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2023 College Football odds: How to bet Oregon-Utah, other Week 9 picks

5 min read
2023 College Football odds: How to bet Oregon-Utah, other Week 9 picks

It’s on to Week 9 of the college football season! 

Last week, I went 2-1 on my predictions, with Penn StateOhio State under 45.5 combined points (32) and Michigan State under 10.5 points against Michigan (0) both hitting.

I’m going into this week feeling good about the best bets I have for you.

Let’s dive into my picks for Week 9.

(All times ET Saturday)

No. 6 Oklahoma @ Kansas (noon, FOX and FOX Sports App)

The Big Noon Kickoff contest is a huge matchup in the Big 12 with the undefeated Sooners traveling to play at the 5-2 Jayhawks. 

While it might be the square play, I believe wagering on Oklahoma’s offense to score points in this game is a must. The Kansas defense is 114th in points per drive and do almost nothing well.

The Jayhawks have played one comparable offense to the Sooners, and Texas scored 40 on them after starting the game super slow.

6

Oklahoma Sooners

OU

Kansas Jayhawks

KAN

Oklahoma will start fast in this game because of its performance last weekend, barely squeezing past UCF 31-29. The Sooners are seventh in points per drive and when they’ve played defenses similar to the Jayhawks, they scored 73 and 66 points. 

I don’t think Oklahoma scores that many points, but I just need over 38.5.

PICK: Oklahoma over 38.5 points

RJ Young previews Week 9, including Oregon-Utah and Oklahoma-Kansas

RJ Young previews Week 9, including Oregon-Utah and Oklahoma-Kansas

No. 8 Oregon @ No. 13 Utah (3:30 p.m., FOX and FOX Sports App)

If you are expecting a shootout in this Pac-12 Conference showdown, you’re going to be disappointed. 

This game will feature two teams that run the ball and play excellent defense. It’s going to be a game defined by who makes the fewest mistakes and if the Utes’ mounting injury concerns finally cost them a game.

The Ducks lead the country in points per drive, third-down success rate and rushing success rate, seventh in passing success rate and so on. It’s an outstanding offense in the open field that has struggled at times in short yardage and in the red zone, two areas of the field that tend to be worse on the road. 

Utah’s defense is 10th in points per drive, seventh in third-down success rate and has Jonah Elliss (second in the country with 10 sacks). However, the defense has an explosive play rate ranked 97th and, outside of Elliss, lacks much of a pass rush or a push with its interior defensive line. 

It would seem that Oregon’s offense should have some success but being poor in short yardage and in the red zone are two areas that would slow down this offense. The Ducks also are 132nd in air yards per attempt, which means they do not push the ball down the field. That plays into the hands of Utah’s defense. 

There’s also Bo Nix, Oregon’s quarterback who is not as good on the road. He’s jittery in the pocket and plays with caution to avoid mistakes. Both of those things play into the favor of Utah’s defense.

8

Oregon Ducks

ORE

13

Utah Utes

UTAH

On the other side of the ball, I think Utah will have a difficult time moving the ball. The Utes are one-dimensional on offense, and that’s probably being slightly nice to their overall offensive picture. 

The Utes are ranked 120th with only 77 plays over 10 yards this season. Their first five games were spent grinding out yards and points as they flip-flopped between quarterbacks and had unfortunate injuries to their running backs. 

Utah had only 15 explosive offensive plays in those five games, which included a contest against Weber State. In the Utes’ last two games, which came after the bye and a switch back to Bryson Barnes at quarterback, they’ve had 14 explosive plays (10 rushing, four passing). 

It’s fair to point out Cal and USC were the two worst defenses Utah has faced; however, bye week changes have helped the offense look more competent.

Utah moving starting safety Sione Vaki to running back has been a revelation. He’s rushed 25 times for 232 yards, has six receptions for 144 yards with four total touchdowns. With Vaki running the ball, Barnes has played a tad better, being more efficient with his passing. However, being a one-trick pony against Oregon’s defense is not going to cut it.

The Ducks have the best and deepest defensive line in the conference. They’ve been able to wreak havoc, both against the run and by hitting the quarterback. If the Utes are going to rely on their ground game, which is expected, the Ducks will be ready. Utah is not going to score much and I believe Oregon won’t either.

It’s worth noting that the Ducks’ poor kicking situations could lead itself to the Under. Oregon’s Camden Lewis is 50% in his last three games and is bound to miss a field goal or two in this game. It could also lead to Oregon attempting more fourth downs where it has been less successful against a defense like Utah. I’m taking the Under.

Lastly, for the record I would wager on Utah +7 and be done with it. A Kyle Whittingham team as a home underdog? Sign me up. Utah has not lost a conference game at home since 2018, and it has beaten top-10 Oregon and USC in that span. However, as an Oregon fan, it’s odd to root for your favorite team to win but only by a certain number of points. So that is why the Under is my only play here.

PICK: Under 48 points scored by both teams combined

No. 5 Washington @ Stanford (7 p.m., FS1 and FOX Sports App)

The Huskies escaped with a 15-7 victory over Arizona State without scoring an offensive touchdown. An outstanding defensive performance, including an 89-yard pick-six, was the reason Washington escaped with a victory. I do not expect the same offensive performance this weekend on the Farm.

The Huskies offense is still one of the best in the country, and it should have its way against the Cardinal. Washington’s offense will bounce back because the Stanford defense can’t do anything to stop it. 

5

Washington Huskies

WASH

Stanford Cardinal

STAN

The Cardinal doesn’t get to the quarterback, doesn’t force turnovers and is 130th in points per drive. The Huskies will learn from last weekend and get back to scoring points.

On the flip side, Stanford has struggled to move the ball against a decent defense: six points against Oregon, seven against UCLA. Washington’s defense is more than capable to have the same result.

The combined score of the three games Stanford played against ranked opponents this season is 140-23 and the same is going to happen this weekend. Washington is going to win by at least four touchdowns.

PICK: Washington (-26.5) to win by more than 26.5 points

Geoff Schwartz is an NFL analyst for FOX Sports. He played eight seasons in the NFL for five different teams. He started at right tackle for the University of Oregon for three seasons and was a second-team All-Pac-12 selection his senior year. Follow him on Twitter @GeoffSchwartz.



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