Ranked teams are no sure bet in Week 8

NCAA Football

This is an interesting week in college football. There aren’t many marquee matchups, but there are several unranked teams favored over ranked teams on the board at BetMGM. Several of those games made the cut for my picks this week.

I’m coming off a 6-2 outing in Week 7, and that included a tough beat on the under in the Nebraska vs. Minnesota game. Nonetheless, that performance got me back to .500 for the year. Let’s keep it rolling.

Last week: 6-2

Overall: 24-24-1

(Note: All times ET, odds from BetMGM)

Time: Noon | Line: Wake -3.5 | Total: 52.5

Wake Forest is the final undefeated team remaining in the ACC. It has a tricky game at Army on Saturday. The Demon Deacons are 6-0, but their last two games were just three-point victories.

In both of those wins, Wake got gashed on the ground, allowing 208 yards to Louisville and then 354 yards to Syracuse. The Demon Deacons have the No. 92 rush defense in the country. That’s not exactly a great recipe when facing Army’s option attack.

Though Wake Forest had a bye week to prepare for Army, I still expect the Black Knights to have enough success to limit possessions in this game. What concerns me about picking an Army upset is the turnaround from a very physical road game against Wisconsin. Instead, I’m going with the under.

Pick: Under 52.5

Time: 3 p.m. | Line: Wisconsin -3 | Total: 40

This spread makes no sense. I understand there’s a potential letdown spot for Purdue after last week’s upset over No. 2 Iowa. I understand that Wisconsin has a very good defense. But Wisconsin has not done anything this year that merits being a three-point road favorite in this spot.

Wisconsin still has the same identity. It’s going to try to maul opponents with its rushing game. But when the Badgers play a defense with a pulse, they have not been able to do that. UW lacks the game-breaking talent at running back it has had in the past and the offensive line play has been underwhelming.

If Wisconsin can’t run the ball, it puts pressure on Graham Mertz to make plays through the air. He has not shown he’s capable of doing so on a consistent basis. I’m also skeptical Wisconsin has the speed in the secondary to defend David Bell.

Purdue is 16-6 ATS as an underdog and 7-3 ATS as a home underdog under Jeff Brohm. I might be walking into a trap, but I’ll ride with Purdue getting points at home.

Pick: Purdue +3

Purdue quarterback Aidan O'Connell (16) celebrates with teammate wide receiver David Bell (3) after scoring on a 6-yard touchdown run during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Iowa, Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Purdue quarterback Aidan O’Connell (16) celebrates with teammate wide receiver David Bell after scoring on a 6-yard touchdown run during the first half against Iowa on Saturday. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Time: 3:30 p.m. | Line: ISU -7 | Total: 47

I get why unranked Iowa State is the favorite here over No. 8 Oklahoma State. Oklahoma State may be undefeated, but its average margin of victory is just seven points and its offense is ranked No. 81 nationally. And after a rough start, the Iowa State team that was ranked in the top 10 to begin the year seems to have turned a corner offensively.

Still, this line should be more like Iowa State -4.5, not a touchdown. Oklahoma State’s defense is strong against the run and should contain ISU’s Breece Hall. I also don’t think the Cyclones have the weapons at receiver to generate a bunch of big plays vs. the OSU secondary. OSU has a good run game and is much healthier at receiver than it was earlier this month.

These two teams always play close games. In fact, the past six meetings have been decided by seven points or fewer. Additionally, Oklahoma State is 7-3 ATS in its past 10 games as a road underdog.

Pick: Oklahoma State +7

Time: 3:30 p.m. | Line: Ole Miss -9 | Total: 76

Ole Miss is dealing with a bunch of injuries on offense, including a banged up QB Matt Corral. Corral, one of the betting favorites for the Heisman Trophy, ran the ball a ton in last week’s win over Tennessee and was described by Lane Kiffin as “not in very good shape” on Monday.

Whether he has turned the corner health-wise in the days since remains to be seen. That makes me like the under even more. Ole Miss has crazy high totals nearly every week, but I don’t think it’s merited against LSU. Sure, the Tigers ran all over Florida last week. On the whole, LSU’s offense has not been very good. Even if this ends up as a 41-34 game, you stay under the 76. I’ll take my chances.

Pick: Under 76

Mississippi head coach Lane Kiffin talks to quarterback Matt Corral (2) during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Tennessee Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
Mississippi head coach Lane Kiffin talks to quarterback Matt Corral (2) during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Tennessee Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

Time: 3:30 p.m. | Line: UCLA -2 | Total: 60

Here’s another game where the unranked team is favored, but I don’t like a side in this game. I like the total.

Oregon showed again last week against Cal that its offense isn’t capable of hitting explosive plays with the personnel it has right now. Anthony Brown and this group of receivers are just OK, and the absence of C.J. Verdell is putting a ton on the shoulders of Travis Dye.

UCLA runs the ball 62% of the time and wants to beat opponents off of play-action. Oregon has been solid against the run this year, allowing opponents to average just 3.7 yards per carry. Additionally, the Ducks’ defense has allowed only five pass plays of 30-plus yards.

Pick: Under 60

Time: 7:30 p.m. | Line: TCU -4.5 | Total: 56.5

West Virginia nearly upset Oklahoma in Norman on Sept. 25 and followed that up with disappointing losses to Texas Tech and Baylor. Now 2-4, WVU will travel to TCU coming off a bye. If the Mountaineers don’t get their stuff together this week, this season can go off the rails pretty quickly.

Luckily, TCU has one of the worst defenses in the country. The Horned Frogs are allowing 445.2 yards per game and 6.9 yards per play. WVU should put some points on the board here, but TCU will too — especially if Zach Evans returns to the lineup. TCU has been terrible against the spread at home in recent years, but I’m more comfortable going with the over in this spot.

Pick: Over 56.5

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