Oklahoma State, Mississippi Best Bets in NCAAF Week 8
Oklahoma State, Illinois, and Mississippi are on the betting sheet for this week’s NCAA Football best bets.
We aren’t including the game between the Iowa Hawkeyes and Northwestern Wildcats in our Three Bets this week. But we are contractually obligated to mention it here because TOTAL! That game opened with what one Las Vegas sportsbook said was the lowest total in college football betting history at 31.5.
This game between the worst offense in college football (hello, Iowa) and a 1-6 Northwestern team that lost to two MAC teams is the proverbial train wreck. It’s hideous, grotesque—and yet, even with the total ticking up to 35.5, you can’t look away.
Meanwhile, we are also contractually obligated to mention the better games out there in terms of value and, yes, aesthetics, including a great Big 12 duel with conference championship implications riding shotgun.
My picks went 2-1 last week and overall, I’m now 7-14-3.
Can the Underdog Cowboys Take Manhattan?
The Oklahoma State Cowboys are underdogs for the fourth time this season, pretty remarkable for a 6-1 team ranked ninth in the country. This apparently translates to having their opponents right where they want them. They were 6.5-point underdogs last week against the Texas Longhorns yet won 41-34. Their only loss as underdogs came in overtime two weeks ago against the unbeaten TCU Horned Frogs.
TCU is a sore subject in Manhattan this week after the Kansas State Wildcats blew a 28-10 lead to the Horned Frogs. The 38-28 loss ended the Wildcats’ unbeaten season, kneecapping Kansas State emotionally just in time for quarterback Spencer Sanders and the Cowboys’ high-flying offense to arrive in town.
Sanders has thrown for 2,030 yards and 15 touchdowns to only four interceptions. Now, throw in another eight TDs on the ground. He dissected the Longhorns for 391 yards and two TDs last week, guiding an offense averaging 467 yards and 44 points a game.
Kansas State, meanwhile, may be without injured dual-threat QB Adrian Martinez and running back Deuce Vaughn (744 yards, four TDs). Martinez is 116th in passing yardage (907 yards) with only four TDs through the air. But that undersells Martinez’s skills. He’s run for 546 yards and nine TDs, giving Wildcats’ defenders more to think about.
What both these teams must think about is this is a play-in game of sorts for the Big 12 title, with the winner still on target to reach the conference’s championship game and earn a likely rematch against TCU.
What bettors have to think about is contrarian information that seems to zig, such as Oklahoma State being 1-4 ATS in its last five meetings with Kansas State and 3-8 in its last 11. But we’re going to zag with Sanders and Co. especially considering the underdog in this series is 5-2 ATS in their last seven meetings. We’re saying this goes to 6-2.
Prediction: Oklahoma State +1.5 (-110 at BetMGM)
Watch: Saturday, 3:30 ET, FOX, FuboTV
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Not Your Father’s Cornhuskers Team
Regardless of whether Scott Frost, Jack Frost or Robert Frost is coaching the Nebraska Cornhuskers, one fact sticks out like a rogue corn stalk. The Cornhuskers have the worst defense in the Big Ten, allowing 190 yards a game on the ground, 471 total yards and 31.3 points per game.
Now, add the Illinois Fighting Illini’s Chase Brown, who averages 151.3 yards a game by himself. The nation’s leading runner (1,059 yards/5.5 ypc), Brown reminds ‘Huskers’ fans of that grain-threshing workhorse back of the previous century.
Nebraska doesn’t have one of those this year. What it does have Saturday is the respectable Anthony Grant (682 yards, six TDs). It does have the Illini at home.
Here’s what else it has Saturday. On the other end of the defensive spectrum, the Illini not only boast the Big Ten’s top defense, they boast the nation’s No. 1 unit. Illinois allows a stingy 8.9 points per game and only 222 yards to opponents. Opposing runners amass only 77 yards a game against the Illinois.
The line on this game is Illinois by a touchdown. But considering how inept Nebraska’s offense is moving the ball, considering how Illinois has allowed only two passing touchdowns this season, considering how time consuming the Illini’s running offense is, considering how the Under is 4-1-1 in Illinois’ last six games and how the Under is 5-2 in Nebraska’s last seven games, we’re considering one way here—the Under 50.5.
Prediction: Under 50.5 (-110 at GoldenNugget.com)
Watch: Saturday, 3:30 ET, ABC, FuboTV
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A&M Stands for “Awful Momentum”
You would think that blowing a 20-17 halftime lead by surrendering 28 unanswered points would be the worst way to go into a feral environment like Kyle Field. And yet, after the Mississippi Rebels watched their undefeated season end that way on the wrong end of a 45-20 beatdown by the LSU Tigers, the Rebels have it easier this week vis-à-vis their opponents.
Given what they’ve endured this season, Texas A&M Aggies fans would consider this “good news.” The 3-4 Aggies are a hot mess, losing their last three SEC games. That mess just got hotter. Now, according to reports, coach Jimbo Fisher suspended four freshmen from his No. 1-ranked recruiting class for various rules violations.
That, on top of A&M losing three of its offensive linemen to injuries. If that wasn’t enough, Fisher has his own issues, chief of which being his offensive genius reputation is disappearing faster than his stellar freshman class. The Aggies own the second-weakest offense in the SEC, averaging 342 yards a game. Texas A&M cracked 30 points once this season—against Sam Houston State Bearkats. They lack a do-everything threat like LSU’s Jayden Daniels, who ripped the Rebels for five TDs last week: two passing, three rushing.
They also lack a rushing defense, allowing nearly 180 yards a game on the ground. Just the kind of hot mess Ole Miss and its 252-yard-per-game average like to see.
The Aggies are 6-2 ATS in their last eight. They are 7-3 in their last 10 against teams with a winning record. The Rebels opened as three-point favorites. Shedding a half-point adds value, especially since Ole Miss owns two of the last three at Kyle Field.
Prediction: Mississippi -2.5 (-110 at Caesars)
Watch: Saturday, 7:30 ET, SEC Network, FuboTV
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