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Behind the box score: CFB betting lessons from Week 9

By Adam Burke  ( 

November 1, 2021 08:30 PM

The first round of the College Football Playoff rankings will come out this week and will change a thousand times before the postseason actually arrives in December. We know that Georgia is really good. Beyond that, it is hard to know if any other team can string together enough good performances to make a clear case for the CFP.

This season has been full of misleading box scores and craziness and that will continue throughout the month of November. For now, let’s look back at Week 9 and highlight some games and angles that should create some good betting opportunities for this week and beyond.

East Carolina 29, South Florida 14

I won’t go so far as to say that USF is good, because that isn’t really the case, but the Bulls have played a lot better than their 2-6 record would indicate. South Florida actually led 14-6 at halftime, but East Carolina scored 23 unanswered points in the second half with a couple of short scoring drives, a pick-six, and a solid 80-yard TD drive.

USF was outgained 471-391, but had the yards per play edge in the game 6.50 to 5.48, as the Pirates ran 86 plays to just 60 for the Bulls. USF was 0-for-7 on third down and also had two turnovers on downs, both in the red zone. ECU was 5-for-6 on fourth down. Those were the main factors as to why the game played out like it did, but USF deserved a better fate and so did Bulls bettors.

Play on USF – The Bulls are battling. They didn’t cover last week, but will now face big underdog roles the next two games against Houston and Cincinnati, both at home. The Bulls look like a much better team under second-year head coach Jeff Scott and last week’s ATS loss on Thursday night might create some extra value.


No. 6 Ohio State 33, No. 22 Penn State 24

The narratives are flowing after the Buckeyes had trouble putting Penn State away in the first real test for Ohio State since the Oregon loss. What the 33-24 final fails to tell you is that the Buckeyes had 466 yards on 68 plays, so they averaged 6.85 yards per play compared to 4.86 for Penn State. Two things kept this game close.

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