After an exciting Week 8, I have four games that I like in Week 9. With five full weeks of the regular season left, we are running out of good betting opportunities as we get closer to bowl season.
With more data coming in on all 130 FBS programs, it is becoming more difficult to find good bets. Despite the increasing scarcity of them, there is still value to be found.
Below, I discuss four games that I am betting on.
All odds and lines are current as of 7:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, October 26.
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CFB Week 9 Predictions
Indiana (2-5) @ Maryland (4-3)
There are many great Big Ten matchups this weekend, but the game between Indiana and Maryland is not one of them. After opening the season ranked No. 17 in the AP Top 25 poll, Indiana has gone 2-5 and has fallen off the national radar.
What makes the Hoosiers hard to figure out is that all five of their losses have been against ranked teams. While the Hoosiers have been bad all season, Maryland started the season 4-0, but have since lost the last three games.
There are several reasons why Maryland is favored. Not only are they playing at home, but Indiana has uncertainty at the quarterback position.
Michael Penix Jr., the top quarterback on the Hoosiers roster, has been out with an injury since October 2. Penix Jr.’s replacement, Jack Tuttle, got injured last week against Ohio State and is currently “week-to-week” for Indiana.
It’s worth noting that Indiana coach Tom Allen likes to hold his cards close to the vest, as Penix Jr. has also been considered “week-to-week" for the last four weeks.
The quarterback position is important for the Hoosiers, as Indiana passes on 54.5% of their plays — good for No. 23 in the FBS. The question for the Hoosiers is if replacement quarterback Donaven McCulley can play well when thrown into fire this weekend.
Fortunately for Indiana, Maryland has had a hard time defending against the pass this season. The Terrapins allow 268.3 passing yards per game, which is the second-worst mark in the Big Ten. Additionally, Terps quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa has struggled over his last three games.
If the Hoosiers find a way to produce on offense and limit Tagovailoa, they could win as underdogs this weekend.
Indiana vs Maryland Prediction: Indiana 24, Maryland 17
Best Bet: Indiana Moneyline (+180) at DraftKings (would bet up to +125)
Wager: 1 Unit
On paper, Saturday’s Indiana/Maryland should be avoided. Maryland is on a negative trajectory, and Indiana has a dicey quarterback situation. But when there is chaos, there is opportunity.
Tom Allen is one of the better head coaches in the Big Ten. I am convinced that as an underdog against a mediocre team, this is a good spot to back the Hoosiers.
Assuming McCulley is the starting QB, I imagine that the price on Indiana will be better than (+180), which is why I’m waiting until the game gets closer to place my moneyline bet.
If Jack Tuttle is the quarterback for Indiana, then I would bet their money line up to (+125).
Louisiana-Monroe (4-3) @ Appalachian State (5-2)
Louisiana-Monroe has been one of the biggest surprises this season. Last year, they went 0-10 and fired their head coach. Before the season, they had a 1.5 season win total at WynnBET. Yet here they are in Week 9 with a 4-3 record.
Betting wise, what has been most impressive about ULM is that in of all their FBS games, they were heavy underdogs. They beat Troy outright as a 23.5-point underdog, Liberty as a 33-point underdog, and last week they beat South Alabama as a 13.5-point underdog.
This week, they are 27.5-point underdogs against a strong Appalachian State team.
App State has been a mainstay in the Sun Belt as they frequently either win the conference or are at the top of the standings. Last week, they beat Coastal Carolina 30-27 at home. Their only losses this season came against Miami (FL) and Louisiana-Lafayette.
You wouldn’t know it based on them playing in the Sun Belt, but App State has played a very competitive schedule.
The Mountaineers are built around a strong defense and a decent offense. Against a high-powered Coastal Carolina offense, App State allowed only 55 rushing yards on 29 carries. Additionally, graduate transfer quarterback Chase Brice has been dependable. This has been a surprise, as Brice was a disaster when he played for Duke (2020) and Clemson (2018-2019).
The question for Saturday’s game is if App State can win by a large margin against a surging ULM team.
Louisiana-Monroe vs App State Prediction: Louisiana-Monroe 20, App State 24
Best Bet: Louisiana-Monroe +27.5 (+100) at FanDuel (would bet up to +240)
Wager: 1.5 Units
Louisiana-Monroe has been a pleasant surprise this season, but even if they weren’t, they are worth a look as 27.5-point underdogs. App State is not built to blow out their opponents, rather, they are built to win games conservatively.
