NCAAF Week 9 Early Value Picks Feature Ohio State Blowout and Virginia Scoring Struggles

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The best sportsbooks have released their NCAAF odds for this week’s college football action. Two games, in particular, interest me as worth investing in.

For reasons that I will explain, you should play the spread for the 1st game and the total for the 2nd.

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Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Penn State Nittany Lions

Saturday, October 29, 2022 – 12:00 PM EDT at Beaver Stadium

Penn State's Run Defense

After Penn State's dominating win over Minnesota, it is easy to forget the doubts surrounding the quality of Penn State's run defense.

The Nittany Lion run defense enjoyed tremendous advantages that it won't enjoy in Saturday's game.

As I will explain, the absence of these advantages will ensure that we see something like the 418 rushing yards that Michigan accumulated in its 24-point win over Penn State.

Offensive Multi-Dimensionality

Last week, Penn State benefitted from facing a handicapped Minnesota offense. For Minnesota, freshman quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis made his first-ever college start after Tanner Morgan was ruled out.

With Morgan, the Golden Gophers already had one of the worst pass attacks in the Big Ten, as measured by passing yards, partly because it is bereft of the talent that it used to enjoy at the wide receiver position, but at least Morgan was a veteran.

Penn State's defense feasted on the Golden Gophers' new quarterback, limiting him to a 40.9% completion rate and 175 passing yards.

It is easy for a run defense to do well when it doesn't have to worry about the opposing quarterback throwing the ball.

Prolific Offense with CJ Stroud

This is obviously not the case with Ohio State. More so even than Michigan, the Buckeyes can field a balanced offense thanks to its prolific pass attack spearheaded by perpetual Heisman candidate CJ Stroud.

There are 2 teams that average over 300 passing yards in the Big Ten. One is Purdue, which is also the only pass attack that Penn State has faced so far that ranks top-30 nationally.

The Boilermakers accomplished 24 offensive points despite fumbling once deep in Penn State territory and while lamely trying to hold onto a late lead.

Purdue was held back by its offensive one-dimensionality. Ohio State's pass attack possesses an even greater prolific quality than the Boilermakers'. Purdue relies heavily on one wide receiver, Charlie Jones, who against Penn State enjoyed one of his best performances of the season.

Conversely, Stroud enjoys the services of Emeka Egbuka, Marvin Harrison Jr., and possibly those of former Heisman dark horse candidate Jaxon Smith-Njigba, whose health would provide the Buckeye offense with a meaningful boost.

Buckeyes' Ground Game Outlook

This season, Ohio State's offensive line returned an All-Big Ten second-teamer, third-teamer, and 2 honorable mentions.

Given this returning talent, the Buckeye offensive line was well-regarded entering the season, and it has delivered in the form of strong success running the football.

Led by Miyan Williams and his 7 YPC and TreVeyon Henderson and his 5.9 YPC, Ohio State ranks 21st nationally in rushing yards per game.

Especially with Penn State absorbed by their attempt to deal with Stroud, the Buckeye ground game has the offensive line and running back talent to inflict the sort of major damage that Michigan's running back duo did against Penn State's generally undersized and outmatched front 7.

Ohio State's Defense

Last week, the Buckeyes' defense carried the day, forcing 4 fumbles and 3 interceptions, and limiting Iowa to 3 offensive points.

This same defense that has shut down its other Big Ten opponents except maybe in garbage time scoring represents a vast improvement over the one that allowed 24 points to Penn State last year.

On defense, the Buckeyes are allowing 7.9 fewer points per game this year, as they are stacked with quality on all three levels of the defense.

Sean Clifford's Outlook

Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford's strongest test until now was Michigan with its pass defense that is ranked 3rd in the Big Ten. Against Michigan, Clifford suffered what is by far the worst game of his season. He was 7-for-19 with 120 yards, inspiring more Penn State fans to hope for Clifford to be benched.

Even better than Michigan, Ohio State has the Big Ten's 2nd-best-ranked pass defense with cornerback Jordan Hancock, a former top-100 prospect, returning and guys like Zach Harrison accruing sacks and forced fumbles to improve their NFL draft stock.

Early Value Pick

Even if the Buckeyes don't improve upon Michigan's pass rush stats against Penn State, Clifford will have to reckon with a well-filled Buckeyes' cornerback group as well as his own tendencies to make mistakes and throw inaccurately, which surfaced in the loss to Michigan and elsewhere.

NCAAF Pick: Ohio State -15 (-108) at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

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Ohio State -15 (-108)
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Miami (FL) Hurricanes vs. Virginia Cavaliers

Saturday, October 29, 2022 - 12:30 PM EDT at Scott Stadium

The Odds

The Over/Under for this game is listed at 47.5. I find this number too high considering Virginia's perpetual inability to score points.

The Cavaliers relied on sloppy Syracuse play in order to score 20 points.

Held back by a strongly regressed, now highly inefficient, and turnover-prone quarterback adjusting to a new offense, they failed to exceed 17 points in every other ACC game.

Miami's Quarterback Problem

For the "Over" to hit, Miami's offense will have to do a lot of work. But, last week, starting quarterback Tyler Van Dyke suffered an injury to his throwing arm that kept him from returning to the game. His backup, inexperienced freshman Jake Garcia, threw more interceptions than touchdowns and reiterated his difficulty with completing passes against FBS competition.

Virginia's pass rush has been improving all season. They now rank 7th nationally in sack rate.

After disturbing Georgia Tech's offensive flow, the Cavaliers are primed to replicate Hurricane quarterbacks' problem with staying upright. Garcia was sacked 4 times and Van Dyke 2 times.

Early Value Pick

The Hurricanes' bottom-feeder ground game, in terms of yards per game and compared with other ACC schools, won't help Miami's quarterback. For your NCAAF picks, expect Virginia's defense to help ensure that this game stays low-scoring.

NCAAF Pick: Under 47.5 (-108) at Heritage Sports

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Under 47.5 (-108)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.