10 College Football Picks Against the Spread (ATS) for Week 8

Can Purdue make Ohio State sweat on Saturday night?

The Week 8 edition of college football picks against the spread is highlighted by an intriguing Big Ten battle between perennial power Ohio State and upstart Purdue, an SEC West clash between reeling Auburn and high-scoring Ole Miss and a key Pac-12 North game between Oregon and Washington State in Pullman. Here are 10 predictions for games against the spread.

 

Purdue (+13.5) over Ohio State

Here’s a stat that might surprise some people: Purdue ranks 12th nationally in yards per play at 7.0. That’s up from 5.6 per play a year ago in Jeff Brohm’s first season. This much-improved offense could cause some problems for an Ohio State defense that gave up 511 total yards to TCU, 206 yards rushing and 286 yards passing to Penn State and 396 yards (on a 7.1-yard average) to Minnesota. Saturday night in West Lafayette could get interesting. Ohio State 34, Purdue 24

 

Auburn (-4) over Ole Miss

Auburn actually did some good things on offense on Saturday — the Tigers had 448 yards (best against an FBS opponent this season) — but turned the ball over three times in a disheartening 30–24 loss at home to Tennessee. Yards and points should be easier to come by this week against a porous Ole Miss defense, but can the Auburn defense find a way to slow down the Rebels’ attack? Last Saturday night, Ole Miss rallied from 17 points down to beat Arkansas on the strength of an offense that rolled up 611 yards — 387 in the air and 224 on the ground. Losing wide receiver D.K. Metcalf to injury is a blow, but the Rebs have plenty of weapons. This one should be fun. Auburn 34, Ole Miss 27

 

Virginia (+7.5) over Duke

Virginia: college football picks against the spreadThis is a surprisingly important game in the ACC Coastal Division. Virginia is 2–1 in the league, highlighted by last week’s 16–13 win over Miami, while Duke is 1–1 with a win at Georgia Tech and a loss at home to Virginia Tech. Duke has somehow won two big games this year with fewer than 310 yards of offense; the Devils beat Northwestern with 301 yards and Georgia Tech with 304. At some point, the offense will need to be more productive. Virginia knocked off Miami even though quarterback Bryce Perkins managed only 61 yards rushing and 92 yards passing. The Cavs won’t win too many more games unless Perkins provides more in the passing game. Duke 24, Virginia 23

 

Northwestern (-20.5) over Rutgers

Rutgers’ quarterbacks completed 2-of-17 attempts for a total of eight yards with no touchdowns and five interceptions in a 34–7 loss to Maryland. Let that sink in. Northwestern has won two straight, at Michigan State and at home vs. Nebraska, despite netting a total of 40 rushing yards (eight vs. Michigan State, 32 vs. Nebraska). Quarterback Clayton Thorson attempted 64 passes last week and has had 47 or more attempts in three of the last four games. Expect more of the same on Saturday. Northwestern 41, Rutgers 10

 

Oklahoma (-7.5) over TCU

TCU is averaging only 15.7 points in its three Big 12 games — and one came against Texas Tech at home. Only two Power 5 teams nationally are averaging fewer points in league play, Mississippi State (12.0 ppg) and Rutgers (11.0 ppg). Oklahoma hasn’t played since losing 48–45 to Texas in Dallas. The Sooners were done in by a defense that was torched for 48 points and 501 yards, but don’t forget that this is still an elite offense that leads the nation with 8.9 yards per play and ranks fifth in scoring at 48.0 points per game. It’s tough to see TCU scoring enough — even against a suspect OU defense — to win this game. Oklahoma 30, TCU 20

 

Temple (-3.5) over Cincinnati

UCF is stealing most of the headlines, but Cincinnati and Temple are also undefeated in AAC play. Cincinnati, at 6–0, is one of the surprise teams in the nation through the first half of the season. The turnaround has been dramatic: Last year, the Bearcats were outscored by an average of 10.9 points per game en route to a 4–8 record; in 2018, they are outscoring their opponents by an average of 24.6 points per game. The schedule hasn’t been taxing — UCLA is probably the best team UC has played — but it’s still an impressive job by second-year coach Luke Fickell and his staff. Temple’s transformation has been in season; the Owls opened the year with losses to Villanova and Buffalo but have won four of five since, with the only loss by 10 points at Boston College. This team is playing very well on both sides of the ball. Temple 30, Cincinnati 20

 

Eastern Michigan (-3) over Ball State

In a stunning development, Eastern Michigan was involved in a close game last Saturday. This time, the Eagles won, holding on to beat Toledo 28–26 when the Rockets’ two-point conversion failed in the final seconds. EMU had season highs (against an FBS opponent) in rushing yards (229) and yards per play (6.8) on the way to snapping an 11-game losing streak to Toledo. Ball State is showing signs of life under third-year coach Mike Neu, but the Cardinals’ two league wins have come against two teams (Kent State and Central Michigan) that have not defeated another FBS opponent. Eastern Michigan 27, Ball State 21

 

Oregon (+2.5) over Washington State

Oregon is a late fumble away vs. Stanford from being undefeated and ranked in the top five in the nation. The Ducks have some issues defensively, but they have one of the nation’s top quarterbacks in Justin Herbert and an offense that is averaging 482.8 yards per game. Washington State has been perhaps the biggest surprise in the league to date, with a 5–1 record and the only loss by three points at USC. The Cougars lost highly regarded coordinator Alex Grinch to Ohio State yet still rank second in the league in total defense with 313.7 yards allowed per game. It’s dangerous to pick against Wazzu at Martin Stadium — which should be crazy with College GameDay in town — but Oregon appears to be the better team. Oregon 33, Washington State 27

 

UCLA (-7) over Arizona

With Khalil Tate sidelined due to an ankle injury, Arizona will turn to Rhett Rodriguez — son of the Wildcats’ former head coach — as the starter this weekend. Even with Tate in the lineup, the Arizona offense had been struggling; the Cats are averaging 27.4 points per game, down from 41.3 in 2017. UCLA broke through with the first win of the Chip Kelley era, dismantling Cal 37–7 in Berkeley. The Bruins topped 200 rushing yards for the first time this season thanks to a career-high 157 yards from Joshua Kelley, a transfer from UC Davis who sat out last season. UCLA has scored a combined 61 points the last two weeks after scoring no more than 21 in any of its first four games. UCLA 28, Arizona 14

 

Missouri (-9.5) over Memphis

Memphis is coming off a painful loss at home to UCF — a game in which it led until the 12:14 mark of the fourth quarter. The Tigers have played two road games to date, losing 22–21 at Navy and 40–24 at Tulane. The Navy game was a bit fluky — UM outgained the Midshipmen by nearly 4.0 yards per play — but it’s notable that this offense has averaged only 23 points in its two games away from the Liberty Bowl. Missouri has lost three straight after opening with a 3–0 mark, though it should be noted that the losses have been to Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama, the latter two on the road. This is an explosive Mizzou team that should be able to outscore a good but not great Memphis team. Missouri 41, Memphis 31

 

Last week: 6-4

Season: 31-39

 

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