. That’s to be expected for some teams with a very young roster, but the Irish have at least performed very well in three games away from South Bend:
- Hung around at Ohio State.
- Thoroughly outplayed BYU on a neutral site.
- Dominated North Carolina on the road.
From a matchup perspective, Notre Dame can lean on its ground game. Its offensive line, which ranks in the top 25 nationally in almost every run-blocking metric, should control the line of scrimmage against the Syracuse 3-3-5 that ranks outside the top 115 in the country in both Rush Success Rate and EPA per Rush.
On the other side of the ball, look for the Notre Dame pass rush to create enough negative plays on passing downs to keep the Syracuse offense in check.
The Orange should have success running it, but their offensive line struggles in pass protection and will face a Notre Dame defense that ranks 14th in Sack Rate.
Lastly, Notre Dame holds a major advantage in the penalty department. I’d also imagine the Irish will eventually get a few takeaways; they currently have the fewest in the country.
Since 2005, no team has turned a larger profit against ranked opponents than the Irish, who have gone 35-20 against the spread (63.6%) against ranked foes, including 12-3 over the past five years and 2-0 in 2022.
West Virginia +7.5 vs. TCU
This is a great buy-low spot to back the Mountaineers after a 38-point loss at Texas Tech. I also think this sets up as a prime opportunity to sell high on what I believe is an overrated TCU team compared to market perception.
I could also easily see the Frogs coming out a bit flat for a noon road kick in Morgantown with their gas tank potentially running on fumes after five straight draining contests.
After a road date with rival SMU, they faced four consecutive ranked conference opponents in Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas and Kansas State. Not only that, but they had to stage comebacks in each of the past three one-possession victories.
Meanwhile, West Virginia should have much fresher legs, having played only once since Oct. 13.
Look, West Virginia’s defense is horrendous. Don’t expect many stops against the high-flying Frogs, especially with how well Max Duggan is playing.
However, I can say the same about the TCU defense, which has benefited from quarterback injuries in each of its past four contests. The Frogs knocked out Dillon Gabriel (Oklahoma), Jalon Daniels (Kansas) and Adrian Martinez (Kansas State) in the first half. At one point, the Wildcats even had to go to their third-string quarterback, who threw an interception.
The only starting quarterback to finish a game over that stretch was Spencer Sanders, who clearly appeared limited by a shoulder injury throughout the second half. As a result, TCU’s defensive numbers look a lot rosier than they would if, for example, it didn’t get to face Davis Beville for a good chunk of the Oklahoma game.
Even with those breaks, TCU still ranks 93rd in EPA per Pass, which bodes well for the pass-heavy West Virginia aerial attack.
For what it’s worth, this also marks the exact weekend that Dykes’ teams have fallen off a cliff in each of the past three seasons.
When ranked, TCU head coach Sonny Dykes is 1-10 ATS (9.1%) on the road against an unranked conference opponent, failing to cover by 6.3 points per game on average. That makes him the least-profitable coach in this scenario out of 122 in our Action Labs database since 2005.
Miami (Ohio) -8.5 at Akron
I think you’re getting Miami (Ohio) cheap here, considering star quarterback Brett Gabbert returned from injury last week. He didn’t look great in a loss, but I’m sure he had rust to shake off.
Plus, the offense had been running a completely different scheme in his absence. Therefore, it didn’t surprise me to see the RedHawks struggle on that side of the ball in Gabbert’s first week back.
Gabbert and the entire offense should look much better this week against an absolutely horrific Akron secondary. Miami has struggled immensely in pass protection, but that’s not a major concern against an Akron defense that doesn’t put pressure on the quarterback.
On the flip side, Akron won’t be able to run the ball against a Miami defense that ranks in the top 25 nationally in both yards per carry allowed and Rush Success Rate.
Consequently, the Zips should find themselves in passing downs all afternoon, which spells trouble for an offensive line that ranks 130th in Passing Downs Sack Rate and will have to contain an aggressive RedHawk defense that makes its living by getting to opposing quarterbacks.
Akron did look feisty last week in a close loss to Kent State, but the Zips faced a backup quarterback making his first career start. I have no problem fading them here in the friendly confines, where they have almost no home-field advantage.
Since 2005, Akron has been the least profitable home underdog by a wide margin. Over that span, the Zips have gone 17-36 (32.1%) ATS, failing to cover by an average of 7.7 points per game when catching points at InfoCision Stadium.
Charlotte +17 at Rice
Just when I think I’m done with the 49ers, they pull me right back in. Feel free to skip this section unless you’re a truly committed dumpster diver with years of trauma from betting on bad teams.
I won’t spend a ton of time breaking down this game, but this is a juicy buy-low spot after Charlotte’s embarrassing home loss to lowly FIU last week. Also, this is just too many points compared to my projection.
Plus, the 49ers may receive a positive bump after firing head coach Will Healy last weekend. Not only could Healy’s departure provide a boost in locker room morale, but it also introduces an element of surprise with potential fresh looks that Rice doesn’t have on film.
We’ve seen a number of teams perform surprisingly well after firing their coaches this season. Arizona State, Georgia Tech and Colorado all pulled off major upsets, while Wisconsin beat Northwestern, 42-7, in Jim Leonhard’s head coaching debut. Nebraska was the only team to really lay an egg after letting Scott Frost go.
The Charlotte defense is a lost cause, but it does at least have the better offense in this particular matchup. Meanwhile, Rice’s defensive metrics on early downs suggest it has overperformed on that side of the ball.
The 49ers have also been a bit unlucky in a number of categories, such as turnovers and fourth-down conversions. On the season, they have converted only 8-of-23 (34.8%) fourth-down attempts, while opponents have converted 13-of-18 (72.2%).
Charlotte has gone 3-14-1 ATS (23.1%) as an underdog over the past two seasons. Only Indiana, Temple, Stanford and New Mexico have been less profitable as pups.