College football Week 8 picks against the spread for every top-25 game
Week 8 of the 2018 college football season features four matchups between teams ranked in the AP Top 25.
No. 6 Michigan opens those matchups with a noon rivalry game at No. 24 Michigan State. No. 16 N.C. State travels to No. 2 Clemson at 3:30 p.m. The primetime slot features No. 22 Mississippi State at No. 5 LSU and No. 25 Washington State at No. 12 Oregon. Several games can be livestreamed on fuboTV as well.
Here is a look at our record so far:
Straight up: 115-25, .821 (11-5 last week)
Against the spread: 74-52, .587 (8-8 last week)
Upset picks: 6-5, .545 (1-0 last week)
And now, Sporting News’ picks against the spread for Week 8:
No. 20 Cincinnati at Temple (-3.5)
The Bearcats are one of three remaining unbeatens in the AAC, and they are a road underdog against the Owls, who are 4-0 at home. Cincinnati, however, has won three road games this season and had an extra week to prepare. Desmond Ridder’s efficient play at quarterback is the difference. Cincinnati wins 31-24 and COVERS the spread.
Maryland vs. No. 19 Iowa (-10)
The line dropped a few points from its open, but the Hawkeyes are coming off 20-plus point victories against Minnesota and Indiana. The Terps beat Texas and hung around for a half at Michigan, and the defense can create turnovers. Maryland must stick with the running game against an Iowa defense that allows just 81.5 yards on the ground per game. Iowa wins 28-21 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
No. 6 Michigan (-7) at No. 24 Michigan State
Both teams are coming off huge Big Ten victories. The Spartans are 8-3 against Michigan under Mark Dantonio, but the Wolverines controlled the last meeting in East Lansing 32-23. It’s a matchup of two outstanding run defenses. The Spartans are No. 1 in the FBS (62.3 ypg.) and Michigan is No. 15 (108.9 ypg). It’s going to come down which quarterback makes the big plays — and Brian Lewerke did that in the last meeting. Can Shea Patterson change the narrative? The Wolverines win, but nothing comes easy. Michigan wins 23-19 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
No. 9 Oklahoma (-7.5) at TCU
What happened to the Horned Frogs? They’ve averaged just 14.7 points per game since the loss to Ohio State and have slipped to 3-3 on the season. The Sooners can’t lose again, and the defense has something to prove after the dismissal of defensive coordinator Mike Stoops. Quarterback Kyler Murray bounces back big time in a blowout. Oklahoma wins 44-24 and COVERS the spread.
Illinois at No. 23 Wisconsin (-25.5)
It depends on the Badgers’ state of mind. Illinois is coming off a 46-7 loss, and the Badgers have no room for error if they want to remain the Big Ten championship hunt. Illinois ranks 106th in the FBS in run defense, allowing 199.5 yards a game. This could be a monster game for Jonathan Taylor. Wisconsin is 1-3 against the spread at home this season, but they get it done. Wisconsin wins 42-14 and COVERS the spread.
No. 18 Penn State (-14.5) at Indiana
Both teams suffered disappointing losses last week. The line bumped up a point, and the Nittany Lions have won by an average of 10 points a game the last two trips to Bloomington. The Hoosiers are capable of make it interesting if Penn State isn’t interested, but after back-to-back 26-point losses it’s hard to take that leap. Penn State wins 38-21 and COVERS the spread.
No. 16 N.C. State at No. 3 Clemson (-16.5)
It’s a battle for ACC Atlantic supremacy, and both teams had an extra week to prepare. It’s also a battle of good quarterbacks in Ryan Finley and Trevor Lawrence. Clemson won the last two meetings by a touchdown, and the Wolfpack should have had the last meeting at Memorial Stadium. We think the line is too high, but the Tigers still march on. Clemson wins 34-24 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
No. 1 Alabama (-28.5) at Tennessee
There’s a chance star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (knee) doesn’t start for the Crimson Tide. Alabama has been favored by 22.5 points or more in every game this season, and they are 4-3 against those ridiculous spreads. Tennessee has shown improvement after blowing out Auburn, and former Tide defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt knows Nick Saban well. It’s enough of a factor for the Vols to cover: Alabama wins 44-19 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
Colorado at No. 15 Washington (-17)
Both teams are coming off disappointing losses, and the Huskies are 1-2 as a double-digit favorite this season. Colorado lost to USC, but the Buffaloes have enough on offense that they should be able to hang around if Washington is uninterested after suffering its second loss of the season. Steven Montez has been more efficient than Jake Browning to this point. Washington wins 38-27 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
UCF (-21) at East Carolina
The Knights survived Memphis’ best upset shot, and the nation’s longest win streak is up to 19 games. Now, it’s time to catch the College Football Playoff committee’s attention. The Pirates have lost their last two conference games by an average of 32.5 points. UCF wins 56-17 and COVERS the spread.
No. 22 Mississippi State at No. 5 LSU (-6.5)
The challenge here is not to look ahead to LSU vs. Alabama. We admit we’re doing it. The Tigers can’t afford to, however — not against a Mississippi State team that beat the Tigers 37-7 last year. The Bulldogs, however, average just 12 points a game in SEC play. It’s going to be ugly at times, and that favors the Tigers at home. LSU wins 26-13 and COVERS the spread.
No. 21 South Florida (-32.5) at UConn
The Bulls escaped from Tulsa with a victory and return home to face a bad UConn team that has lost five games by more than 30 points this season. The Huskies haven’t scored more than 21 points against an FBS school. It’s bad, but USF hasn’t won a game by more than 20 points this season. We’ll meet in the middle. USF wins 51-21 and FAILS TO COVER the spread.
No. 2 Ohio State (-13.5) at Purdue
This is a tough spread given the variables. Ohio State lost at Purdue in 2009 and 2011, but that was before Urban Meyer arrived in Columbus. The Boilers also put this in primetime. Purdue has recalibrated after an 0-3 start and could start quick, but can they sustain it for four quarters? Ohio State pulls away in the second half. Ohio State wins 48-27 and COVERS the spread.
No. 12 Oregon at No. 25 Washington State (-3)
It’s a Pac-12 North showdown that will determine who the highest-ranked Pac-12 team will be in the first Playoff rankings. Gardner Minshew (19 touchdowns, four interceptions) and Justin Herbert (17 touchdowns, five interceptions) should put on a show in a thriller. Oregon keeps the momentum rolling. Oregon wins 48-45 in an UPSET.
Vanderbilt at No. 14 Kentucky (-11)
The Commodores travel to Kentucky, which had a bye week and won last year’s meeting 44-21. The power running game wears on Vandy, which has allowed 183.3 yards per game on the ground. Kentucky gets back on track in the SEC East race. Kentucky wins 34-20 and COVERS the spread.