Our Two Favorite Week 8 College Football Moneyline Underdogs for Week 8
Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images. Pictured: Chance Nolan and B.J. Baylor of the Oregon State Beavers.
For the past four seasons on our college football betting podcast (now Big Bets on Campus), Collin Wilson and I pick our two favorite moneyline underdogs for each Saturday’s slate.
We struck out last week with two close losses, but Collin really deserved better fate with UNLV. He has had a couple brutal losses so far this season, so I expect him to get red hot here soon. For Week 8, we have a pair of short home underdogs.
- 2018-20: 39-67 +5.1 units
- 2021: 4-10 -4.35 units
If you’re feeling lucky, a parlay of both pays a little over 4-1 odds.
Stuckey: Army +130
- Spread: Wake Forest -3
- Over/Under: 53
- Date: Saturday, Oct. 23
- Time: Noon ET
- TV: CBSSN
- Location: West Point, NY
Let’s kick things off in the noon slot on CBSSN in a game involving Army, which is where I feel most at home on a college football Saturday.
Whether I look at my power ratings or Adjusted EPA per Play (adjusted for home-field and opponent), these teams are dead even. Therefore, I’ll gladly grab the points and plus-money on the moneyline with Army at home.
In fairness, the situation does favor Wake Forest, which comes off a bye. Meanwhile, Army had a hard-fought physical loss on the road last week against Wisconsin. The bye certainly helps the Demon Deacons a tiny bit, but I never worry about a letdown when it comes to a service academy.
More importantly, Wake Forest does not have a strong run defense, which is obviously problematic against Army’s triple-option attack. Just take a look at some of these troubling run defense metrics:
- 4.4 yards per carry allowed (89th)
- 112th in Line Yards
- 123rd in Opportunity Rate
- 90th in Stuff Rate
Army should have no issues moving the ball on the ground and eating up the clock on time-consuming drives. On the other side of the ball, Army’s run defense has been outstanding, which is important against Wake Forest’s read-option. And I believe the secondary can get just enough stops against Sam Hartman to pull out a close one in Michie Stadium.
Wilson: Oregon State +130
- Spread: Utah -3
- Over/Under: 57
- Date: Saturday, Oct. 23
- Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
- TV: PACN
- Location: Corvallis, OR
Oregon State may be in the drivers seat for the Pac-12 North by kickoff if UCLA is victorious earlier in the day. The Beavers will host a Utah team that travels after an emotional rollercoaster week both on and off the field.
The Utes got enough stops on the ground to beat Arizona State, but the Sun Devils still managed 6 yards per carry (excluding sacks) with a number of explosive bursts. That could’ve been a much different outcome without ASU’s penalty issues. Well, Oregon State can have similar success with one of the elite ground units in FBS.
Fresh off a bye week, Oregon State will return to a heavy ground attack that consistently keeps them ahead of schedule. The Beavers have ran 288 plays in Standard Downs and just 116 in Passing Downs thank to a rank of first in Success Rate on 1st-and-10 and 2nd-and-7. The Beavers average 6.1 yards per attempt in Standard Downs, which will force the Utah defense into another boom-or-bust scenario.
The Utes are one of the top defensive lines in the nation in Stuff Rate, a metric that looks at defending the run at or behind the line of scrimmage. Unfortunately, Utah grades as one of the worst defenses in the country against explosive runs. If Utah can’t secure a tackles for loss, Oregon State should keep the changes moving and easily win the time-of-possession battle. Plus, the Beavers won’t shoot themselves in the foot with penalties like ASU.
Also, Utah has notoriously started slow, particularly after Cam Rising took over as starting quarterback over a month ago. The Utes scored just seven points in the first half against Arizona State and Washington State and 10 points against San Diego State. That will give Oregon State the opportunity to jump out to an early lead with an offense that has been unstoppable in scoring position. The Beavers rank third in offensive finishing drives, as 21 of their 25 red-zone scores have been touchdowns.
Look for the Beavers fresh off the bye week to jump out to an early lead and then ground and pound their way to victory.