NCAAF Week 9 ATS Hit List: Time to Tighten Up
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So far this season, we've been staying on the positive side of the ledger by sticking with our strategy of favoring favorites each week in the college football schedule.
Overall, we're 35-26-1 (57.4%) ATS, and if we're afforded the luxury of tossing out thost horrid Week 2 results, that improves to 33-19 (63.5%).
It just took us a while to warm up.
At this point, not only does the familiarity that conference teams have with each other weigh into our considerations ...
The fact that most of those players actually know each other can be an intangible worth considering.
Sportsbooks, of course, have adjusted accordingly. So will we.
There are still games where ATS favorites look too good to pass up, but we're going to start taking a harder look at dogs in the hunt this week and see where it goes.
As always, we make our suggestions based on the early-week opening lines. If you feel inclined to agree with us in anything on this list, remember to check their current status before making your decision.
Thu 24 Oct
Southern Methodist at Houston +13½
SMU is for real. Sounds sort of crazy, because they haven’t been for real since Eric Dickerson and Craig James made up the best pair of running backs in college football.
That was the 1980’s, just in case you were wondering. This Mustang team doesn’t rely on their rushers. Instead, they score points at will. Maybe the Cougars won’t keep up, but as a double-digit in-conference home dog, they've still got enough weapons to keep it close.
Result: SMU 34 Houston 31 ... Cougars cover
Sat 26 Oct
Oklahoma at Kansas State +19½
Oklahoma is one of the best teams in college football. Kansas State is awfully tough in Manhattan, though.
Result: Kansas State 48 Oklahoma 41 ... Wildcats cover
Mississippi State at Texas A&M -9
Jimbo’s crew is less bad. Look for them to get an easy victory against a worse team.
Result: Texas A&M 49 Mississippi State 30 ... Aggies cover
Illinois +9 at Purdue
The Illini played like the Chicago Bears instead of one of the worst teams in the Big Ten last Saturday. They upset the Wisconsin Badgers straight up on the moneyline as a 30+ point home dog. How crazy is that?
Maybe this is what Lovie Smith needs to make his team believe they can get bowl-eligible. Purdue isn't exactly lighting it up this season, so look for Illinois to give the Boilermakers all they can handle and cover, if not win outright.
Result: Illinois 24 Purdue 6 ... Illini cover
Auburn at LSU -12½
This clash of Tigers is often a tight matchup that comes down to the final couple of minutes. Not this season.
Result: LSU 23 Auburn 20 ... Auburn covers
Penn State -7 at Michigan State
Sparty is not having the best of seasons, losing by a combined score of 72-10 in the last couple of games. Dudes clearly can’t score. Now, they can’t stop their opponents from scoring.
Michigan State's had two weeks to prepare for this one. Won't matter. Nittany Lions ought to have a field day. Penn State to cruise.
Result: Penn State 28 Michigan State 7 ... Nittany Lions cover
Oklahoma State at Iowa State -7
What’s up with the State teams in Michigan and Oklahoma? The Michigan State Spartans are terrible. The Oklahoma State Cowboys are terrible. The State team in Iowa isn’t terrible, though.
Result: Oklahoma State 34 Iowa State 27 ... Cowboys cover
South Carolina -4½ at Tennessee
South Carolina sure played Florida tough in Week 8. The reason that’s important is that the Gamecocks gave the Gators all they could handle after upsetting the Georgia Bulldogs on the road.
If dudes didn’t have a letdown against Florida, they sure won’t have a letdown against one of the worst teams in the nation. Yep, not just the SEC. The Vols are one of the worst teams in the nation. Cocks cover.
Result: Tennessee 41 South Carolina 21 ... Volunteers cover
Washington State at Oregon -15½
The Ducks got past their most important rivals this season, the Washington Huskies, in Week 8. Expect them to run roughshod over the rest of the Pac 12. They're a legit College Football Playoff contender.
Result: Oregon 37 Washington State 35 ... Cougars cover
Sportbet Columnist: Josh Bailey ... Today: 5-4
Aspiring to become the Mark Twain of sportswriting, Josh has been labelled as the up-&-coming sportswriter of the year by absolutely nobody and the new heavy hitter in sports handicapping by his mother.