College Football Odds & Market Report: Week 8 Early Bets, Including Virginia vs. Georgia Tech & Pitt vs. Louisville
Joe Sargent/Getty Images. Pictured: Pitt’s Vincent Davis (left) and Kedon Slovis (right).
Week 8 of the college football season is here, and we are headed into the stretch run with the College Football Playoff picture still needed to be sorted out.
We all know the college football market moves a lot over the course of the week. Money pours in all over the place from the time lines open on Sunday afternoon to kickoff on Saturday. This week is no exception.
Like any other sport, it's paramount to get the best price possible when betting on college football.
For example, a -6.5 favorite could move to -7.5 on Saturday morning and then you run the risk of that team winning by one of the most likely outcomes — a seven-point victory — and you just lost your bet. It could have all been avoided if the bet was locked in at -6.5 Monday morning.
I'm here to help you navigate the market by providing a few lines I'm buying right now with my specific thresholds or other lines that I'm waiting to buy for later in the week.
The hope for this piece is to beat the market, get the best price possible, and in the long run, save you some money with closing line value. To do that, we'll utilize our TAN projections, ESPN's SP+ and my own projections to create a consensus.
You hear all the time, "process over results." The best way to know if the process is working is by closing line value (CLV), meaning how many points did you beat the closing line by?
I'll be keeping track of exactly how many points we've beaten the market by in recent weeks:
- Virginia Tech +3 → +1.5 closing line
- Old Dominion -3.5 → -5.5 closing line
- Hawaii +3 → +4.5 closing line
- Texas State +21.5 → +21.5 closing line
- Michigan State +7.5 → -7.5 closing line
- Louisiana +7 → +8.5 closing line
- Mississippi State -5 → -9 closing line
- UAB -9.5 → -10 closing line
- Arizona State +13.5→ +13.5 closing line
- Toledo -7.5 → -7.5 closing line
- North Texas -5.5 → -6.5 closing line
Now, let's dive into the Week 8 slate.
Virginia vs. Georgia Tech
-110o / -110u
|Georgia Tech Odds|
-110o / -110u
You want an ugly Thursday night game? Well, here you go.
Virginia is a shell of what it was offensively last season. Brennan Armstrong owns just a 54.6 PFF passing grade with nine big-time throws and 14 turnover-worthy plays. He's also throwing for 6.4 yards per attempt.
However, you have to take it with a grain of salt. In the road games against Illinois and Syracuse, he was historically bad. In those two games, he committed nine of his 14 turnover-worthy plays, averaged under 5.0 yards per attempt and had a PFF passing grade below 35.
Image via PFF.
In every other game, he's been an average quarterback.
Virginia should have a good edge on the ground with Perris Jones, who is averaging 5.0 yards per carry and has a PFF rushing grade of 78.6. He has led Virginia to rank 48th in Rushing Success Rate, 41st in rushing explosiveness and 52nd in EPA/Rush.
Georgia Tech is horrible up front, ranking 112th in Defensive Line Yards, 118th in Rushing Success Rate Allowed and 111th in EPA/Rush allowed.
Georgia Tech has fired Geoff Collins, and offensive line coach Brent Key has been handling the head coaching duties. Since he's taken over, Georgia Tech has won back-to-back games, but it has been benefitted from +4 turnover margin.
The Yellow Jackets offense ranks 124th in Offensive Success Rate, 126th in EPA/Play and is averaging only 4.6 yards per play.
Jeff Sims does have outstanding dual-threat ability at the quarterback position, but he's been really bad as a passer this season. He's averaging just 6.0 yards per attempt and has a 55.4 PFF passing grade with seven big-time throws compared to nine turnover-worthy plays.
Virginia's secondary owns the 11th-best coverage grade in college football, per PFF, and ranks eighth in passing explosiveness allowed.
That means Georgia Tech is going to have to lean on its rushing attack, which has not been successful. It sits 128th in Rushing Success Rate, 101st in Offensive Line Yards and 90th in EPA/Rush. Virginia ranks 37th in Rushing Success Rate Allowed and 41st in EPA/Rush allowed.
All three models are showing value on Virginia, so I would grab it at +3.5 now before this moves.
Pick: Virginia +3.5
Pitt vs. Louisville
-115o / -105u
-115o / -105u
Pittsburgh has played one bad game this season, losing, 26-21, to Georgia Tech at home. In that game, it outgained the Yellow Jackets by almost 100 yards and held them to a 26% Standard Down Success Rate — but the Panthers turned the ball over three times in the second half.
They'll now have one distinct advantage on offense, and that's explosive plays. Pitt ranks 27th in offensive explosiveness, while Louisville comes in at 124th in explosiveness allowed.
A lot of that explosiveness has come on the ground from lead back Israel Abanikanda, who's averaging 6.4 yards per carry, has 12 touchdowns and 22 runs of at least 10 yards. That has Pitt ranking 21st in EPA/Rush and 11th in explosive rushing.
Louisville gives up a ton of big plays on the ground, ranking 112th in explosive rushing allowed.
The Cardinals also have a lot of injury concerns at the moment. Their star dual-threat quarterback, Malik Cunningham, is still dealing with a concussion that kept him out of the Virginia game. At the time of writing, he's questionable to play on Saturday.
They could also be without their top running back in Tiyon Evans, who also missed the Virginia game.
Those two have combined for 720 of the team's 1,243 rushing yards on the season. The pair missing this game would be massive.
Pittsburgh's defense has struggled giving up explosive plays in the run game, as it's 120th in explosive rushing allowed. The defensive line has been getting a good push, though, ranking 11th in Defensive Line Yards and seventh in Stuff Rate.
It's also doing a great job of putting pressure on the opposing quarterback, as Pitt ranks 15th in Havoc and 41st in pass-rush grade, per PFF. Louisville is 82nd in Havoc Allowed, so whoever is in at quarterback is going to be under pressure quite often.
If Cunningham does play, the Cards could be in trouble, as he owns a 36.5 PFF passing grade when pressured.
All three models have the Panthers projected as favorites in Louisville, so I would bet Pitt +1.5 now in case Cunningham and Evans do miss the game.
Pick: Pitt +1.5