College Football Best Bets for Week 8
As with anything in life, all good things must end. That’s particularly true with winning runs in the wild world of college football wagering.
After going 11-2 over the previous two weeks, I came back down to earth with a 1-1-2 mark on last week’s picks – although I did say to take Tennessee with the points over Alabama and also that the Vols would beat the Tide outright, so there’s that.
But that’s in the past. Let’s look to the future. Time to get back on track and all of that.
My picks are in CAPS with the plus or minus points beside the team I’m taking and the betting price.
Syracuse at CLEMSON (-13.5, -110)
There are three reasons why I like Clemson minus the points here.
One: I’m not sold on Syracuse despite remaining unbeaten (6-0).
Two: No. 5 Clemson needs to not only win but do it with style in order to move up the CFB rankings while seeking a spot in the four-team playoff.
Three: While the Orange’s defense has squeezed the life out of opposing offenses so far this season, allowing just 13 points a game (10th best in the nation), Syracuse hasn’t faced anyone as talented as Clemson QB DJ Uiagalelei. He’s thrown for 1,665 yards, 17 touchdowns with only two interceptions, while also averaging 4.2 yards per rushing attempt. Clemson is 7-1 against the spread in its last eight games against an ACC opponent, but the difference will be the play of one cool DJ.
UCLA at OREGON (-6, -115), total points UNDER 70.5 (+100), Oregon QB Bo Nix OVER 36 yards rushing (-115)
Because this is ESPN’s GameDay marquee matchup, a showdown of the last two unbeaten teams in the Pac-12 and a nationally televised game (3:30 p.m. ET on FOX), I’m giving you three picks I like to play out.
But first and foremost, let’s talk about the weather. Forecasters are calling for a wet and rainy Saturday in Eugene. So even though Oregon averages 42 points a game and UCLA 41.5 (for a combined 81.5, 11 points over the current number), I’m betting it’s not quite going to be the shootout everyone might be expecting.
As far as Ducks quarterback Bo Nix goes, he’s averaging 55 yards rushing a game and yet the betting line is almost 20 yards lower than that. He may not get 55 but I’ll bet he gets at least 37 … and that’s all you need.
Finally, as far as the actual outcome, the Bruins have been brilliant in their last two victories over a pair of ranked conference teams, Utah and Washington, but those were both at home in the sunny Rose Bowl. UCLA head coach Chip Kelly has never beaten his former team in three tries, and Autzen Stadium is one of the loudest, toughest places in the country to earn a road win.
I thought about taking Kelly’s gang, led by elusive QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who is fast and quickly emerging as a possible Heisman Trophy darkhorse and future NFL star.
But the mighty Ducks are on a roll after getting bulldozed by Georgia in the first game of the season.
And history is on Oregon’s side.
Oregon has won three straight meetings against UCLA, nine of the past 10 in the series and seven straight home games against the Bruins.
It's the first time since 2014 that two Top 10-ranked teams meet at Autzen Stadium and the sixth time that two teams in the Top 10 will face each other in Eugene. Oregon is 5-0 in the last five of those games. The Ducks will make it six and cover the six points on Saturday.