Betting Against The Spread: Week 8 Picks

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Athlon's Braden Gall offers his top college football picks against the spread each week.

Athlon's Braden Gall offers his top college football picks against the spread each week.

-by Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden on twitter)

The road favorites did me well last week as I went 9-3 for a second straight weekend. I missed two of my top three, however, as South Florida laid a complete egg in Storrs and Georgia Tech was upset at Virginia. But Stanford, Oklahoma State and Washington have been failsafes on the college football gambling gridiron.

Which brings us to Week 8, where to of the best teams against the spread - Stanford (6-0) and Washington (5-1) - will do battle. Something has to give this weekend in Palo Alto (Hint: The line seems way to big). But I am going back to the deep and plentiful Oklahoma State well once again this weekend as the Pokes head to Missouri.

But first, we pick on Colonel Reb once again...

Season Record ATS: 46-23-2 (9-3 last week)

Week 8's Top Picks:

1. Arkansas (-15) at Ole Miss
The Rebels have been downright atrocious on defense allowing no less than 24 points since Week 1 of the season. The Rebels are 106th in total defense and 80th in scoring defense while ranking 117th in total offense and scoring only 20 points per game on the other side of the ball. The Hogs won 38-24 last season and are scoring an SEC second-best 39.2 points per game. Look for Tyler Wilson to have a field day against a defense that just allowed 52 points to Alabama. My Pick: Arkansas -15

2. Illinois (-3.5) at Purdue
Prior to last week’s defeat in the Horeshoe, the Illini had rolled along with a top ten defense and top ten rushing attack. So they should be hungry to get back on track after their poor showing last week. Ron Zook’s team torched the Boilers last season 44-10 as Nathan Scheelhaase began his coming out party (118 yards rushing and four passing touchdowns). Purdue has been acceptable on defense but won’t be able to score enough points against a defense that leads the Big Ten in sacks and tackles for a loss and is second against the run. My Pick: Illinois -3.5

3. Oklahoma State (-6.5) at Missouri
I just can’t help myself. I am going back to the Oklahoma State well again after an undefeated Cowboys' team started the season 5-1 against the spread. One factor to consider is that Gary Pinkel has never faced quarterback Brandon Weeden – which should give the slight advantage to the elderly passer. Both teams will be able to run the ball, but Pinkel will have to rely too heavily on a first-year starter at quarterback to gain those yards on the ground while Weeden attacks the Tigers defensive weakness – the pass defense. My pick: Oklahoma State -6.5

4. Kansas State (-10.5) at Kansas
The gritty, tough-nosed Wildcats will be facing the single-worst defense in the nation this weekend. Kansas is allowing 565 yards per game (120th) and 49 points per game (also 120th), so Collin Klein should have no trouble moving his team up and down the field. Meanwhile, Bill Snyder’s defense is still one of the top units in the Big 12 (second in scoring and fourth in total yards), so do not expect the Jayhawks to keep this one close. My Pick: Kansas State -10.5

5. Wake Forest (-3) at Duke
The Deacons got a rude awakening last weekend at the hands of the Hokies (38-17) but will be facing a slightly less talented opponent this week. Florida State rolled up 41 points and 481 yards of offense last week against the Devils and we all know what happened two weeks ago between Wake and FSU. While this game is usually close, Tanner Price should have no problem scoring enough points to beat their rivals by more than three. My Pick: Wake Forest -3

6. Washington (+20) at Stanford
The Cardinal are still the only team in the nation unbeaten against the spread (6-0) but that streak could be coming to an end this weekend. Vegas has watched the NCAA’s top ten crush its points spreads and this one simply appears to be compensating for that fact. Keith Price and the Huskies are playing as good football as any team in the nation and will certainly test the Cardinal secondary. Since Price has yet to throw less than three touchdowns in any game this season, Stanford will have to top the 40-point mark (at least) to cover this time around against a team that has also been great ATS (5-1). My Pick: Washington +20

7. Tulsa (-10) at Rice
After a nasty early season schedule, Tulsa and quarterback GJ Kinne are starting to hit their stride. Kinne has topped 300 yards and thrown three touchdowns in two straight easy wins over North Texas and UAB. Rice is coming off road loss at Marshall and is ranked 115th in total defense nationally. Kinne rolled up 416 yards of total offense and four touchdowns in last season's 64-27 win over Rice. It will be closer in 2011, but not that much closer. My Pick: Tulsa -10

If you are feeling lucky

8. USC (+8.5) at Notre Dame
This is a good Irish team that has clearly shaken off the grime of those first two losses. But USC is also playing its best football as well. In a rivalry game that means as much as it does to both sides, large margins of victory are rare. Matt Barkley has accounted for seven touchdowns in the last two games and might be playing the best football of his life. An outright win might be a bit too much to ask for, but this looks like way too many points to me. My Pick: USC +8.5

9. Rutgers (+2) at Louisville
The Scarlet Knights have not been winning pretty but they do all the things a well-coached team should. They take care of the football (leading the nation in TO Margin), the get after the quarterback (4.0 sacks per game, No. 2 nationally), they play good defense (No. 1 in the Big East in scoring defense). The Ville has not protected the quarterback (117th in QB sacks allowed), has not protected the ball (96th in TO Margin) and has not scored many points (16.3 ppg, 111th nationally). This is a game Greg Schiano has to have to be a contender in 2011, so I like the Knights to win outright. My Pick: Rutgers +2

10. Oregon State (+3) at Washington State
I cannot remember the last time I felt great about the Cougars covering a Pac-12 game? But Oregon State has clearly been the worst team in the league this fall and just allowed 38 points to Riley Nelson and BYU. Quarterback Jeff Tuel wasn't eased back into action whatsoever last weekend as he faced the Stanford buzzsaw. The Beavers 112th ranked pass efficiency defense should not slow what is the best Wazzu team nearly half a decade. My Pick: Wazzu -3

2011 Trends:

6-0 Against the Spread: Stanford

6-1 Against the Spread: Alabama, Clemson, Temple,

5-1 Against the Spread: Arkansas St, Kansas St, Oklahoma St, Rutgers, UTEP, Washington, Wisconsin

5-2 Against the Spread: LSU, Michigan, San Jose St, Western Michigan

1-5 Against the Spread: Boston College, Colorado St, Nebraska, NC St (1-4-1), Troy,

1-6 Against the Spread: Central Michigan, Kent St, Penn St,

Other Week 8 Content:

Mitch Light's Top Ten Games of Week 8
Steven Lassan's Top Storylines to Watch from Week 8
Athlon Sports Predicts Every Game from Week 8

Exclude From Games: 
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<p> Athlon's Braden Gall offers his top college football picks against the spread each week.</p>
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