College football Week 8 picks against the spread for every top-25 matchup
The college football season enters the midpoint this week, and Week 8 features three matchups between ranked teams.
The Pac-12 has a few afternoon matchups in the spotlight with No. 12 Oregon at No. 25 Washington (3:30 p.m., ABC) and No. 17 Arizona State at No. 13 Utah (6 p.m., FOX). The Big Ten gets the primetime spotlight with No. 16 Michigan at No. 7 Penn State (7:30 p.m., ABC). Even No. 1 Alabama gets a primetime slot against Tennessee (9 p.m., ESPN). in the Third Saturday in October.
Here is a look at our record so far this season:
Straight up: 113-27, .807 (14-4 last week)
Against the spread: 77-63, .550 (9-9 last week)
Upset picks: 2-8, .200 (1-1 last week)
With that, Sporting News’ Week 8 picks against the spread (provided courtesy of Sportsbook Review as of 2:30 p.m. ET on Monday, Oct. 14):
Friday, Oct. 18
No. 4 Ohio State (-28) at Northwestern
The Wildcats are 4-3 against the spread against the Buckeyes in the last seven meetings, but can their offense keep up with a well-rested Ohio State unit coming off the bye week? Northwestern ranks No. 128 in scoring offense. The Buckeyes cover to improve to 6-1 against the spread for the season.
Ohio State wins 42-13 and COVERS the spread.
Saturday, Oct. 19
No. 3 Clemson (-24) at Louisville
The Cardinals have averaged 51.5 points in back-to-back wins, and Scott Satterfield can use last year’s 77-16 loss as motivation. The wagering heavily favors Clemson, which is 4-1 against the spread with lines of more than 20 points this season. We are going against that. It comes down to whether the Cards can score 20 points or not. It will be close.
Clemson wins 42-21 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
West Virginia at No. 5 Oklahoma (-33.5)
The Sooners are heavy favorites against the Mountaineers and former quarterback Austin Kendall, though his status is in doubt after suffering a chest injury against Iowa State last week. Oklahoma will cruise at home, but West Virginia finds a way to get the back-door cover.
Oklahoma wins 51-21 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
No. 6 Wisconsin (-31) at Illinois
There’s a small risk of the Badgers peaking ahead to Ohio State, but the Badgers are 5-1 against the spread and have yet to allow more than 15 points in a single game. And the Buckeyes will be watching on TV. Jonathan Taylor goes off for four more touchdowns here.
Wisconsin wins 49-7 and COVERS the spread.
No. 9 Florida (-5.5) at South Carolina
South Carolina is coming off a huge upset, and Florida is coming off a loss in a top-10 showdown. The last five meetings in Columbia have been decided by 10 points or fewer. This one is no different.
Florida wins 24-14 and COVERS the spread.
No. 11 Auburn (-19) at Arkansas
The Tigers had a week to stew after their loss to Florida, and now comes a road date with Arkansas before the big showdown with LSU. The Razorbacks have lost three straight one-score games and are 2-4 against the spread.
Auburn wins 35-14 and COVERS the spread.
Purdue at No. 23 Iowa (-18.5)
The Hawkeyes are coming off back-to-back losses, but there should be some motivation here after losing 38-36 to the Boilermakers last year. Purdue found its rhythm behind 420 passing yards from Jack Plummer last week. Iowa gets back on track, but it takes a while.
Iowa wins 31-17 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
No. 2 LSU (-19) at Mississippi State
Is this the dreaded trap game for the Tigers? Mississippi State is coming off a loss to Tennessee, and the Tigers have this game sandwiched between top-10 showdowns. LSU lost the last meeting in Starkville by 30 points. Joe Burrow helps the Tigers flip the script.
LSU wins 47-17 and COVERS the spread.
No. 12 Oregon (-3) at No. 25 Washington
This should be the best game of the week. Oregon can put a stake in Washington, take control of the Pac-12 North and flex with a defense that ranks third in the FBS at 8.7 points per game. If the Ducks truly are a Playoff contender, then this is the game to show it.
