Sharps are closely monitoring these Week 9 college football games


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Each week during the college football season, Covers Expert Steve Merril looks at the NCAAF odds and tells you which spread to bet now, which one to bet later, and which total to watch as the week plays out.

Spread to bet now:

Tulane (-2.5) vs. SMU

SMU actually opened as a slight favorite in this game, but the early money has come in on Tulane. Play it now before it hits the key number of -3. The Green Wave enter off back-to-back underdog losses versus Memphis and Tulsa, but Tulane will now be taking a step down in class. The Green Wave is 3-0 SU as a favorite this season, while going 0-4 SU as an underdog.

This is a potential flat spot for SMU after they pulled one of the biggest upsets this season, winning 38-16 as a +23 point underdog versus Houston last week. SMU also has another big home game on deck next week versus Memphis, so overlooking this single road game at Tulane is a definite possibility, especially since the Mustangs won easily 49-21 last year.

Spread to wait on:

Florida International (+17) vs. Middle Tennessee

Middle Tennessee briefly opened as a -16.5 point favorite and was quickly bet up to -17. The public will likely push this line higher as the weekend approaches. However, this is a major flat spot for the Blue Raiders after their 51-45 road win at Missouri last week as a +7.5 point underdog. Making a letdown more likely is the fact MTSU played a double-overtime game the week prior versus Western Kentucky.

Florida International is 2-0 ATS in this head-to-head series the past two seasons, including a 38-28 straight-up home underdog win two years ago. The Panthers started this season 0-4 SU/ATS, but have started playing better this month, going 3-1 SU in their past four games. They are also due for some positive turnover luck as they have forced just one turnover or less in seven of their eight games this season.

Total to watch:

Arizona State at Oregon (78)

Arizona State quarterback Manny Wilkins left last week’s game with a stinger and is questionable to play this week. He is 115-for-190 (61%) passing this season, averaging 7.5 yards per pass with a 6/5 TD/INT ratio. Backup QB Brady White is just 25-for-49 (51%), averaging 5.3 ypp with a 2/1 TD/INT ratio. Regardless of the quarterback, the Sun Devils should have no problem scoring on a terrible Oregon defense that is allowing 43.3 points and 539 total yards per game. The Ducks have allowed at least 51 points or more in each of their past three games.

Arizona State is also a poor defensive team that is allowing 36.3 points and 475 total yards per game on the road this season. The Sun Devils have permitted 41 and 40 points in their two conference road games this year. Oregon is a capable offensive team that is averaging 39.0 points and 518 total yards per game at home this season. Oregon won 61-55 last year in triple-overtime; the game was tied 41-41 at the end of regulation.

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