During the college football season, stadium staff will provide weekly betting picks and tips at this roundtable. here are our thoughts on the week 8 list.
Note: Ben and Nate will discuss all of their NFL and college football betting on the Sharp Lessons podcast. subscribe to spotify and apple to watch episodes and follow stadium betting on twitter for more sports betting content.
Reading: Week 8 college football predictions
1. what is your favorite choice against the spread?
alex symonds, senior stadium producer: utsa -6.5 on louisiana tech.
A few weeks ago in this column, I established that I am a company man, so once again I need to remind you, dear reader, that you can watch this game on Saturday night at 7 p.m. et at the stadium with chris hassel and patrick murray on the call. I went against tech last week (and cashed in a +225 ticket on utep in the process), and I’m going back to the pot when the bulldogs play utsa. Tech’s defense is giving up 5.9 yards per play this season, and I expect QB Frank Harris (1,600 passing yards, 211 rushing yards, 16 total TD) and the UTSA offense to get to work.
I’m concerned about a tech cover in this situation, but with the roadrunners ranked for the first time in program history, I’m hopeful utsa coach jeff traylor will have his foot on the gas if it comes to one . score the game in the fourth quarter to keep that number next to your team name in the future.
ben wittenstein, stadium social media producer: clemson +3.5 over pittsburgh.
This is downright disrespectful to tigers. His two ls have only come against the best team in the country and in double overtime away from home. however, somehow, people have written off fighting dabos this season, perhaps due to their lack of offensive wins/beatdowns? so this is the first time tigers are underdogs in acc game since 2016!
I don’t think they played bad enough to get +3.5 against pitt. Sure, their offense could struggle, but I think their talented defense can keep them in this game. if you’re daring, sprinkle some on clemson ml, but as long as it stays +3 or higher, tigers should be a perfect low buy.
kate constable, stadium hostess & digital producer: ucla -1 over oregon.
this line opened with oregon as the favorite in the rose bowl, but quickly became a pick ’em before moving in favor of the home team. The Ducks haven’t looked very impressive since their win over Ohio State. In fact, they haven’t covered since that game, which was in Week 2. Meanwhile, UCLA is 7-3 in its last 10 games against Pac-12 opponents.
Both teams have solid running attacks, but losing cj verdell for the season to a leg injury is a huge blow to this oregon backfield. Combine that with the fact that UCLA has one of the best rushing defenses in college football, allowing just 91 rushing yards per game, and the Bruins have a chance to slow down the Ducks.
nate jacobson, stadium sports betting analyst: iowa state -7 over oklahoma state.
Last week, I bet texas -3.5 against oklahoma state. the cowboys won the game outright, but i don’t think i made a bad bet. Texas, leading 17-3 late in the first half, was leading with a chance to go up three scores before Oklahoma State had an interception returned for a game-changing touchdown. The Longhorns’ offense stalled in the second half and the Cowboys ended up winning by eight points.
now mike gundy’s team is back on the road as a seven point underdog, even though they are the no. 8 playing against an unranked team with two losses. The point differential indicates that Oklahoma State has been lucky this season, while Iowa State is undervalued after early losses to Iowa and Baylor. Matt Campbell-led teams traditionally start off slow, so I look forward to their best effort now that we’re at the midpoint of the season and they also have a chance to make it to the Big 12 title game.
2. what other bet do you like?
such as: maryland +4.5 over minnesota.
These two teams are going in different directions. After a 4-0 start, Maryland has been outscored 117-31 in consecutive losses and also lost wide receivers Dontay Demus Jr. and jeshaun jones for the season. Meanwhile, Minnesota has won two straight against Purdue and Nebraska after an embarrassing loss to Bowling Green. So why do I like Maryland and the points in this matchup? The Terps have had a bye week to get plenty of snaps for their replacement pass receivers and install new wrinkles on the offense before facing a gopher defense that allows 7.0 yards per pass attempt.
Also, Minnesota’s winning streak is a bit suspect when you dig deeper into the scoring chart. Purdue outscored the Gophers 448-294, while Nebraska missed a 27-yard field goal and also came up empty-handed with three scoring opportunities from the two-yard line. terps should be able to keep this close and potentially win outright.
bw: under 58 at usc-notre dame.
I just don’t trust any of these teams to score big. USC has a strong passing game, but the Irish defense has been above average in completion percentage and yards allowed. When you turn it around, Notre Dame’s offense has been extremely hit and miss with Jack Coan and Tyler Buchner behind center. Note that when the total has been set between 55.5 and 61.5 in games between Notre Dame and USC this season, the result is a combined 3-0.
kc: minnesota -4.5 over maryland.
as alex mentioned earlier, the terps have had big problems on offense, and now they’re also starting to see injuries pile up on defense, losing linebacker durell nchami, who had surgery on his upper of the body that ended the season. With their aforementioned depleted receiving corps, the Terps could be forced to run the ball against the Gophers’ solid run defense, who only allow 3.1 yards per carry. Minnesota still has a shot at the top spot in the Big Ten West, so they’ll need all the wins they can get going forward.
nj: Under 51 in Northwest Michigan.
michigan is favored by 23.5 in this game, so the low total suggests the wolverines will dominate across the board. I had my doubts about Michigan this season, but they proved him wrong with road wins in Wisconsin and Nebraska. I still have a few questions about his offense, but his defense will shut down a below-average Northwest offense. Michigan has a big game at Michigan State next Saturday so I can see a very conservative offensive game plan so they don’t record too much.