Oregon wins 21-17 and COVERS the spread.
Temple at No. 19 SMU (-7.5)
Temple ruined Memphis’ unbeaten season last week and has a chance to do it on the road against SMU. The contrast in styles is remarkable, and the Owls will be able to hang around here if the pass defense, which allows 199.5 yards per game, holds up. It will.
Temple wins 34-30 in an UPSET.
No. 20 Minnesota (-28.5) at Rutgers
The Gophers are heavy favorites here, and with good reason. The Scarlet Knights have been shut out three of the last five weeks, with the latest coming against Indiana. Minnesota, meanwhile, has put up 34 points or more in its last five victories.
Minnesota wins 41-7 and COVERS the spread.
Tulsa at No. 21 Cincinnati (-17)
The Bearcats are 5-1 against the spread and covered double digits on the road at Houston last week. Tulsa is coming off a 28-point loss to Navy. Look for Cincinnati to cover late in the fourth quarter.
Cincinnati wins 38-17 and COVERS the spread.
UL-Monroe at No. 24 Appalachian State (-14.5)
The Mountaineers are ranked with an offense that ranks 10th in the FBS at 41 points per game. UL-Monroe won the last meeting 52-45 in 2017.
Appalachian State wins 41-27 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
No. 18 Baylor at Oklahoma State (-3)
The Cowboys are 1-1 against ranked teams this season, and this is the second time they have been favored to beat a ranked team in Stillwater. The Bears have won four of the last five meetings and proved they can win a shootout against Texas Tech last weekend. Can they do it again?
Oklahoma State wins 34-30 and COVERS the spread.
No. 22 Missouri (-21.5) at Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt is coming off an embarrassing 34-10 loss to UNLV while Missouri has quietly flipped its season in the right direction with five straight wins. Kelly Bryant could go for 300 yards for the second straight week here, but expect Vanderbilt to play with a little more edge at home.
Missouri wins 34-14 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
Kentucky at No. 10 Georgia (-25)
Georgia is 3-2 against the spread when it is more than 20 points this season, and it got the wake-up call with the upset loss to South Carolina. Kentucky allow 5.1 yards per carry on the ground, and the Bulldogs stay angry in the second half.
Georgia wins 42-13 and COVERS the spread.
No. 17 Arizona State at No. 13 Utah (-13.5)
It’s an elimination game for two Pac-12 South teams, and a chance for the Sun Devils to score a signature victory under Herm Edwards. Arizona State’s last four games have been decided by a touchdown or less. This one won’t be any different.
Utah wins 34-28 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
Kansas at No. 15 Texas (-21.5)
Texas’ Playoff hopes crashed in the loss to Oklahoma, and there is little margin for error to get to the Big 12 championship game. This is more about focusing against a Les Miles-team that will throw a few wrinkles at the Longhorns after the bye week.
Texas wins 47-20 and COVERS the spread.
No. 16 Michigan at No. 7 Penn State (-8.5)
The average margin of victory in the last three meetings is 33 points per game. These teams love trading blowouts, and in theory it’s Penn State’s turns. It’s on Michigan to prove it can win a big road game, and this is another chance for Jim Harbaugh against a top-10 opponent. This time, we get a close one.
Penn State wins 24-20 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
Tennessee at No. 1 Alabama (-34.5)
The spread seems too high until you see the Crimson Tide have won the last three meetings by 39, 38 and 37 points, respectively. It’s on Tennessee — coming off a confidence-building victory against Mississippi State — to keep it close. Alabama is 2-2 against the spread when favored by 30 points or more this year.
Alabama wins 49-17 but FAILS TO COVERS the spread.
No. 14 Boise State (-7) at BYU
The Cougars are coming off a bad loss against South Florida and face a Boise State team that has covered each of the last four weeks. The Broncos won the last meeting in Provo by 17 points.
Boise State wins 34-17 and COVERS the spread.