Week 8 of college football featured no ranked teams going head-to-head and was widely expected to be a lackluster slate of games. So, in true CFB fashion, it was wild, featuring the first-ever nine overtime game, a couple of key upsets, and some close calls for top teams.
The stage is set for fireworks in Week 9, with three marquee matchups in the Big Ten: Michigan at Michigan State, Penn State at Ohio State, and Iowa at Wisconsin. Sprinkle in some crucial SEC action, a dash of Big 12 intrigue, and plenty more fun around the country, and we’re looking at a fascinating week for college football betting. Here are some of the most interesting NCAA football spreads this week.
Iowa at Wisconsin (-3.5)
Iowa enters Camp Randall coming off a bye week after a gut-punching loss at home to Purdue. Wisconsin enters after beating Purdue on the road handily. Iowa’s offensive strength is in its running game with Tyler Goodson, but Wisconsin boasts the top run defense in the country.
It seems natural to pick Wisconsin, favored by 3.5, to cover based on the recent common opponent. But as Lee Corso would say, “Not so fast, my friend!” Even-keeled Kirk Ferentz is not one to let a loss derail a season.
The difference in this game is turnovers. Wisconsin is -8 on the year in turnover margin, with Graham Mertz proving to be an interception machine. Iowa is +11 with 16 picks on the year. I’m picking Iowa to win a barn-burner and hit the under despite the total being 36.5.
Ole Miss at Auburn
As is often the case, Auburn enters the later part of the season as one of the highest-ranked two-loss teams. However, they come off a bye week following a solid win at Arkansas.
Ole Miss, at 6-1, was expected to be good, but not this good. Lane Kiffin’s squad has a dynamic offense with Heisman contender Matt Corral at quarterback. But their defense has been troublesome, and their best win of the season at home against Arkansas was tenuous at best.
This is a matchup where I would pick the home team, so I believe that Auburn will cover the 2.5-point spread.
Texas at Baylor
Both squads are coming off bye weeks. Texas lost back-to-back games to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State in the weeks prior, while Baylor earned solid home wins over West Virginia and BYU.
Texas can move the ball and score, but their defense is porous. On the other hand, Upstart Baylor has quietly shown an ability to defend, giving up just 18.7 points per game. ESPN’s FPI gives Texas the slight edge, but Baylor is favored by 2.5 at home. This game is a tricky one, but I have Texas pulling this off to save their season.
North Carolina at Notre Dame
In the pre-season, this was billed as a huge game. With both teams struggling to find their footing, it’s been downgraded some but is still big for each program.
Notre Dame enters off a solid win over USC while UNC comes in off a bye. Given the night game atmosphere, ND’s slight offensive progress, and UNC’s struggling defense, I’m picking Notre Dame to cover the 3.5-point spread. However, I’m also picking under 62.5 based on two underperforming offenses.
UCLA at Utah
Fresh off a disappointing close loss to Oregon, UCLA looks to rebound at Utah, a team finally playing up to expectations. Yes, they lost at Oregon State last week, but Corvallis is a tough place to play in October.
Utah is favored by 6.5 at home, but Dorian Thompson-Robinson and the Bruins will be out for blood in a battle with significant Pac-12 South implications. I wouldn’t be surprised if UCLA takes this one, and I think they’ll at least beat the spread.
Place Your Bets on These NCAA Football Spreads
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