3. Which loser of +200 or more on the money line has the best chance of an absolute surprise?
like: lsu (+280) about ole miss.
i’m going for a big number here because i think this bet will go one of two ways lsu is a no show and loses by 20+ points or ed orgeron gets another inspired performance from his team and the tigers surprise ole miss like hounds of highway. Basically, I don’t see a scenario where both ole miss wins and lsu covers the 9 point difference.
You’ve probably already heard that orgeron and lsu will part ways after the season, but what you probably don’t know is that the tigers running offense has woken up in the last two weeks averaging 5.85 yards per rush. On the other hand, Ole Miss is allowing nearly 200 rushing yards per game. lsu clearly has an edge in that matchup, so if you add in the fact that qb matt corral is iffy with an undisclosed injury, i feel pretty good about the potential for an upset in oxford.
bw: oklahoma state (+210) over iowa state.
Iowa State has been playing better football lately, which is what Matt Campbell’s teams tend to do as the season goes on. but the cowboys have really looked great this season, especially on defense. A stray dog in an environment like ames is a tall order for anyone, but the defense of the state should keep them in this game where the margins will be very slim. Iowa State has already been upset at home this season, and the undefeated Cowboys could do it twice.
kc: oklahoma state (+210) over iowa state.
This game has me a bit confused. Is an undefeated Oklahoma State team whose last three wins have come over ranked opponents an underdog for a 4-2 Iowa State program? Clearly, I’m missing something. Both teams have solid running games behind Iowa State’s Breece Hall and OSU’s Jaylen Warren, who ranks third in the Big 12 with 117.5 yards per game.
four of osu’s wins were in the single digits this year, which likely plays a role in iowa state being the favorite here, but the cowboys’ defense has limited opponents to just 19.5 points per game and held Texas’ high-powered offense to just 24 points last week. I think this game will be much closer than the line indicates, giving osu a chance to spring an upset.
nj: georgia tech (+200) over virginia.
Whenever two mid-tier acc teams play each other, I tend to look to the underdog because the gap between the middle of the conference is small. This game sets up perfectly with Virginia as a 6.5-point favorite who has had some good luck this season. They beat Miami by two points after the Hurricanes missed a 33-yard field goal at the buzzer. a week later, they rallied from a 30-13 fourth-quarter deficit to beat louisville.
georgia tech has shown improvement since their embarrassing week 1 loss to northern illinois. They nearly beat Clemson on the road in Week 3 and followed that up with a beating of North Carolina. the gilets jaunes are coming out and I hope they keep this game close, with a chance to win.
4. what’s one bet you’re tempted to make this week, but know you probably shouldn’t?
such as: ucf +2.5 over memphis.
UCF’s season began with an unlikely victory against Boise State and a nondescript 63-14 victory over Bethune-Cookman. The Knights were also in fine form against Louisville in Week 3 before QB Dillon Gabriel threw an ill-timed interception and broke his collarbone in a 42-35 loss. Without Gabriel, this team has been lost going 1-2 overall and 0-3 in games in October. I’ve backed the Knights in two of those games, and I think that’s a long way of saying that I’m not putting my money in UCF again this season (unless Gabriel returns under center). That includes this week against Memphis.
bw: virginia tech -3 over syracuse.
I originally wanted to bet on virginia tech at this spot, but after doing some more research, I think this line should probably be closer to -1. VT’s offense hasn’t inspired anyone over the last few games, while Syracuse has slowly but surely put together solid performances, even coming close to beating Clemson last week at home. This is going to be a really ugly game offensively, so with a perspective like that, I’ll stay away.
kc: Under 51 in Northwest Michigan.
I wanted to make this my “other bet I like”, but something told me not to. we know michigan’s defense has been one of the best in the country, while northwestern’s offense has been shaky, so i don’t anticipate the wildcats putting a lot of points on the board. As for Michigan, they are one of the best teams in the country, running on almost 70% of the offensive snaps. On top of that, they face one of the worst rushing defenses in the country in the Northwest, which is giving up nearly six yards a carry. so will michigan be able to up the score and put a 50 piece in the ‘cats? Or will they instead score 40 and keep Northwest off the board? I’m not sure so I’ll stay away.
nj: clemson +3.5 over pittsburgh.
some sportsbooks publish point spreads for the biggest games of the college football season in the summer, and the line for this game was clemson -17.5. It’s pretty shocking that we’ve gotten to a point where Clemson is now an underdog in a conference game, but that’s probably a justified downgrade since the Tigers are 0-5 against FBS teams this season. I imagine dabo swinney will remind his team that they are underdogs, which could motivate them to live up to expectations. That being said, I’m concerned there are irreparable problems with Clemson’s offense and they won’t be able to come back if Pitt takes an early lead.
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