College football picks, schedule: predictions against the spread, odds for the top 25 games in week 9

The critical moment is approaching for teams with national championship aspirations with the first college football playoff seeding scheduled for next Tuesday. Although there are three major rivalry matchups involving the top five teams on Saturday, none come within two touchdowns. As such, if any upheavals occur, they will be significant.

The end of the day has some big rivalries in the Big Ten. No. 2 Ohio State opens at No. 13 Penn State in the Buckeyes’ legitimate first Test of the season, one in which they are nonetheless 15.5-point favorites, according to Caesars Sportsbook. Although the Nittany Lions have already suffered defeat in the campaign, they have the home advantage against a rivalry they have struggled to overcome over the past decade. In the nightcap, Michigan’s No. 4 welcomes Michigan State as a 22.5-point favorite. The Spartans are simply hoping to prevent their season from falling apart altogether, while the Wolverines are focused on remaining undefeated ahead of their showdown with the Buckeyes in the regular season finale.

In between is the SEC’s Game of the Week on CBS with No. 1 Georgia and Florida meeting at the world’s largest outdoor cocktail party. The 22.5-point gap in favor of the Bulldogs is the widest in the history of the rivalry, and they enter after a bye week that the Dawgs were able to enjoy after beating Auburn and Vanderbilt by a combined total of 97 -10 in the last two weeks. The Gators’ only losses this season have been to currently ranked teams – in which they have all played hard – but they have yet to rekindle past glory under new coach Billy Napier.

By the end of Saturday’s action, we’ll have a much clearer picture of what the initial CFP rankings will look like once Tuesday rolls around. Be sure to stick with CBS Sports throughout the day for college football coverage from kickoff. Let’s take a look at our expert picks for the best games of Week 9.

Odds via Caesars Sportsbook | All times Eastern

No. 2 Ohio State at No. 13 Penn State

Featured Game | Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Ohio State Buckeyes

Noon | Fox, fuboTV (Try for free) — Penn State is at its best when it can run the ball. Ohio State’s defense has been incredible this season, and the Buckeyes should be able to limit what Penn State does on the field. That caps Penn State’s offensive production. That said, Penn State matches Ohio State better defensively than most other teams, and that could force the Buckeyes to turn to the running game more than usual. So if I bet anything here, I take the bottom. Prediction: Under 61 -Tom Fornelli

Florida vs. No. 1 Georgia

Featured Game | Georgia Bulldogs vs. Florida Gators

3:30 p.m. | SCS, CBSSports.com, CBS Sports app Georgia will take the win and do it rather easily. Florida’s defense will have no answer to what Bulldogs offensive coordinator Todd Monken hatched over the bye week, and it’s impossible to create a scenario in which Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson is finally developing a down passing game. That said, Georgia coach Kirby Smart will likely take his foot off the gas as soon as possible, allowing Florida to keep that within three touchdowns. Prediction: Florida +22.5 — Barrett Sallee

No. 9 Oklahoma State at No. 22 Kansas State

Featured Game | Kansas State Wildcats vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys

3:30 p.m. | Fox, fuboTV (Try for free) — This match could become the match of the weekend and an eliminator in the race for a rematch with TCU in the Big 12 Championship Game. Both teams are stoned, and there are questions about who will even start at quarterback for Kansas State. Last weekend proved, however, that Adrian Martinez and Will Howard are up to the task of leading this offense. If both teams have to rely on quarterback depth and supporting cast, give me K-State at home on Oklahoma State. Prediction: Kansas State -1.5 –Shehan Jeyarajah

Kentucky No. 19 at Tennessee No. 3

Featured Game | Tennessee Volunteers vs. Kentucky Wildcats

7 p.m. | ESPN, fuboTV (Try for free) — These teams had 87 points last season, and they should score a lot more. Although the Wildcats have struggled offensively at times this season, QB Will Levis should be closer to 100% after a bye week. Kentucky is also expected to recover wide receiver Tayvion Robinson from a leg injury and right tackle Jeremy Flax from a hamstring issue. The weather is expected to be excellent, which means the conditions will be ripe for scoring. Prediction: Over 62.5 –David Cobb

Michigan State at No. 4 Michigan

Featured Game | Michigan Wolverines vs. Michigan State Spartans

7:30 p.m. | ABC, fuboTV (Try for free) — Jim Harbaugh still hasn’t beaten Mel Tucker since the latter arrived at Michigan State. That changes on Saturday. The Wolverines are the deepest, most skilled and most physical team across the board going into this game. Really, trying to find a single edge for Michigan State in this game is a wild ride. There’s always the potential for some weird rivalry game noise, but Michigan State just might not be good enough to even make things interesting. Prediction: Michigan -22 — Jeyarajah

What college football picks can you confidently make in Week 9, and which top-20 favorite will fall hard? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread — all from a proven computer model that’s brought in nearly $3,000 in profit over the past six-plus seasons — and find out.

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