Our Staff’s 5 Favorite College Football Bets for Week 8
Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Utah Utes
- Need some last-minute college football betting picks before Saturday Week 8 games kick off? We've got them right here.
- Our staff has been hard at work narrowing down their cards to just one favorite play.
College football season is halfway done, and there have been plenty of ups and downs for teams and bettors.
Hopefully Week 8 is the start of something great for us and all our readers. Let’s get it started with some of our favorite bets.
Our staff has been hard at work all week, narrowing down their cards to just one play to recommend to the masses.
Here they are — from some big favorites out west to an ugly dog in the Big 12.
Our Staff’s 5 Favorite College Football Betting Picks
Odds as of Friday afternoon and via PointsBet, where Action Network users get an exclusive 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).
Stuckey: Oklahoma 1H -20.5, Full Game -33
- Odds: West Virginia at Oklahoma (-33)
- Total: 62.5
- Time: 12 p.m. ET
- TV: FOX
The West Virginia secondary is in shambles with three freshman starters in the secondary in place of three seniors, which could again be the case in the first half against Oklahoma if Keith Washington can’t go because of a leg injury.
As a result of all of the attrition in the defensive backfield, West Virginia has had to rely on two other freshman as well, including a converted quarterback.
Now this extremely young and raw secondary will have to go up against Oklahoma’s explosive offense on the road. Oklahoma is the only team in the nation averaging over 600 yards per game and one of only three (also Alabama and LSU) averaging over 50 points per game.
From a yards perspective, the Sooners currently lead the nation in yards per carry (7.7), rank second in yards per pass attempt (12.0), and first in yards per play at a ridiculous 9.6.
How good is 9.6 yards per play?
The next best offense this year is Alabama, which averages 8.1 yards per play. It’s also a full yard greater than where OU finished with last year with Heisman trophy winner Kyler Murray at the helm. And that 8.6 yards per play average was an NCAA record.
The Oklahoma offense hasn’t missed a beat — Lincoln Reilly, ladies and gentlemen.
Only three teams have finished a season averaging more than 8 yards per play (2018 Oklahoma, 2018 Oklahoma and 2006 Hawaii). Here are the top single-season yards per play leaders since 2000.
Things could get ugly quick on Saturday.
And on the other side of the ball, this is the best Oklahoma defense we’ve seen in a long time. It’s a top 30 unit, which is all Oklahoma needs to match an offense that might be the best in the country.
The Sooners can get pressure on the quarterback and play very aggressive. Considering West Virginia can’t run the ball (3.1 yards per carry, 121st nationally), quarterback Austin Kendall, who it appears will give it a go despite also being banged up, may have a long day in passing situations against his former team.
The WVU signal caller has shown flashes this year but he’s also been plagued by turnovers (9 TD and 7 INT). Kendall has also lost two of his top five targets for the season to either injury or transfer. And leading wideout Sam James, also a freshman, has been playing despite also being a little banged up as well.
There’s always a risk of a meaningless backdoor once Reilly takes his foot off the gas if Oklahoma builds an enormous lead, but I still see value under 35 and split this between 1H and full game to mitigate some of that backdoor risk.
Steve Petrella: Ohio -8
- Odds: Kent State at Ohio (-8)
- Total: 63.5
- Time: 12 p.m. ET
- TV: CBS Sports Network
It’s hard to believe we’ve gotten to the point where Ohio is less than 6 points better than Kent State on a neutral field. But here we are.
And I’m not buying it.
It’s hard to judge Kent State because it’s only played the two worst teams in the MAC, an FCS school and three legitimate Top 25 teams — Arizona State, Auburn and Wisconsin.
Ohio is 2-4 after entering the season as a MAC favorite, but a closer look tells me the Bobcats, especially on offense, will be just fine. They’ve averaged at least 6.5 yards per play in three games, and really got the ground game going against Northern Illinois last week.
That spells trouble for a Kent State team that ranks bottom 15 in pretty much every defensive line statistic.
Ohio has the better offense, better quarterback and I believe they’re being undervalued thanks to a few close losses earlier this season.
Kyle Miller: LSU 1H -10
- Odds: LSU (-17.5) at Miss. State
- Total: 62
- Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
- TV: CBS
LSU is in a really though sandwich spot this week after a big home win against Florida and with Auburn on deck. Mississippi State is in a tough spot every single week that they take the field these days thanks to a bad defense and anemic offense.
In this matchup in particular, LSU has a massive advantage when it drops back to pass. The Bulldogs’ defense ranks 78th in opponents QB rating so Joe Burrow should have a field day.
The new LSU offense passes the ball more than almost anyone in the country and when they do, they’re very explosive, ranking No. 7 overall in percentage of explosive pass plays.Mississippi State’s defense is dead last in the nation in allowing explosive pass plays.
It’s going to be a really rough day in Starkville for the home team but look for LSU to take out their starters and run the ball in the second half in preparation for their matchup with Auburn.
When LSU is at full throttle in the first half, Mississippi State has no shot of slowing down its passing game.
Danny Donahue: Utah -13.5
- Odds: Arizona State at Utah (-13.5)
- Total: 45.5
- Time: 6 p.m. ET
- TV: Pac-12 Network
I was burned in the same spot last week with Oklahoma, but I’m going back to the well and listening to what the market is telling me about another home favorite on Saturday.
It’s rare to see 70+% of bets hit a road dog in a heavily-bet game, and when it happens, the public is usually falling for a trap. Per Bet Labs, road teams between +4 and +30 getting more than two-thirds of bets have gone 32-54-0 ATS since 2005.
The record only gets worse as games are filtered by the amount of bets they receive, and I’d expect this one to land in Saturday’s top 10 by the time kickoff rolls around.
The Utes are also getting 44% of money on 28% of bets, which puts me on the same side as both sportsbooks and big bettors — a group I am happy to join.
Collin Wilson: Kansas +21.5
- Odds: Kansas (+21.5) at Texas
- Total: 62
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
- TV: Longhorn Network
I like the underdog in this spot for a few reasons. Texas is dealing with injuries, it’s a bad spot and the advanced stats reveal this game could be closer than the spread suggests.
Texas could be without 10 of its regulars on Saturday. Defensive backs Caden Sterns, Jalen Green and Josh Thompson remain sidelined. Wide receiver Collin Johnson entered concussion protocol, while senior linebacker Jeffrey McCulloch suffered a dislocated shoulder.
There are others to mention, including defensive end Malcolm Roach, who will miss the first half due to an ejection against Oklahoma.
— Billy Heyen (@Wheyen3) October 12, 2019
Les Miles fired his offensive coordinator in the middle of the season and hired Brent Dearmon during the bye week. Dearmon will likely be bringing in the RPO, which should spark the Jayhawks on offense. The timing is good, too, as Texas ranks 50th in opponent rush success and 74th in rushing yards allowed per attempt.
Not only has Kansas been strong at finishing drives this season, ranking 20th in red zone scoring percentage, but the Jayhawks also are solid defensively when they are backed up, ranking 26th in red zone scoring percentage allowed. Look for a few red zone stops or scores on both ends to make a difference.
Rock Chalk could surprise this Saturday.