Thank goodness it’s Friday and another massive Saturday of college football betting is almost here. We get the weekend started right, with our best picks and predictions for the NCAA football Week 9 odds - from sides and totals to player and team props – including Friday night’s Pac-12 battle between Southern Cal and Colorado.
NO RB? NO PROBLEM
The USC Trojans could be down to their fourth-string running back for Friday's encounter with the host Colorado Buffaloes – and it might not matter much.
Kenan Christon is in position to start in the Trojans' backfield following injuries to the top three guys on the depth chart (Vavae Malepeai, Markese Stepp, Stephen Carr). But that won't be the focus of the USC offense – not with quarterback Kedon Slovis having thrown multiple touchdown passes in four of his past five games and the Buffaloes allowing the second-most passing yards per game (316.0) in the entire country.
With Slovis and the Trojans armed with one of the top receiving trio in the Pac-12 and expected to exploit Colorado's disastrous secondary, look for the points to come in waves. We like the visitors to surpass their team total.
TATE STILL STARTS
The Arizona Wildcats might ultimately make a change at starting quarterback, but it won't be this week. Khalil Tate will get the call for Saturday's game against the host Stanford Cardinal despite struggling in last week's 41-14 drubbing at the hands of USC.
Tate has had an up-and-down season with the Wildcats, completing just under 65 percent of his pass attempts for 1,323 yards with 10 touchdowns and six interceptions. It doesn't help that Arizona has allowed 18 sacks on the season (T-93rd in FBS), with 11 of those coming just in the previous two games.
Between Tate and the Arizona offensive line not performing up to standards and Stanford potentially starting three freshman o-linemen (and their No. 3 quarterback in Jake West), points could be at a premium here. We favor the Under 52.
Texas Longhorns quarterback Sam Ehlinger might have one fewer weapon at his disposal for Saturday's pivotal encounter with rival Texas Tech.
Wide receiver Brennan Eagles has reportedly missed several practices this week due to personal reasons and is considered questionable to play versus the Red Raiders Saturday. Eagles' absence would be a major blow for the Texas offense, with the sophomore wideout ranking second on the Longhorns in receiving yards (367) and touchdowns (five). He's coming off a six-catch, 76-yard, one-touchdown performance in last week's wild 50-48 win over Kansas.
We’re already wary about Ehlinger and the Texas offense against a Red Raiders team ranked in the Top 20 in both pass and rush defense. But with Eagles likely out, we're even more confident in the home team cover.
THANKS FOR THE MONEY!
It's normal for an independent college football team to be paid to face a more prominent program. But this week, Liberty is actually favored against the school that paid it to show up.
Rutgers is a 7-point underdog for Saturday's encounter with a visiting Flames team that was paid $1 million by the Scarlet Knights to participate. And, as unfathomable as that is, it's an all-too-familiar theme for Rutgers fans. The Scarlet Knights paid the Buffalo Bulls $900,000 for a "guarantee game" last season, went in as 6-point underdogs and promptly laid an egg en route to a 42-13 defeat.
Rutgers' 129th-ranked offense should be no match for a Liberty defense ranked just outside the Top 50 in points allowed while boasting the No. 9 red-zone defense. We're leaning toward the Under on the Scarlet Knights' team total.