College Football Week 8 Odds, Picks: Our Afternoon Best Bets, Including LSU vs. Ole Miss, James Madison vs. Marshall
Chris Graythen/Getty Images. Pictured: LSU cheerleaders.
- This Week 8 college football Saturday rolls on to the afternoon kickoff window.
- Our staff came through with four best bets for the afternoon, including LSU vs. Ole Miss, James Madison vs. Marshall, Oregon vs. UCLA and more.
- Check out all four of our Week 8 afternoon best bets below.
This Week 8 college football rolls on, as we turn our attention to the afternoon slate.
After a noon kickoff window that featured some solid matchups in Syracuse vs. Clemson, Iowa vs. Ohio State and Cincinnati vs. SMU, we have even more intriguing showdowns in the afternoon window.
Our staff hand-picked four best bets for games starting at 3:30 p.m. ET, including picks for high-profile matchups like Ole Miss vs. LSU and UCLA vs. Oregon to more obscure showdowns like FIU vs. Charlotte and Marshall vs. James Madison.
So, there's a lot to get excited about and plenty of bets to cash.
Read on for all four of our afternoon best bets below, and be sure to check out our nine other best bets for Saturday's noon and evening games.
Saturday Afternoon College Football Best Bets
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our college football staff is targeting from today's slate of games. Click the team logos for one of the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.
|Specific bet recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our NCAAF Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.|
Ole Miss vs. LSU
The perfect season for Ole Miss ends Saturday afternoon in Death Valley. There may not be a bigger contrast in strength of schedule thus far in the year than in this matchup.
Ole Miss has been skating along – staying unbeaten against a rather weak schedule – and it hasn’t exactly looked all that impressive in the process.
Meanwhile, LSU checks in at seventh in the country in SOS and has been battle-hardened early in Brian Kelly’s first season at the helm.
Ole Miss’ offense relies on a heavy rushing attack, and LSU has excelled in stopping the run all season.
On the other side of the ball, Jayden Daniels has started to air it out much more frequently down the field, and should be in line to expose a shaky Rebels secondary.
Kelly’s team is starting to gain some continuity after a ton of roster/staff overhaul in the offseason, and it will show this week.
I love the spot here for the Tigers at home in a game that I don’t think will really be all that close.
UCLA vs. Oregon
By Alex Hinton
I’m really not sure what else UCLA needs to do to earn respect. However, apparently a 6-0 start that includes consecutive thumpings over Washington and Utah is not enough.
Sure, five of those six games were at home and now UCLA must head to raucous Autzen Stadium. However, the Bruins lost by three in their last trip to Eugene in 2020, which included a pick-six by its backup quarterback.
Dorian Thompson-Robinson missed that game, but he will be on the field this Saturday and is playing at the highest level of his career.
In a deep group of Pac-12 quarterbacks, Thompson-Robinson leads the conference in both completion percentage (74.8) and passer efficiency (180.6). He sports a 15:2 touchdown-to-interception ratio and also has 231 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
I’ll side with Dorian Thompson-Robinson over Bo Nix any day of the week.
Joining Thompson-Robinson in the backfield is Zach Charbonnet, who leads the Pac-12 with 123 rushing yards per game, ranks second at 7.1 yards per carry and fourth with six rushing touchdowns. UCLA has the balance to keep Oregon off balance and will not be facing the stingiest Oregon defense.
Oregon has picked itself off the mat since its 49-3 loss to Georgia in the season opener. The Ducks have still allowed 20 points in every game against FBS opponents. They rank 82nd in scoring defense, 113th in passing yards allowed per game and 78th in yards allowed per play.
I do not expect this to be an easy game for UCLA, as Oregon has a potent offense itself. However, UCLA ranks 13th in yards per carry allowed and 21st in yards per play allowed. The Bruins do a good job of making their opponents drive the length of the field and then kicking field goals. The bend-don’t-break style has worked to this point.
UCLA head coach Chip Kelly is 0-3 against his former employer, so he will have a little added motivation this week. However, this year, he has his best team since arriving in Westwood.
The last two matchups in this series have been decided by three points. Getting 6.5 points here, the value is on the Bruins, and I will be sprinkling on UCLA’s moneyline as well.
FIU vs. Charlotte
Charlotte and Florida International present a matchup with two of the worst defenses in the country.
Florida International ranks 119th in scoring defense against FBS opponents, allowing 37 points per game. Most of the damage has come through the air, as the group is allowing eight yards per pass attempts this season. That won’t bode well with a matchup against a pass-heavy Charlotte offense led by quarterback Chris Reynolds.
Reynolds has thrown for 14 touchdowns through his 4.5 games this season. He’s completing 63% of his passes for an average of 8.5 yards per attempt.
The Charlotte offense has shown improvement since he’s been back in the lineup against some solid defenses. Now, it has an opportunity to light up the scoreboard against Florida International.
Meanwhile, the FIU offense has been putrid, putting up just 11 points per game against FBS competition. But that should change against a Charlotte defense that allows 45 points per game this season.
Florida International runs a fast-paced offense that will find success through the air in this matchup. The 49ers are allowing an astonishing 11 yards per pass attempt this season.
I’m shocked to see a total with two defenses that allow a combined 82 points per game set in the low 60s. BetMGM is a bit late to the party and still hanging a 59.5 if you can find it.
Marshall vs. James Madison
By Dan Keegan
We are a long way away from Week 2, when Marshall shocked the world by beating Notre Dame in South Bend. It was a whole different world then – Star Wars “Andor” hadn’t premiered, the NBA was still in training camp and an entire Prime Minister tenure in the UK has come and gone since.
And in the meantime, Marshall’s offense has cratered.
Whether the quarterback is veteran Henry Colombi – who has failed to finish the last two games thanks to injuries – or freshman Cam Fancher, this unit has stalled out.
In their last two FBS games, the Herd have scored three touchdowns combined. Those games were against stout defenses in Troy and Louisiana, and James Madison has a defense of that caliber, as well.
The Dukes were roasted last week by Georgia Southern, a team with an entirely different scheme and personnel than Marshall. The Eagles had a lot of success having Kyle Vantrease deliver quick hitters to the perimeter to three dynamic receivers, who created a lot of YAC with their speed and ability to miss tackles.
Marshall has no such weapons and relies on workhorse running back Khalan Laborn.
This plays perfectly into the hands of a Dukes defense that ranks No. 1 against the run and was seen earlier this year shutting down the excellent Appalachian State rushing attack.
Defenses are able to sell out to stop Laborn – Troy and Louisiana held him to 3.9 and 4.6 yards per carry, respectively, although he did top the century mark in both games.
Lastly, James Madison ranks No. 1 in the country in creating defensive Havoc. The Dukes make tackles behind the sticks and take the ball away. Marshall’s offense is 113th in the country in preventing Havoc.
The Dukes will be fired up to bounce back from their loss and their defense will be roaring to prove it’s still among the best in the Group of Five. James Madison has enough talent and matchup advantages to prevent Marshall from scoring three touchdowns.