BFC Week 8 odds, picks, predictions and best bets

This article is part of our College Football Picks series.

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Chris’ picks

Back in the win column last week after the first losing week of the previous year, and it could have been better. Miami took a 20-0 lead before nearly blowing it and failing to cover. I hit another totally unlike me total, and Clemson held on for another positive week. The lines are getting sharper and we have a plethora of weeks off so there aren’t as many options to choose from. No bueno when I’ve already struggled to come up with five picks for each of the past two weeks. Let’s see where we land in Week 8. I won’t allow myself to go the opposite direction and take Duke as cover against Miami. It’s not sound picking. But guess what, Miami won’t cover! Duke is better coached because the current Canes roster is used to being pampered.

Northern Illinois (-3) in Ohio

I didn’t have confidence in myself last week against the Huskies. They had struggled before, but were preseason conference favorites and dogs against Eastern Michigan. They shouldn’t have been, winning 39-10, and that line makes it look like we don’t trust their turnaround. Michigan State transfer Rocky Lombardi is back under center after missing time through injury, and the Huskies have their run game underway, ranking 32nd with 193.0 ypg and 4.8 ypc. That should play well against a Bobcat defense that’s allowing 4.6 ypc and 161.1 ypg rushing with 14 TDs in seven games.

Missouri (-13.5) Missouri against Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt scored 31 conference points in three games, including 28 against an unselfish Ole Miss team whose game was sandwiched between two tough games. It’s also a classic spot where last week’s opponent can beat the Commodores twice, as they’re surely beaten physically and emotionally by Georgia. Meanwhile, Missouri is fresh, having not played last week. They took Georgia to the brink and suffered no disappointment in the next outing on a trip to Florida. They seem to be improving on both sides and earning my trust. With just two wins, this is one they need to take seriously. Shop around and find this under two touchdowns, although it probably doesn’t matter.

UCLA (+6.5) in Oregon

Taking a road dog into Autzen Stadium is usually not the preference. That’s even less the case for a team that’s only played one road game so far, in lowly Colorado. But Bruins coach Chip Kelly is returning to his old turf and has had an extra week to prepare. It’s a veteran group that shouldn’t be overwhelmed by the vibe. Dorian Thompson-Robinson will have match points at worst in what is expected to be a high-scoring, home-and-away, single-possession game.

Freedom (+7) Freedom against BYU

The line has been dancing here all week, falling and then rising above its open (-6.5), and hopefully will continue to climb. Liberty has already scored big victories in its rise to power, but it’s a different beast. Getting BYU on their campus is a huge deal for non-football reasons. The school is trying to build itself into the East Coast version of BYU. Lynchburg will become a zoo; both inside and outside the stadium. BYU is traveling east and could be a bit beaten down physically and mentally after games against Notre Dame and Arkansas. Liberty could also pick up former Baylor and Utah QB Charlie Brewer, further boosting their chances. BYU just doesn’t strike me as a team that goes on the road and wins hard. BYU is also 2-5 ATS, dropping five straight.

More than 63.5 Charlotte vs. Florida International

Both of these teams are pitiful defensively. Charlotte has the worst defense in the country, giving up 44.6 points per game. The CRF ranks 122nd in allowing 36.8 ppg. My math says if they’re both average here, it’s 81.4 points, which gives us three scores as a cushion. Charlotte is a known commodity offensively. QB Chris Reynolds has a trio of good receivers who will exploit FIU’s young secondary, I like them to flirt safely with 40 points here. So we really need the Panthers to get into the 20s. Unfortunately the number has steadily increased over the week, opening at 59.5, so don’t wait if you’re interested. The most is 5-2 in Charlotte contests, but only 2-4 in FIUs. We need Charlotte’s defense to continue to be porous.

Last week: 3-2; season 24-16

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I mentioned last week how nice it was to sit down and write this article after posting a 4-1 week, well 4-1 straight weeks is even better! Seriously, I’m still hesitant to get high in this business because no matter how hard you run, a bad week is never far away. Regardless of that thought, I’m not as excited about the map this week as I have been for the past two weeks, so keep that in mind.

Before coming to this week’s matches, a little background. The only loss came to Kansas, which simply had no defense. The offense kept them close enough for backdoor cover, but the defense just couldn’t stop the Sooners. The victories started with Illinois winning, and I might add quite easily, as an outright dog. Iowa State was another easy win as the Cyclones were within a score pretty much the entire way. Tennessee with the points was pretty stress free and even though the Volunteers trailed by seven late in the game, it didn’t take long to tie and ultimately win the game. The final win was over the TCU and it wasn’t easy at all, in fact, I probably shouldn’t have won that match, but with the help of OT the number exceeded the total.

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Clemson (-13.5) against Syracuse

I don’t want to dismiss the 6-0 record that Orange posted, but they were very lucky with how the schedule fell to this point. They faced a messy Louisville team (at home) in Week 1, beat a Purdue in fluid fashion as Aidan O’Connell received his legs (at home) and outplayed a good NC State team who missed his departure. QB (also at home). They’ve run their business, to their credit, but this week is a whole different beast. This Clemson team is a far cry from the teams that have won national championships in the last decade, but it’s getting better every week and the Tigers should have enough to separate themselves here.

More Kansas (58.5) Kansas at Baylor

That line opened at 63.5 and nosedived assuming Baylor stud QB Blake Shapen would be unavailable after suffering a concussion last week against West Virginia. A few things to note here though, first although this may seem to go against conventional wisdom, I think the college game is more lenient when it comes to pushing players through concussion protocol cerebral, especially after the recent events in the NFL. Second, as of Wednesday, Shapen was back in practice. Now, that could be a smokescreen as Baylor might try to sneak in their save, but it looks like Shapen has a good chance to play. If he does, it’s an easy game because Baylor has been a supermachine in conference play and as I mentioned earlier, Kansas has no defense.

More (50.5) Purdue in Wisconsin

Purdue is rolling on offense right now after scoring 74 points over the past two weeks. Wisconsin isn’t quite the same team that historically would eliminate every game, the Badgers will commit if needed and I think that’s what’s happening here. The Badger defense isn’t what it has been for the past few years and quite honestly, even if it were, I’m not sure they would be able to stop the Purdue offense. On the other side of the ball, the Badgers opened up their offense a bit as Graham Mertz showed his ability to move the team around at times. Sitting just above 50, it shouldn’t be too difficult to top that total.

Penn State Penn State (-4) against Minnesota

Which team bounces back after a bad loss? Well you know what I think the answer is and it’s Penn State. I mentioned last week that I was a little lost against Minnesota this year but after getting the pick last week I think I know what the Gophers are and they’re a team that can beat bad teams but who will fight against mid-level teams. . Penn State was even playing Michigan for a half last week, and then all hell broke loose. The Nittany Lions have been run all over the place and while that seems like a bad sign for this week since the Gophers rely heavily on their running game, I guess the ‘Lions have been working on their run defense all week and since the Minnesota has no air attack, I think it works in favor of Penn State.

California (+7.5) against washington

We all know that California lost last week to the worst team in college football (Colorado) and while it will be hard to support a team that could only muster 13 points against Colorado, I think that’s the right game for one major reason – Pride. This must have been a miserable week for the Bears and I’m sure they can’t wait to get back on the court and try to make everyone forget what just happened. Meanwhile, Washington hasn’t been the same since losing at UCLA three weeks ago. The problem has been defense as the Huskies have allowed an average of 36 points per game over their last three games. It will be difficult to cover more than one TD on the road with a defense that plays like that.

Last week: 4-1-0, Last season: 20-18-0

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