Preview and Top 25 Picks for NCAA Football Week 8
Week 8 of the college football season continues with five ranked vs. ranked Top 25 matchups. We break down the biggest and most bets games here each week on OSGA with Picks, Opinions and Leans.
Last Saturday our Week 7 Picks went 2-0 on sides and cashed in on Tennessee's (+9) thrilling tear-down-the-goal posts 52-49 win over No. 3 Alabama. The total Pick was a loser, but an Opinion winner on the same game with Kentucky winning as a home 'Dog provided some bonus profits for the week. The victory by the Volunteers moved Tennessee up to No. 3 in this week's Top 25 AP Poll, and dropped Alabama to No. 6. Tennessee is one of just nine remaining undefeated teams in college football (FBS).
Week 8 Top 25 matchups
- No. 5 Clemson vs. No. 14 Syracuse | 12 p.m. ET | ABC
- No. 9 UCLA at No. 10 Oregon | 3:30 p.m. ET | FOX
- No. 11 Oklahoma State vs. No. 20 Texas | 3:30 p.m. ET | ABC
- No. 6 Alabama vs. No. 24 Mississippi State | 7 p.m. ET | ESPN
- No. 8 TCU vs. No. 17 Kansas State | 8 p.m. ET | FS1
Check out the top online sportsbooks and those offering reduced juice to compare betting lines, odds and information you can bet on.
No. 14 Syracuse at No. 5 Clemson | 12:00 p.m. ET on ABC
Line: Clemson -14 and Total 49.5 at GT Bets
Just 9 teams remain undefeated, and we get this ACC match-up of unbeatens and defensive dominators. Surprising Syracuse is allowing just 15.8 points and 312 yards per game vs FBS and 4.8 yards per play. Clemson allows 20.1 points, 338 yards and 4.7 YPPL with the nations No. 2 rush defense allowing 79 rushing yards per game. I'll make the case for the still undervalued Orange, who have covered the spread in 5-of-6 games this season. The offensive scoring and production is fairly similar with Clemson having an edge, but Orange QB Garrett Shrader rates the slight edge in QB Efficiency over Tigers QB DJ Uiagalelei and just 5 INT's combined. Clemson has a few recent big wins including 34-28 last week at Florida State when the Tigers were outgained by 90 yards. Clemson has played the tougher schedule and is on a 20-0 run at home as well. But the Orange can clearly hang tough if the refs let them play, and we side with the stingy Syracuse defense and superior pass defense to keep it close. Line updated shortly after post to 14 across many leading online sportsbooks.
No. 9 UCLA at No. 10 Oregon | 3:30 p.m. ET | FOX
Line: Oregon -6.5 and Total 71 at Heritage Sports
Both these teams are 3-0 in Pac 12 play, and the battle for the top spot looks like another shootout. But it's raining in Eugene Friday and expected to continue Saturday and the total may drop. Both teams average 500+ yards offense and neither has a top-tier defense, but the Bruins defensive line is stronger and allows 4.8 yards per play to Oregon's 5.9 yards per play defense. Bruins HC Chip Kelly took UCLA to Oregon against his former team and hung tough in 2020 in a 38-35 loss as 17-point 'Dogs. Now the Bruins are better, but so are the Ducks, who have dominated three lesser opponents at home while going 3-0 SU/ATS. Both quarterbacks are duel threats, and UCLA QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson is fifth in the nation in both QBR and expected points added per play, and Oregon’s secondary is suspect and not performing up to expectations. Thompson-Robinson has passed for 1,500+ yards, 15 TD's plus 4 rushing TD's and a 7:1 TD-INT ratio the past two games. Oregon QB Bo Nix has 12 passing TD's and 8 rushing touchdowns with 1,500+ passing yards.
No. 20 Texas at No. 11 Oklahoma State | 3:30 p.m. ET | ABC
Line: Texas -6 and Total 60.5 at BetUS
The +6.5's have mostly disappeared but back to -6.5 at BookMaker. We cashed in on Oklahoma State in their two recent roles as underdog when they beat Baylor and then lost for the first time last week, 43-40 in OT at TCU. We lean the Cowboys way again, but there is much to like about the Longhorns. Quarterback Quinn Ewers has 7 TD's the past two games since returning from his knockout against Alabama when we hooked 'em and cashed in on big 'Dog Texas. Longhorns RB Bijan Robinson has a league-high 10 TDs and league-best 111 yards per game. The Texas defense has dominator numbers except in their defensive pass ratings. Texas has allowed more than 250 passing yards to Texas Tech (331), West Virginia (253) and Iowa State (329). Cowboys QB Spencer Sanders has 13 TD passes and a league-high 1,639 yards, and will attack a Longhorns pass defense allowing 65% completions. Texas held off defensive dominator Iowa State last week 24-21, another bet I made on a defensive 'Dog taking back big points. Let's lean the home 'Dog's way and taper the total with 20+ MPH winds and higher gusts possible Saturday in Stillwater.
