CFB Week 9 Picks: Take Penn State To Cover Against Ohio State

For Halloween weekend, I am dressing up as a money line.

Week 9 of the College Football season has numerous short money line spots that I'm in love and that is just how the board fell in my favor this week.

The Ohio State-Penn State game will have all of our attention early on Saturday afternoon, and while I can't bet Penn State on the money line, I can trust the Nittany Lions as a 14.5-point underdog because of their recent history against Ohio State.

Other money line underdogs, like Baylor, Notre Dame and Coastal Carolina, are more trustworthy in my eyes because of their respective matchups.

Ohio State at Penn State (+14.5) (Noon ET, Fox)

I am begrudgingly betting on Penn State.

The Nittany Lions are on a five-game losing streak against Ohio State, but all of those games have been close.

Penn State's biggest loss in that span is 13 points. The Nittany Lions may not win, but they can cover because of their impressive defensive backs. The Marvin Harrison Jr. versus Joey Porter Jr. matchup will be one of the best individual matchups you will see all season.

Penn State is strong in the secondary and I think that helps it hang with the Buckeyes. Plus the Nittany Lions are probably motivated to not lose in blowout fashion after the Michigan defeat.

Notre Dame (+100) at Syracuse (Noon ET, ABC)

This is solely a spot play against Syracuse.

The Orange put so much energy into last week's loss against Clemson and they are due for a let down against a Notre Dame team that has been solid for the most part in the last month.

The Fighting Irish put up 45 points on UNC and beat BYU in Las Vegas during that stretch to prove they are a decent squad.

Oklahoma (-1.5) at Iowa State (Noon ET, FS1)

I'm aware that I could be falling into a trap here with Oklahoma as a short favorite in Ames.

Iowa State has not won a Big 12 game yet this season. The Cyclones have been close with four one-possession losses, but that trend does not scare me with a short line.

Oklahoma won normally reside in a shaky spot going into Ames, but it has a heightened sense of urgency now at 1-3 in the Big 12.

Boston College at UConn (Over 44) (Noon ET, CBSSN)

Water finds its level game.

Boston College has not lived up to expectations in the ACC, but it certainly can produce points against UConn in what could be a sneaky-good local rivalry game.

This feels like a game in which Phil Jurkovec and Zay Flowers release some frustration with a big day for BC. I think BC wins the game, but UConn keeps it a bit snug with a few scores of its own to hit the over.

Miami (FL) at Virginia (+125) (12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN3)

At this point, I'm committed to the bit with Virginia.

The Cavaliers produced a decent road win over Georgia Tech last week and they play Miami with a backup quarterback at home on Saturday.

This is more of a Miami fade with how awful the 'Canes have been, but I'm also committed to betting Virginia each week because I hate myself.

Oklahoma State (+105) at Kansas State (3:30 p.m. ET, Fox)

Oklahoma State proved it could bounce back from a loss by beating Texas last week.

If you take out a bad fourth quarter against TCU, Oklahoma State is the clear-cut favorite in the Big 12.

Kansas State listed Adrian Martinez as questionable, and if he is not at 100 percent, that could affect the Wildcats' offense against the OK State defense.

Illinois (-7.5) at Nebraska (Under 50) (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)

Illinois is the better team in its matchup with Nebraska.

If you believe that, like I do, the play is the under. Illinois held its last five opponents to 14 points or fewer and its offense methodically kills opponents.

A spread bet on Illinois makes sense with the under. The Illini won four of their last five games by double figures with their effective offense and stout defense.

Northwestern at Iowa (-11.5) (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

Northwestern stinks and Iowa isn't all that terrible.

The Hawkeyes' offense is still nowhere close to where it needs to be to contend in the Big Ten West, but their defense keeps showing up on a weekly basis.

Iowa gives up 16.1 points per game and that unit can control the game against a Northwestern offense that scored four touchdowns in a three-week span before it lost to Maryland with 24 points last week.

Iowa won't make it pretty getting to the two-touchdown cover, but it will get there because of its defense.

Coastal Carolina (+110) at Marshall (7 p.m. ET, NFL Network)

Don't buy into Marshall's stock because The Herd beat James Madison last week.

JMU announced a quarterback injury before kickoff and Marshall benefited from the Dukes' offensive incompetence.

Coastal Carolina has had a 28-point loss to Old Dominion fester during the bye week. I expect the Chanticleers to come out of the gates with a ton of power on offense.

Marshall can't keep up with the Chants in a shootout and that's the type of game the Chants will make it.

Baylor (+105) at Texas Tech (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

Texas Tech is building something nice under Joey McGuire, but it is not there yet to compete with the top teams in the Big 12.

The Red Raiders lost by a combined 19 points to Oklahoma State and Kansas State. They needed overtime and some help from Texas' own incompetence to beat the Longhorns at home.

Baylor already won on the road in a similar environment at Iowa State a few weeks ago and it needs a win to try and hang around in the Big 12 title game conversation.

Pittsburgh at North Carolina (-3) (8 p.m. ET, ACC Network)

North Carolina has a penchant for playing in close games, so the three-point line is perfect for the Heels against Pittsburgh.

UNC averages over 10 more points per game with its Drake Maye-led offense compared to Pittsburgh, who struggled on the road last week against Louisville with just 10 points.

UNC put up at least 30 points in all but one of its games, and if that trend is followed, Pittsburgh has no path to victory. Maye holds the advantage at quarterback and that will be the difference-maker in Chapel Hill.

Middle Tennessee at UTEP (-2.5) (9 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Middle Tennessee has not performed well against the class of Conference USA.

The Blue Raiders suffered defeats to Western Kentucky, UAB and UTSA and now they have to visit UTEP at the end of a horrendous schedule.

UTEP is 3-1 at home with all three wins coming by three or more points. I trust the Miners to add to that total and send the Blue Raiders home at 0-4 in the conference.

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