NCAA Football Betting Predictions: Week 8 Opening Line Report and Picks
The Big Ten is returning to action in college football. It only took until Week 8. The Pac 12 won’t be playing for a couple more weeks.
Due to the Big Ten and Pac-12 opting into the season late, we’ve had some extremely weird AP rankings this season. In Week 7 alone, there were five ranked teams that lost, including North Carolina, who lost to Florida State, 31-28, as the fifth best team in the nation.
Thank goodness we’ve got Big Ten football, because North Carolina had no business being the 5th best team in the country. Florida State came into their battle against North Carolina with a record of 1-3. Florida State was allowing nearly 500 yards on defense, but that wasn’t enough for North Carolina (apparently).
Other teams that had no business in the top 25 were No. 18 Tennessee, who lost 34-7 to Kentucky, and No. 21 Louisiana, who lost to Coastal Carolina, 30-27. Auburn lost back-to-back games in the SEC and are now in jeopardy of losing a Top 25 spot behind Bo Nix.
It’s been an extremely weird season, but one thing's for certain. We need Big Ten and Pac 12 football to return to even the playing field. Having Big Ten football back is much better for the NCAA this week. We should never have a Sun Belt team in the Top 25 this early in the season.
If a team like Appalachian State goes undefeated in conference play, they should absolutely be ranked. But before then, none of these teams truly deserve a spot in the Top 25. If you look at this week’s ranked schedule, you’ll now find Coastal Carolina ranked at 25th in the nation after their upset win against Louisiana. There’s also a Conference-USA team in the Top 25 (Marshall).
Ranking means nothing this season. Every conference and league has played by different rules and have had different amounts of time to prepare for this season. Teams have also been hit with COVID and lost key players along with opt outs. Nothing is fair this season.
But when everything gets back to normal, you will not see a team outside a Power 5 conference in the Top 25 this early in the season ever again.
NC State vs North Carolina (-16.5, 64.5): Wait. Am I reading this right? North Carolina is a 16.5-point favorite after losing to Florida State? The disrespect for NC State is real. NC State is now ranked 23rd in the nation and are 4-1 on the season after wins against Wake Forest, Pittsburgh, Virginia, and Duke. The defense has allowed 31.4 points per game, but the offense is averaging 33.6 per game. If Florida State is capable of dropping 31 on North Carolina, NC State is too. This is a rivalry game where you’d expect both teams to grind it out. There’s no chance North Carolina is better than two scores in this one. Pick: NC State
Iowa State vs Oklahoma State (-3.5, 53.5): I just want to see these two teams play. Iowa State hasn’t played since October 10, while Oklahoma State hasn’t played since October 3. Oklahoma State has played tremendous defense in their first three games of the season, holding teams to nine points per game. They didn’t play poor opponents, either. They shut down Tulsa to seven points, West Virginia to 13 and Kansas to seven. Iowa State averages nearly 30 points per game and have scored more than 30 points in their last three games against TCU, Oklahoma and Texas Tech, with all three games being wins. Both run defenses have been good this season, but Oklahoma State has held opponents to just 274.3 yards on offense per game. That’ll be enough at home in this one. Pick: Oklahoma State.
Cincinnati vs SMU (-2.5, 57.5): Combined, these teams are 8-0. SMU has started the season 5-0, while Cincinnati has started 3-0. Cincinnati hasn’t played since October 3 after their game against Tulsa was postponed last week due to COVID. Meanwhile, SMU is coming off a nail biter win against Tulane where they won 37-34 to keep their winning streak alive. Cincinnati has played very solid defensively, but they’re going up against one of the best offenses in the nation in SMU. SMU averages 563.2 yards per game, but Cincinnati allows just 306.7 yards on defense. The reality is that Cincinnati hasn’t played a high-powered offense like SMU yet. They’ll be exposed. Pick: SMU.
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