Lean: Oklahoma State
No. 23 Mississippi State at No. 6 Alabama | 7 p.m. ET | ESPN
Line Alabama -21.5 and Total 60.5 at BookMaker
We cashed in big against 'Bama last week in Tennessee's thrilling 52-49 outright win over the Tide. That pick and Volunteers victory moved Tennessee to No. 3 in the AP Poll and dropped Alabama to No. 6 this week. The Tide still have defensive dominator numbers, but were exposed by the nation's top offense. Alabama is also averaging more than 500 yards per game on offense, and 85 YPG more than Mississippi State. The Tide's superior run defense allows just 2.9 yards per rush vs FBS opponents to the Bulldogs 4.7. But the rest of MSU's defensive profile is good enough to still hang within this big spread, and this has been a solid season for MSU until last week's worst performance in defeat at Kentucky. The emotional game for the 'Tide last week in defeat has to weigh into this weeks performance, and the Bulldogs are getting too many points as a quality team.
Opinion: Mississippi State
No. 17 Kansas State at No. 8 TCU | 8 p.m. ET | FS1
Line TCU -3.5 and Total 54 at Jazz Sports
This line has been holding steady, but the total is down sharply from 59.5 opener last Sunday in Las Vegas. There is 20+ MPH winds and higher gusts possible in the Fort Worth forecast Saturday. Kansas State enters off a bye week while TCU remains undefeated after last week's 43-40 OT win over Oklahoma State that saw emotions and energy exerted with a 14-point fourth quarter comeback and overtime win. Both teams are 3-0 in Big 12 play, and TCU's explosive, balanced and efficient offense gives them an advantage averaging 506 YPG vs FBS foes including 239 rushing. Kansas State will try to control the ball, clock and chains with their running game that goes for 234 YPG vs FBS foes and a superior defense allowing 16.7 points per game (20 vs FBS opponents) and a far better pass defense.
Opinion: Kansas State
If you're looking for another Top 25 upset late Saturday night, bet the better offense and defense of previously ranked Minnesota (+5.5) as my Golden Gophers tackle Penn State in front of a 'white-out' crowd in Happy Valley. The Gophers have defensive dominator numbers to go along with a solid, balanced 200 Club offense.
All Top 25 Games on Sat., Oct. 22
No. 1 Georgia and No. 4 Michigan remain undefeated and have a bye this week. No. 15 Utah and No. 12 USC also have a bye this week after those two teams played another thriller last Saturday in Utah's 43-42 win to hand Southern Cal their first loss of the season. No. 22 North Carolina and No. 23 NC State are also idle this week and the Wolfpack lost to surprising Syracuse last week playing without QB Devin Leary, who will miss the remainder of the season with a torn pectoral.
Odds below on Top 25 games from BetOnline.
No. 2 Ohio State (-30) vs. Iowa | 12 p.m. | FOX
No. 3 Tennessee (-37.5) vs. UT Martin | 12 p.m. | SEC Network
No. 5 Clemson (-13.5) vs. No. 14 Syracuse | 12 p.m. ET | ABC
No. 6 Alabama (-21) vs. No. 24 Mississippi State | 7 p.m. ET | ESPN
No. 7 Ole Miss at LSU (-3) | 3:30 p.m. ET | CBS
No. 8 TCU (-3.5) vs. No. 17 Kansas State | 8 p.m. ET | FS1
No. 9 UCLA at No. 10 Oregon (-6) | 3:30 p.m. ET | FOX
No. 11 Oklahoma State vs. No. 20 Texas (-6)| 3:30 p.m. ET | ABC
No. 13 Wake Forest (-20.5) vs. Boston College | 3:30 p.m. | ACC Network
No. 16 Penn State (-5.5) vs. Minnesota | 7:30 p.m. | ABC
No. 21 Cincinnati (-3) at SMU | 12 p.m. | ESPN
No. 25 Tulane (-7) vs. Memphis | 3:30 p.m. | ESPN2
Additional games of Interest
- Kansas at Baylor (-9.5)
- West Virginia at Texas Tech (-6)
- Purdue at Wisconsin (-2.5)
FairwayJay is a proven sports handicapper and is recognized as one of the sports industry's most insightful analysts. He chips in additional sports betting coverage and reporting on industry news and events. Follow FairwayJay here at OSGA.com and on Twitter @FairwayJay for more sports and betting insights.