College Football Week 8: Best Bets & Analysis for this Weekend’s Top 25 Games

We’ve got some quality football on Saturday. The Big Ten and Mountain West have returned to action. It would be fun betting on those games, however, we’ve got no data for either conference. Luckily, there are three ranked games on the slate in other major conferences to look at.

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(23) NC State vs (14) North Carolina Saturday, Oct 24 at 12:00pm EST, ESPN

Less than a week ago, North Carolina was ranked 5. Then they lost 31-28 as their road comeback fell short against an underwhelming Florida State team.

North Carolina can put up points fast. Sam Howell, the sophomore quarterback has thrown for nine touchdowns and 1,151 yards in four games.

In that Florida State game, Howell was the guy brought UNC back into the game, throwing for 374 yards with 20 completions. In the loss, he had just 55.6 percent of completions and was sacked four games.

UNC’s offense averages 519 yards per game with just nearly 230 of it on the ground.

NC State’s defense has not been excellent either. NC State is allowing 421.4 yards per game with 153.2 yards on the ground. The Wolfpack will need to stop the North Carolina run force turnovers.

NC State is averaging 1.6 turnovers per game while UNC is averaging 1.3 turnovers per game. You’ll likely get one interception and a potential fumble. Would that be enough to cover the spread?

I’d say yes if Devin Leary was starting. However, Leary was injured in last week’s game and is not playing in this one with a broken fibula. Instead, NC Sate will rely on Bailey Hockman.

Hockman entered the game against Duke last week with NC State up one point. He led NC State on a big insurance touchdown and then NC State decided to run the ball and chew up clock with the lead.

If UNC is up early, NC State will have to throw. I don’t see NC State pulling off the upset but they should cover the spread.

NCAAF Pick: NC State +16 (-110) via FoxBet

(17) Iowa State vs (6) Oklahoma State Saturday, Oct 24 at 3:30pm EST, FOX

Oklahoma State has allowed nine points per game in three games this season against quality opponents like Tulsa and West Virginia.

Yes, I left out Kansas. Oklahoma State has to play Kansas. They don’t get a choice!

Anyway, Oklahoma State has looked incredible on defense. They’ve held teams to 93.7 yards per game on the ground and just 274.3 yards total per game.

Offensively, OKST is averaging 406 yards and over 200 yards on the ground behind Chubba Hubbard and that amazing Oklahoma State running game.

But don’t get it twisted, Iowa State has a great run defense as well. They’ve held their opponents to just 97.3 yards on the ground per game as well.

Iowa State lost their first game to Louisiana. Since then, they’ve rallied for three straight wins over TCU 37-34, Oklahoma 37-30 and Texas Tech 31-15.

Each game that Iowa State has won, they’ve scored over 30 points. It’s going to be a challenge scoring 30 on Oklahoma State.

Meanwhile, Iowa State’s defense has allowed over 30 points in three of their first four games.

Oklahoma State will look to rely on their running game with freshman quarterback Shane Illingworth still trying to figure things out with Spencer Sanders sidelined with an ankle injury.

Reports are that Sanders and Illingworth might gets snaps in this game.

Sanders quarerbacked Oklahoma State last season against IIowa State and helped get the win, 34-27, going 16-24 for two touchdowns and an interception for 249 yards. He completed 66.7 percent of his passes in that game and wasn’t sacked once.

Sanders can also run the ball effectively. Last year, he ran for 4.6 yards a carry and had games where he ran for 19 times.

Brock Purdy has been starting for Iowa State since 2018 as a freshman. He’s now a junior and has real leadership with this team.

Against Oklahoma State last season, he attempted 62 pass attempts and threw three interceptions, which was the most he had thrown in a game that season.

Don’t sleep on the Oklahoma State defense.

NCAAF Pick: Oklahoma State -3 (-118) via FoxBet

(9) Cincinnati vs (16) SMU Saturday, Oct 24 at 9:00pm EST, ESPN2

If you like offense, this late night game is for you.

SMU is averaging 42.6 points per game with 563.2 yards on offense. SMU has solidified themselves as one of the best offenses in the nation. No matter who is able to play on the field, SMU has some ballers.

SMU is throwing for 359.2 yards per game and rushing for 204. However, they’ll play a Bearcats team that has allowed just 12.3 points per game in three games so far.

Here’s the problem, Cincinnati hasn’t played much competition. They destroyed a South Florida team that stinks on offense along with APSU and Boston College. The only competition they had was Army, the number 22 ranked team, and beat them just 24-10.

SMU has poor defense. They’ve allowed 407.4 yards per game with 170 on the ground. However, Cincinnati has shown us anything offensively to think they’ll be able to outscore SMU.

They scored just 28 against USF when Temple scored 39. USF allowed more than 30 points per game yet the Bearcats couldn’t reach that milestone.

On the flip side, SMU has been tested a bit more recently. SMU defeated 25th ranked Memphis 30-27 and found a way against Tulane, 37-34 in overtime.

In those last two games, SMU’s offense has slumped a bit but Cincinnati doesn’t have the best secondary. This team hasn’t been tested like how SMU will test them.

Shane Buechele has 12 touchdowns with 1,710 yards in five games. SMU is 5-0 with thanks to his leadership and seniority.

Since the first start of the season against Texas State, Buechele hasn’t thrown an interception in four straight games. As long as he protects the football, SMU should be just fine.

To complete the argument, Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder hasn’t protected the football. He had three interceptions against USF and completed 61.5 percent of his passes.

Well, actually, he completed more. Three of those passes were interceptions…

The Bearcats lack that big play on offense. This is why games are defensive battles when teams play he Bearcats. SMU doesn’t lack the big play and will test that secondary of Cincinnati.

I like SMU to get the job done on the moneyline.

NCAAF Pick: SMU -132 via DraftKings

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