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Betting Against the Spread: College Football Week 8 Picks


This Saturday's college football slate isn't the greatest with a lack of marquee matchups across the country. It's a great opportunity for you to get to know some FCS football and the site of ESPN's “College GameDay.” Fourth-ranked James Madison is hosting No. 11 Richmond and this is the only matchup in the country between two top 12 teams. The Dukes have a win over SMU and a rushing attack that is putting up over 300 yards per game. The Spiders’ only loss came to Maryland in the opener and it was only because Terrapins’ cornerback/return specialist William Likely put on a show. These two are playing in a game with a total of 72.5 points. Find a way to tune in and you'll thank me next week when these teams put on a show.

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Record: 34-34 (3-8 last week)

Utah State (4-2) at San Diego State (4-3) (Friday)

In what could be a preview of the Mountain West Championship Game, San Diego State hosts Utah State. Both teams have not lost in conference play and are doing it in different ways. The Aztecs are clamping down defensively, holding their last three opponents to just 28 points while Utah State is outscoring them. San Diego State relies on its run game and Donnell Pumphrey, who is now healthy. He could find it tough to find holes with the Aggies holding all but one opponent to 110 rushing yards or fewer. Utah State has managed without oft-injured quarterback Chuckie Keeton, but the offense could struggle in this one. San Diego State has played in 23 unders in its last 33 games including 11 of its last 16 at home. SELECTION: Under 44

Eastern Michigan (1-6) at Northern Illinois (4-3)

Eastern Michigan picked up its lone win early, but has struggled to do much since then. One could point at the Eagles’ defense, which allows 43.9 points per game and 513 yards of offense. They have given up 58, 44, 47 and 63 points in their last four games and those teams have offenses comparable to NIU. The Huskies have had their schedule lighten up and so have the scoreboards. They have scored 104 points in their last two games against Ball State and Miami (Ohio). In what seems to be a theme, NIU could be looking ahead to its Nov. 3 date with Toledo, as the two teams are big rivals. EMU's offense has perked up with the health of its quarterbacks improving. Eastern Michigan has gone over in 22 of its last 31 games, including 21 of the last 29 as an underdog. The last time these two played in DeKalb it was a 59-20 NIU win. SELECTION: Over 69.5

Miami (Ohio) (1-6) at Western Michigan (3-3)

The Broncos are rolling having won three of their last four. It seems that they have enjoyed the benefits of tough tests against Michigan State, Ohio State and Georgia Southern early on in the year. Western Michigan has a solid offense that can beat you on the ground and through the air with Jarvion Franklin and Zach Terrell. Miami has lost six straight with the road losses being by 58, 42, 6 and 31 points. The RedHawks have scored just 102 points this season and don't scare anyone. Last year this was a 41-10 Broncs win in Oxford. WMU has covered in 18 of its last 31 games overall. The RedHawks are woefully outmatched. SELECTION: Western Michigan -26

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Duke (5-1) at Virginia Tech (3-4)

The Hokies limp home after a tough loss to Miami last time out. Waiting for them in Blacksburg is a Blue Devils team that is rested off a bye and looking to continue their hot start. Looking closer at their numbers though, one could say they really haven't been challenged much this season. They put up good numbers against Tulane, NC Central and Army and struggled against Northwestern and Boston College. You could look at the 19-10 loss to Northwestern and wonder how realistic it was considering the Wildcats are struggling to do much of anything offensively right now. Michael Brewer is back under center for Virginia Tech and that's going to help the offense move the ball in this one. The last time the Hokies were home, they beat NC State in a game they had to have. With all the money streaming in on the road team, the home team has some great value. SELECTION: Virginia Tech -2

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Western Kentucky (6-1) at LSU (6-0)

In a game that could be one of the few upset bids on a tame Saturday, LSU hosts Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers don't have the horses to slow down Leonard Fournette and the rest of the Tigers’ offense. LSU also has recently discovered its passing game and that has made this team a lot tougher. WKU allowed 38 points at Indiana and 28 points at woeful North Texas. The Tigers’ defense has given up 21 points or more in five straight games and may struggle with the aerial attack of the Hilltoppers. Brandon Doughty is getting things done although he may be without Tyler Higbee, one of the best tight ends in the country. Focus could be an issue here for the home team considering Alabama is next on the schedule on Nov. 7. Western Kentucky has played 20 overs in its last 32 games including nine of 11 as an underdog. LSU has played 17 overs in its last 26 games as a favorite. SELECTION: Over 66

Wagner (0-6) at BYU (5-2)

This one is going to get real ugly on Saturday. The Seahawks lost to a mediocre Rice team 56-16 in their opener and the Cougars are a lot better. Wagner has scored just 79 points overall this season and will find it hard to move the ball on BYU. Motivation and focus shouldn’t be much of an issue for the Cougars, whose next game is against San Jose State on Nov. 6. BYU has put up 83 points in its last two games, both of which were at home. Last year the Cougars drummed Savannah State 64-0 at home in late November. The year before BYU crushed Idaho State 59-13. If Wagner scores it'll be an upset. SELECTION: BYU -50

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- Undefeated Memphis could struggle with focus on Friday night. The Tigers are coming off a huge win at home over Ole Miss and are now heading to Tulsa to play a Golden Hurricane team that has lost three of four, but can score points. Memphis has read clippings about how good it is all week and how Justin Fuente is going to be the next head coach at four or five other schools next year. The most important thing if you back Tulsa in this one is that you need a fast start. Focus issues disappear the longer the game goes and the closer it is. If Memphis isn't punched in the mouth early, then the Tigers could win this game rather easily.

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- The lowest total on the board by far is Missouri and Vanderbilt, a game that has a number of 35. Neither of these teams have seen a number this low since at least 1992. As a matter of fact, the Tigers have played in just one road game with a total of 42 or less since 1992. Mizzou has scored just 55 points in its last five games while Vanderbilt has held four opponents to 20 points or fewer. The two teams have played unders in every game this season. It's a no play for me because a low total like this doesn't stand up well especially if there are fluke plays on either side.

— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Josephs prefers non-Power 5 college football and may be the only one wagering on the Sun Belt. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.