Lines are out for Week 9 of the 2017 college football season, which means it’s the perfect time to get a jump on analyzing how oddsmakers view some critical matchups that could shape the College Football Playoff race. Let’s break down the games to keep an eye on, ones to avoid and some other interesting tidbits.
Lines you need to know
No. 2 Penn State at No. 6 Ohio State (-7): The Nittany Lions are rewarded for their big win against Michigan with their toughest test to date. Even though this game is in Columbus, this line seems a little large, so don’t be surprised if it shrinks some as the week progresses. This game should greatly shape the Big Ten East title race, so there’s a lot riding on it.
No. 14 NC State at No. 9 Notre Dame (-7.5): The Fighting Irish were impressive in their dismantling of USC in Week 8, but the schedule really starts to pick up here. The Wolfpack have one of the best defensive lines Notre Dame’s offense will see all season. The last time Notre Dame faced an elite defense, it racked up a whopping 1.5 yards per carry in a loss to Georgia.
No. 3 Georgia (-14) vs. Florida: Speaking of the Bulldogs, the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party has had a leaning toward the weird in recent years. Rivalry games are like that sometimes. In this instance, though, Georgia is on a tear and Florida is in the dumps. A win here and the Bulldogs would be one step closer to an SEC East title.
No. 4 TCU (-7) at No. 25 Iowa State: Yes, TCU is traveling to face a ranked Iowa State team. This marks the first time the Cyclones have been ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 since 2005. Iowa State was also a touchdown dog on the road against Texas Tech in Week 8, but by the looks of the 31-13 win, the Red Raiders should have been the underdog. Are the Cyclones a good story or just plain good? We’ll find out by this time next week.
No. 21 USC (-3.5) at Arizona State: Suddenly, it’s the Trojans who have problems and the Sun Devils who are living their best life. Just like everyone expected, right? This #Pac12AfterDark main stage event has serious South Division implications, too, as a win would put Arizona State atop the standings.
Consider staying away
No. 11 Oklahoma State (-6) at No. 22 West Virginia: The Mountaineers have been all over the place the past two weeks. They needed a major comeback to win (and cover) against Texas Tech, then gave up 23 unanswered fourth-quarter points to Baylor on Saturday so the Bears could cover. West Virginia is an exciting team to watch so long as you’re not actually rooting for it, otherwise it will age you terribly. Who knows which way this one will go.
No. 8 Miami (-20.5) at North Carolina: Chances are you are on North Carolina’s injured list. Also, the Tar Heels are brutally bad (1-7) against the spread. Still, I don’t know if I would trust Miami to cover by three full touchdowns against the London Silly Nannies, let alone a real college football team.
Georgia Tech at No. 7 Clemson: There’s no line for this game yet, likely due to the unknown status involving Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant. The Tigers are coming off a bye week, but it’s still not clear if Bryant will be ready to go. Plus it’s Georgia Tech. When the line does come out, whenever that is, take a hard pass.
Best of the rest
- No. 20 Stanford (-21) at Oregon State
- No. 5 Wisconsin (-24.5) at Illinois
- Rutgers at Michigan (-23.5)
- UCLA at No. 12 Washington (-17.5)
- Houston at No. 17 South Florida (-10.5)
- Mississippi State at Texas A&M (-2)
- Duke at No. 13 Virginia Tech (-16)
- Nebraska at Purdue (-6)
- Texas Tech at No. 10 Oklahoma (-19.5)
- No. 15 Washington State (-2.5) at Arizona