In their only win of more than 27.5 points this season against Georgia State, the Mountaineers got lucky in the second half as they had two passing touchdowns of 79 yards are more. If Appalachian State jumps to an early lead — which isn’t guaranteed — I expect that they will run the ball for most of their plays rather than pass.
Best Bet: Louisiana-Monroe Moneyline (+1700) at BetMGM (would bet up to +1100)
Wager: .5 Units
If you bet on Louisiana Monroe’s moneyline in every game this season, you would be up a fortune. For fear of missing out (FOMO), I am going to put half a unit on ULM’s moneyline against App State.
ULM is not as good of a team in regards to overall talent, but in terms of results and coaching, they have been competitive this season. With the right amount of luck, they could win outright at (+1700) odds.
If you do not have a BetMGM account yet, this game is a great opportunity to sign up and take advantage of their . You could bet on ULM’s moneyline and either win a great fortune or at least get a free bet equal to your stake amount.
No. 12 Kentucky (6-0) @ Mississippi State (4-2)
Kentucky has a 6-1 record with their only loss coming to Georgia, the top-ranked team in the country. In said defeat, the Wildcats played competitively. Mississippi State has a 4-3 record, yet UK is only a 1-point favorite.
Mississippi State has transitioned to an air raid offense under head coach Mike Leach over the last two years. This season, the Bulldogs pass on 76% of offensive plays, which is the highest in the FBS. While Leach’s offense was a huge success at Washington State, he has had mixed results against tougher SEC opponents.
Last week against Vanderbilt — arguably the weakest FBS school — Mississippi State’s quarterbacks threw for 461 passing yards. However, in their previous game against Alabama, they threw for 300 passing yards but had no touchdowns and 3 interceptions.
Kentucky has done well against pass this season, as they are allowing only 207.3 passing yards per game which ranks No. 36 in the country and the No. 3 in the SEC. Most impressively, the Wildcats limited the LSU and Florida passing attacks very well this season.
Currently, UK is allowing only 18.7 points per game, which ranks No. 18 in the country and second-best in the SEC. The question is whether they can continue playing this well on the road at Mississippi State.
Kentucky vs Mississippi State Prediction: Kentucky 27, Mississippi State 14
Best Bet: Kentucky -1 (-115) at DraftKings (would bet up to -2.5)
Wager: 1 Unit
Usually, the AP Top 25 rankings are deceptive, as they rank teams based on how well they have played rather than how well they should play. As a result, bettors may back the ranked team against an unranked team even when the unranked team is better.
For Saturday’s game, this is not the case.
Kentucky presents a matchup problem for Mississippi State, as their defense should contain their dynamic air-raid offense. As 1-point favorites, the Kentucky spread is a bargain, and I would bet it up to 2.5 points.
Fresno State (6-2) @ No. 21 San Diego State (7-0)
This Saturday night, there is a Mountain West conference game between two teams that could determine who plays in the conference championship game.
SDSU is undefeated with a 7-0 record, which includes wins over Air Force and Utah. Fresno State is 6-2 with two close losses to Oregon and Hawaii.
Both teams have similar strengths, as they both have strong defenses. The Aztecs are allowing only 14.8 points per game, while the Bulldogs allow only 22.4. Although Fresno State’s defense got off to a rocky start this season, they have done very well over their last three games.
While they allowed 32 points against Nevada last week, they gave up only 47 rushing yards on 21 carries. Against Wyoming — a pre-season favorite to win the conference — Fresno State won in a shutout. Against a conservative run-based San Diego State offense, the Bulldogs should be able to keep points off the board.
Unfortunately for Fresno State, San Diego State also has a good defense. The Aztecs allow only 2.7 yards per carry, which is the sixth-best mark in the country. The only issue with SDSU is that their offense is weak, and as a result, it usually is a bad idea to rely on them covering more than a touchdown as favorites.
For Saturday night’s game, the question is who should win what is expected to be a low-scoring game.
Fresno State vs San Diego State Prediction: Fresno State 10, San Diego State 17
Best Bet: Under 45.5 Points (-110) at BetMGM (would bet up to 42.5)
Wager: 2 Units
San Diego State should win on Saturday night against a strong Fresno State team. However, win or lose, I believe that the point total will go Under even at 45.5 points.
Last week against Air Force, just 34 total points were scored. Against San Jose State, only 32 points were scored, and that was a double-overtime game. Even against Utah where 64 points were scored in a triple-overtime game, only 48 points were scored in regulation.
It will be a sweat, but the under on the FSU/SDSU game is my favorite bet for Saturday’s slate.