- Week 8 of NCAAF is here, providing great spots to fade last week’s results.
- Clemson and Baylor are suspiciously unpopular options as favorites.
- Tennessee is facing an ultimate sandwich spot this weekend.
Week 8 of the college football calendar has arrived, and with it comes a new table of NCAAF odds.
Accordingly, I’ve got a fresh set of picks to hand out.
College Football Best Bets: Week 8 Predictions
After I’ve handicapped the whole board each week, I will publish my five best plays from the wider canon of college football odds.
I’ll provide a short explanation of why I like each bet, so you don’t have to go on faith alone.
If you prefer an audio version of this weekly article, you can always subscribe to The Lion’s Edge, my weekly handicapping podcast for BetMGM.
The column was due for a losing week last week, which is exactly what we got. We were 14-6-1 over four weeks prior to the Week 7 setback, so I’m confident that we’ll get back on the horse this Saturday. To the picks!
Syracuse at Clemson (-13.5)
This is a major ACC showdown featuring two undefeated teams with big-time ACC championship implications. And whenever you see two undefeated teams playing in a big game in late October, you expect to see a tight point spread. Right?
Yet here, Clemson is nearly a two-touchdown favorite. The book is telling you how little it respects Syracuse, in spite of the showdown status and conference implications of the game.
Unsurprisingly, public bettors see an undefeated team catching 13.5 points and have flocked to that position, with 62% of the market-wide bets backing the Orange.
But it’s actually Clemson that’s getting nearly three-quarters of the market handle, with sharp action ostensibly verifying the sportsbook’s marginal opinion on ‘Cuse. Back Clemson to keep rolling.
Play: Clemson -13.5
UT-Martin at Tennessee
This is my favorite bet of the week. Knoxville has been partying for four straight days, and everyone in America that has access to college football betting odds wants a piece of the Vols.
This is the ultimate letdown spot, as Tennessee must play FCS UT-Martin off a bye, sandwiched between key SEC games against Alabama and Kentucky. How do the Vols get up for this game? Conversely, how does UT-Martin not treat this like their Super Bowl?
Half the players on the UT-Martin roster are likely home-grown kids that grew up wanting to play for the Vols but never got recruited as SEC talent. They’re going to take out all their rage and frustration in this one game.
Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not suggesting that UT-Martin is going to upset Tennessee.
What I am saying is that this point spread is going to be something insane. Martin +38? Martin +48? +52? Whatever it is, write my name down in blood. I love this bet.
Play: UT-Martin +?????
Kansas at Baylor (-8.5)
Baylor is taking heat for losing to West Virginia last Thursday, but Morgantown has defeated better teams on a distant weeknight. As a West Virginian and former city resident, I can tell you: it gets super, super weird there, in the best possible way.
Now, Baylor goes home to host a crumbling Kansas team that just lost by double digits to Oklahoma last week. Mind you, an Oklahoma squad that might quietly be one of the worst teams in the Big 12.
Baylor will have no problem moving the ball and scoring points against the Kansas defense, and I trust Aranda and his defense to force more stops than the Sooners did.
Like a kid who hasn’t learned not to touch the hot stove, public bettors keep backing Kansas because of the narrative power of the Jayhawks. More than 70% of the market-wide tickets are on KU here. But there was a reason they were a crappy public dog last week, and that logic still holds true this week in Waco.
Play: Baylor -8.5
Ole Miss at LSU (-1.5)
This is just a play on some of the key fundamentals behind my college football betting strategies.
First off, there’s reverse line movement in this game. A majority of tickets are behind No. 7 Ole Miss, yet the line has moved from Ole Miss -1 to LSU -1.5. The Action Network has verified sharp action driving the movement.
Maybe more importantly, this game now falls into a key trend that I like to target: Unranked favorites playing against ranked underdogs.
This column is 2-0 this season when betting on such games. Earlier this season, I gave you unranked Washington over Michigan State; later, I gave out Mississippi State over Texas A&M.
College football odds markets are consistently a more reliable predictor of winners and losers than the AP Poll.
Play: LSU -1.5
Arkansas State at Louisiana (-6.5)
This game features two teams that will struggle to get bowl-eligible this year, so you’d be forgiven for overlooking it.
Louisiana is the reigning Sun Belt champion but has looked pretty mediocre in every game it’s played this season. Suddenly, the Ragin’ Cajuns get a win at Marshall – one of the only G5 teams slumping harder than Louisiana right now – and all is forgotten.
Louisiana should not be a near-touchdown favorite in any conference game right now – even against Arkansas State (2-5). Yes, the Red Wolves’ record is bad, but they’ve been quite competitive in just about every game this season.
They lost by a single point at Southern Miss last week. Two weeks ago, they were within one score of James Madison entering the fourth quarter. Ditto for a game against Memphis last month.
Arkansas State is competitive in part because it has former Florida State quarterback James Blackman throwing the ball. I also believe it has a coaching advantage, with A-State’s Butch Jones scheming against first-time head coach Michael Desormeaux.
I think Arkansas State is live to win this game. I’m taking the points, along with a +200 ticket on the moneyline.
Play: Arkansas State +6.5
College Football Parlay
Just too many legs these past two weeks. The problem with including big moneyline favorites in your parlay is they don’t do much to alter the math of your parlay, yet they’re still susceptible to upsets. This week, I’m keeping it simple with a 3-teamer for -101 odds.
- Texas Tech -250
- Maryland -600
- James Madison -450
College Football Predictions
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