The College Football Dogs: Week 8 CFB Bets

The College Football Dogs: Week 8 CFB Bets

After picking up a much needed 4.8U during the week LB looks ahead to the Saturday slate of NCAAF Week Eight fixtures and picks his best bets and upsets across all of College Football.

 

Syracuse @ Clemson

Before the season nobody could have expected this to be a clash of unbeaten sides, but here we are. Syracuse are outperforming almost anyone’s expectations and a decent result here would cement their place as a legitimate ACC contender. Clemson have been favored in all six games so far – so their record is no surprise. What is surprising, however, is how they got here. I expected their defense to be one of the best in college football this year. That is most certainly not the case. They are ranked 30th for Total Defense and the truth is that might be a little generous. On the flip side, I expected a repeat of Clemson’s offenses woes this season and that too has not happened. Although I still have my doubts about DJ there is no question he has improved greatly and The Tigers’ offense is solid.

Clemson arrive off the back of a tough run and I would be worried they might suffer a lapse in concentration. NC State kept The Tigers in a one score game until the 4th Quarter – without their star QB Devin Leary. Wake Forest pushed Clemson to double OT. Florida State played to the end and lost by less than a TD, after putting up a monster 460 yards last week. It has been a slog. This is the first home game after three weeks on the road, before a bye and then a trip to Notre Dame. With a very lopsided record against Syracuse they could be forgiven for taking their eye off the ball.

Another thing that worries me about Clemson is a potential regression to the mean in terms of their efficiency. They have made 36 trips into the RedZone and scored 36 times, including 26 TDs. Against a Syracuse defense that limited NC State to just 3 FGs they could be a problem.

Syracuse for their part look surprisingly well balanced. They are putting up more than 2 yards per play (9th in the FBS) and look legitimately explosive on offense. I was not hot on Clemson from the outset so if they lost here it would not surprise me. However, even if I am completely wrong on that, this looks well suited for a backdoor, garbage time cover. There is always the risk that Clemson just click and this is a blowout but considering where this falls on The Tigers’ schedule I cannot see it.

UCLA @ Oregon

The Bruins have an awful record against The Ducks (1-9) but I fancy the upset. UCLA has had a very soft schedule, that is true, but they have scored more than 40 points in five of six games so far, including against #15 Washington and #11 Utah. Oregon certainly have rebounded impressively since their humbling in Atlanta but I worry they are flattering to deceive. Washington State and Stanford managed to score 5 and 3 TDs against the Oregon defense respectively and this Chip Kelly offense could have a field day. Situationally, both teams are coming off a bye but that will suit UCLA more. Kelly has finally got a roster and system in sync and I’m beginning to believe The Bruins could be the best of the Pac-12.

Mississippi State @ Alabama

This is a Top 25 clash in name only. The Crimson Tide are 21 point favorites and the only way The Bulldogs cover is in garbage time. Everyone knows that Bama lost to Tennessee last week and the narrative rightly has focused on how impressive Hendor Hook and The Vols offense was. However, Tenn finished that game with a 53% win expectancy. It was essentially a coin toss that Alabama lost on a last second FG. Bama were caught cold and allowed 3 TDs in the first quarter before coming to terms with the hostile environment. Not to mention the whopping 130 penalty yards they gave up. Back in Tuscaloosa things will be very different and I can see The Tide stomping all over Miss State.

Last season Alabama lost to a last second FG in College Station the week before playing Mississippi State. That was a weaker Tide team, arguably a better Bulldogs side, and Bama won that game 49-9. Alabama’s previous loss was way back in 2019 against Joe Burrow’s LSU. The following game they played Mississippi State and won 38-7. The omens are not good.

Iowa @ Ohio State

The CFB’s most complete offense hosts the sport’s ultimate spoilers. OSU are 29 point favorites but would anyone be surprised if they got dragged into a Hawkeyes Special? Iowa have conceded less than 10 points per game and would love nothing more than to make this one ugly. As tempting as it is to back Iowa plus the points, or even the under, there is another angle worth considering. CJ Stroud has 24 TDs so far and is rightly one of the Heisman front runners. His passing yards total is set at 298.5 here. Considering Iowa held Michigan to just 155 yards through the air, Illinois to 116 and Iowa State to 184, this line seems awfully high. If Iowa gets their way and this turns into the opposite of a shootout, then Strout should get nowhere near that mark. Conversely, if OSU run roughshod over The Hawkeyes they will likely lay off the passing, especially with an eye on a crucial Big Ten trip to Penn State on the horizon.

Smart Bets

Syracuse @ Clemson: Syracuse +14 2U

UCLA @ Oregon: UCLA +6.5

UCLA @ Oregon: UCLA Moneyline Win +210 (21/10)

Mississippi State @ Alabama: 1st Half Alabama -12.5

Iowa @ Ohio State: C.J. Stroud under 298.5 Passing Yards

 

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