What a turnaround it’s been over the past two weeks. After a terrible start to 2023, we’ve gone 8-1 and 7-3 in Weeks 7 and 8. This means we are now 34-34 on the season. That’s right - we’ve reached .500. Can we improve from here and finish the season positive? Let’s dive into the odds* presented by our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook. This blog doesn’t constitute financial advice.
Liberty -5.5 at Western Kentucky
Liberty looks like a no-brainer pick to win Conference USA and I think their run of conference dominance continues tonight against Western Kentucky. This game always represented the de fact CUSA championship to me but with Jacksonville State’s victory over the Hilltoppers, I think Liberty likely costs from here on out. The Flames have already defeated Jacksonville State and New Mexico State - the teams who currently sit in second and third in the conference. I like Liberty to win by a touchdown on the road against WKU.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This was written before Tuesday’s contest, but due to an outage the article was not able to be published until Wednesday. That said, we have no integrity so we’re absolutely counting it for the record this week anyway.
Oklahoma at Kansas +10
After a big emotional win against Texas, it isn’t a huge surprise that the Sooners suffered a bit of a scare against UCF. Unfortunately for Oklahoma, I think they are in for more of the same on the road against the Jayhawks. Though starting QB Jalon Daniels still looks doubtful to play, I like Kansas to give OU a bit of a scare. Especially since this game takes place in Lawrence.
Houston at Kansas State Under 60
Kansas State showed against TCU that they are still capable of playing high-level defense - especially when at home in Manhattan. Though Houston has improved the last couple of weeks and possesses a potent offense, I don’t see the Coogs turning this one into a shootout. I like the under here.
Mississippi State at Auburn Under 43.5
Auburn’s 21 points against Ole Miss mark the most the Tigers have scored in SEC competition in 2023. The only games in which the Tigers eclipsed that mark were contests against UMass and Samford. Meanwhile, Mississippi State just won a game in which neither team scored double-digit points. Hammer the under.
Oregon at Utah Over 48
Utah possesses an extremely talented defense and remains without starting QB Cam Rising. However, that didn’t stop Kyle Whittingham’s squad from knocking off USC last week in a high-scoring affair. I don’t think we’ll see exactly the same scenario as Oregon is capable of playing defense but I’m expecting enough points to get us over the threshold of the over.
Duke +4 at Louisville
This is perhaps a very dumb pick given Duke is likely to be without starting QB Riley Leonard but I think the Blue Devil defense is absolutely good enough to keep them in this game. I think a low-scoring game that keeps Duke within a field goal is the most likely outcome at Louisville.
Tulane at Rice Under 54.5
Tulane still looks like one of the best Group of 5 teams in the country in spite of their scare last week against North Texas. The Green Wave remained ranked and hope to keep their perfect conference record intact when they head west on IH-10 to take on the Rice Owls. Though the Owls have the ability to explode for big plays with QB JT Daniels, I think this ends up being more of a low-scoring contest. Take the under.
Wyoming at Boise State Under 49
In spite of what has been a stellar year for the Cowboys in the Mountain West, it feels like Wyoming is getting limited credit for what they have been able to accomplish. I’m taking the under in this one thanks to that strong defense but I might sprinkle a little moneyline action on Wyoming as well.
Upset Special: UConn +470 at Boston College
For the second straight week, I wasn’t really thrilled with any of the upset prospects for our Upset Special. I settled on UConn at Boston College because in spite of the 4-3 record, BC just isn’t very good this year. They kicked off the season with a loss to Northern Illinois before narrowly escaping Holy Cross. Admittedly, UConn isn’t very good either hence the +470 odds but I had to put something here.
What game are you most excited about in Week 9?
*Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See http://draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.