Wilson: My 3 College Football Best Bets for Week 8

Wilson: My 3 College Football Best Bets for Week 8 article feature image

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Billy Honaker

  • Collin Wilson gives out his college football best bets for Week 8.
  • He's counting on a bounceback from a preseason MAC favorite, an SEC team to run out of gas and two surprisingly good defenses.

Combing over the analytics is the best part of my week.

While most people enjoy Sunday Night Football, there is an early college football point spread market to attack that I’m far more worried about.

Once the work is put in on the analytics side, reading the market becomes an art. You’re left asking yourself if each line will go up or down, and when will be the best time to buy the side.

Odds as of Friday afternoon and via PointsBet, where Action Network users get an exclusive 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).

While there is no metric on punt havoc or getting Cephus Johnson’ed — two things that cost us during weekday action in the last few days — there is plenty of data to help handicap college football.

Havoc will play a huge factor in Penn State-Michigan, rushing explosiveness may give Clemson a scare and Wake Forest’s lightning fast pace are all apart of the Week 8 story.

Be sure and follow me in The Action Network App to get my bets on every Week 7 game, plus Week 8 openers on Sunday.

College Football Best Bets for Week 8

Kent State vs. Ohio

  • Spread: Ohio -7.5
  • Over/Under: 63
  • Time: 12 p.m. ET
  • TV: CBS Sports Network

A look at the MAC conference standings may surprise readers. Kent State supports a 2-0 record and will look to take a commanding lead to the championship game in Detroit with a victory over Ohio.

The Golden Flashes have, for lack of a better term, been a flash on the field with an uptempo pace that leads to a time of possession rank of 128th. Head coach Sean Lewis is still building his vision of a tempo air attack with a top 25 rank in pass completion percentage and top 40 in passing success rate.

To this point, the Golden Flashes have faced only top 25 teams and bottom 25 teams. Conference victories have come against Bowling Green and Akron — both team were preseason projections to finish last in their divisions.

There is one underlying narrative for the Kent State season and that is teams that can rush the ball have had their way with the Flashes.

Ohio brings a 1-1 conference record through a so far disappointing 2019, but the Bobcats showed up offensively in a loss against Northern Illinois.

Quarterback Nathan Rourke threw, rushed, and received a touchdown for a total of 340 yards and a combined four scores against the Huskies.

The Athens special… @OhioFootball | #MACtion pic.twitter.com/tWpncxMWzi

— #MACtion (@MACSports) October 12, 2019

Even with Ohio rushing for 1.3 yards per carry less than last season, Kent State supports the second worst rushing defense in the MAC.

Ohio should have plenty of advantages against a Kent State defense that is 125th in line yards and 127th in stuff rate. Look for the Golden Flashes to be dominated in the trench and take their first loss in MAC play.

Pick: Ohio -7.5


Florida vs. South Carolina

  • Spread: South Carolina +5
  • Over/Under: 46.5
  • Time: 12 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN

The Gamecocks had just an 8% post game win expectancy after defeating Georgia. South Carolina capitalized on Jake Fromm’s first pick six and a missed kick by sharpshooter Rodrigo Blankenship.

South Carolina may not have fully earned the victory, but they will have full confidence against a team Will Muschamp used to coach.

Wide left!

South Carolina takes down No. 3 Georgia in Athens! pic.twitter.com/Eg85pwbjiL

— ESPN (@espn) October 12, 2019

Ryan Hilinski was battered coming into the game against the Bulldogs and was lifted with a knee injury during the victory.

He is set to return against a Florida defense that is No. 8 in defensive havoc. But South Carolina has been excellent in havoc allowed to this point, ranking 25th overall with just 26 tackles for loss allowed.

The Gamecocks also have an explosive rushing attack that ranks in the top 20.

How much is left in the tank for Florida? A rout of Auburn two weeks ago gave the Gators plenty of fuel to compete with LSU. Florida ran 84 plays in that game, much higher than their season average of 69, and lost by two scores.

Fatigue played a factor in the front-door covering effort of the Tigers, and may play a role here on the road at South Carolina.

Pick: South Carolina +5

South Florida vs. Navy

  • Spread: Navy -14.5
  • Over/Under: 51
  • Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: CBS Sports Network

Two teams with surprising defensive turnarounds are Navy and South Florida. Both units rank top 40 in total defense in contrast to their SP+ rank of 114th for Navy and 80th for South Florida in 2018.

Navy is first in the nation defensively in line yards and second in opportunity rate. The Midshipmen have consistently been in opponents’ backfields, causing chaos, with an overall ranking of 10th in havoc. Despite the resurgence of the South Florida team after a bye week and quarterback change, the Bulls offensive line is 128th in sack rate.

USF is 16th in stuff rate and 39th in sack rate defensively. Both are massive improvements from the 2018 team. The Bulls rank 18th in havoc defensively, forecasting this game to have plenty of passes knocked down and rushers tackled in the backfield.

Pick: Under 51


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