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CFB Week 9 best bets: Should you back Buckeyes, Vols as big favorites?

Jackson Smith-Njigba

The college football season has moved past the midway point of the schedule, but we have a few marquee in-conference matchups left before we turn the calendar to November. Among these games we’ll see No. 2 Ohio St take on No.13 Penn St in the Big Ten, No. 9 Oklahoma St battle No. 22 Kansas St in a Big 12 matchup, while in the SEC No. 3 Tennessee plays host to No. 19 Kentucky. These three games are the primary focus of the weekend and we dive into two of them below with some best bets for this Week 9 college football slate.

For more bets this weekend, see who Parker Fleming (@statsowar) is taking with his top-three plays of the week on the latest edition of Parker's Previews:

Ohio St @ Penn St (+14.5, 60.5)

A 14.5-point spread between two top-15 teams most definitely jumps off the page. This Big Ten rivalry kicks off Saturday’s slate with a Noon ET kickoff from Beaver Stadium. The Nittany Lions have covered five of their last six against the Buckeyes, but can we trust Sean Clifford and this Penn St offense to keep up with Heisman hopeful C.J. Stroud? If you believe Ohio St covers and runs away with it, the game probably goes over the total, but for Penn St to keep it a game and stay inside the number, this has under written all over it.

Ohio St is 4-2-1 ATS this season while Penn St is 4-3. Ohio St is the No. 2 ranked team for a reason. The Buckeyes lead the country in yards per play and are currently second in points per game, which will ultimately be too much for Penn St to handle. Do I expect a lot of people to bite on the Nittany Lions getting more than a two-touchdown spread at home? Absolutely. Vegas is telling me Ohio St is the far superior team in this ranked vs. ranked matchup and setting the line at 14.5 leads be to believe we could see Ohio St win by three-plus touchdowns. I think the Buckeyes get to 40 points, while in no way can I envision Sean Clifford putting up over 24. For that reason, lay the points with the Buckeyes.

Bet: Ohio St -14.5 (-110) DraftKings

Kentucky @ Tennessee (-12.5, 61.5)

Heading to the SEC we have a great matchup scheduled for 7:30 PM ET at Neyland Stadium. I’m sure images of Neyland Stadium are still fresh in everyone’s mind after the goal posts were dragged out in celebration of Tennessee beating Alabama two weeks ago. Well, that celebration was all fine and dandy, but Kentucky is now on tap while a date with Georgia looms next week. Can we say look-ahead spot? I rarely make bets with an influence of who the team’s opponent is the following week, but you cannot tell me this Volunteers team isn’t already looking forward to their matchup in Athens with a chance to beat the No. 1 ranked Bulldogs. 

Look-ahead spot or not, Kentucky actually matches up well with Tennessee. Even if Twitter is telling you the volunteers are going to win by 1000 because they’re wearing black uniforms, the Wildcats are getting disrespected in this spot. Kentucky +12.5 was the first bet I locked in this week and as we inch closer to game time, I’m considering a moneyline sprinkle as well. Tennessee is getting all the attention and rightfully so, but when you think about the program’s history, is this not the perfect spot for them to implode? 

Kentucky is 3-1 straight up and 4-0 ATS in their last four games as an underdog. If the Wildcats can play their brand of football and use a similar game plan which has led them to other upsets this season, I like their chances. That plan revolves around controlling the clock with their running game and forcing timely stops on defense. Obviously getting those stops will be tough against the country’s best scoring offense on the road, but I have faith in this defensive unit. Give me Will Levis and Chris Rodriguez to do enough offensively to hang around and if they are opportunistic on defense, the storm may be just right to pull off the upset.

Bet: Kentucky +12.5 (-105) BetMGM