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Ryan’s Ramble: Big 10 Football is here

I’m excited to bring you all my picks for week 8 in college football, we’ve got a great Saturday lined up for us.

Syndication: Unknown Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Even though there were a total of six games postponed last weekend due to COVID-19 complications, it was still an action-packed Saturday in college football.

Memphis took down UCF for their second straight loss in a 99-point thriller, the 1-3 Florida State Seminoles upset 5th ranked North Carolina after a big first half, and to top it all off Coastal Carolina, of all teams, have found themselves in the top 25 rankings for the first time in program history. The Chanticleers first joined the FBS only 3 years ago in 2017; you love to see these kinds of things.

I’ve talked a whole lot about “being in the green” this year, and last week my over-confidence caught up with me as I finished with a 5-8-1 record. Through 7 weeks of picks, this marks only the second week being in the negative. Fear not, for I will turn things around this week and we’ll get back on track in no time.

What’s the point of sports betting if you aren’t overly confident in your picks, am I right?

Now that Big 10 football is back this weekend, we are only one power 5 conference away from having a relatively normal college football Saturday. *cough cough* Pac 12…

More conferences playing means more games on the board to choose from. As I originally began sorting through the games to make my selections, I came out with around 25 different picks. Even though this is called Ryan’s Ramble, reading through more than 20 bet analysis is a daunting task for anyone, so I have attempted to narrow it down to my favorite of the bunch.

Without further adieu, here are my picks for week 8 in college football:

All odds are taken from Friday, 2:00 p.m. CST based on DraftKings sportsbook

Game 1: Nebraska @ Ohio State

  • Kickoff: 11:00 a.m. CST
  • Spread: tOSU -26.5, Nebraska +26.5
  • O/U: 68.5
  • Money Line: tOSU -5000, Nebraska +1050

Pick: Ohio State -26.5

Why: Of course I had to open this week off with the first Big 10 matchup of the year. Ohio State is one of the best football teams in the country and are on a mission to come out with a bang after having to wait patiently for the opportunity to play. Even though star running back J.K. Dobbins has moved on to the NFL, the Buckeyes still have Justin Fields and an abundance of weapons for him to work with. Nebraska on the other hand hasn’t been relevant in the Big 10 scene for quite some time now. The Cornhuskers are coming off another season without a bowl game and don’t show much promise in this matchup. Nebraska finished 123rd in the FBS last year in Havoc allowed, and ranked dead last when it came to fumbles lost, having 27 on the year. Taking care of the football is crucial for the Cornhuskers if they want to survive playing in the horse shoe, but I am expecting the Buckeyes defense to get at least a turnover or two. Another thing to consider is that Ohio State won this contest by 41 points last season, 48-7. This game should be another rout, back the Buckeyes for a big win in their season opener.

Game 2: Syracuse @ Clemson

  • Kickoff: 11:00 a.m. CST
  • Spread: Clemson -46.5, Syracuse +46.5
  • O/U: 62
  • Money Line: N/A

Pick: Over 62

Why: Simply put, Clemson is going to score at least 50 points themselves and potentially cover all 62 points alone. I mean, did you see the show the Tiger offense put on against Georgia Tech last week? If you didn’t catch the Clemson game last week, all you really need to know is that the Tigers were winning by so much they substituted their punter in at quarterback, and he succeeded. Syracuse has been anything but impressive thus far, and I’m not expecting them to put up many points in this matchup, though a lucky breakaway touchdown run for the Orange would go a long way in terms of the over. The Tigers offense is hot, ride this wave while it lasts before they have to play some of the tougher defenses in the conference.

Game 3: NC State @ UNC

  • Kickoff: 11:00 a.m. CST
  • Spread: UNC -15, NC State +15
  • O/U: 60.5
  • Money Line: UNC -670, NC State +420

Pick: NC State +15

Why: This was a tough decision for me considering I have been pretty hot on both of these teams this year, even though the Tar Heels let me down last week against Florida State. I don’t see UNC losing two in a row, but winning by more than two touchdowns in a top-25 rivalry matchup seems a bit farfetched. After an easy win in week 1 against Syracuse, all three of the Tar Heels games finished with a difference of 11 points or less. So far, NC State is 3-1 against the spread as underdogs this year. After the Wolf Pack came in clutch for me last week by cashing the hammer time pick of the week, I’ve got to continue riding with them. Back NC State to keep things interesting in this rivalry game.

Game 4: Kansas @ Kansas State

  • Kickoff: 11:00 a.m. CST
  • Spread: K-State -20, Kansas +20
  • O/U: 46.5
  • Money Line: K-State -1667, Kansas +700

Pick: Kansas State -20

Why: Kansas State has now won 11 meetings in a row against in-state rival Kansas by an average margin of 25.8. I’m no scientist, but 25.8 is definitely more than 20, so there is some value to this spread. The Jayhawks currently average only 3.6 yards per play on offense, and now that running back Pooka Williams Jr has opted out of the remainder of the season, points will be hard to come by this Saturday. Even though Kansas State’s starting quarterback Skylar Thompson is out for the remainder of the season with an injury, the Wildcats will still be able to move the ball on the ground. I know weird things happen in rivalry games, but not this time. Back the Wildcats to take care of business against a Pooka-less Kansas.

Game 5: Oklahoma @ TCU

  • Kickoff: 11:00 a.m. CST
  • Spread: Oklahoma -6.5, TCU +6.5
  • O/U: 59
  • Money Line: Oklahoma -240, TCU +175

Pick: Over 59

Why: Of course I’d love to take the TCU money line here, but that’s not the line with the most value here. Both teams have been terrible at defending explosive plays this year, and these offenses are more than capable of exploiting that weakness. Oklahoma ranks 15th when it comes to percentage of plays that gain at least 20 yards, meanwhile the Horned Frog defense have allowed the 15th most 20+ yard plays in the country. Needless to say, this should be a fun game to watch. I believe that Gary Patterson’s defense will continue to improve in the coming weeks, but the Sooner offense might be a lot to handle this weekend. Life is too short to bet the under anyways, let’s root for some points!

Game 6: Tulane @ UCF

  • Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. CST
  • Spread: UCF -21, Tulane +21
  • O/U: 71.5
  • Money Line: UCF -1450, Tulane +650

Pick: Dillion Gabriel over 375.5 passing yards

Why: I’m not typically a big fan of player prop bets in college football, but this one is a no brainer. Through four games, UCF quarterback Dillion Gabriel is averaging 439 passing yards per game. If you ask me, this total is set a tad low, as in 30 yards too low. The Tulane defense gave up 384 yards through the air against SMU last week, and this game is set to be another offensive showcase. Gabriel is the real deal, and the UCF offense should get things done against an okay Tulane secondary.

Game 7: Penn State @ Indiana

  • Kickoff: 2:30 p.m. CST
  • Spread: Penn State -6.5, Indiana +6.5
  • O/U: 62
  • Money Line: Penn State -250, Indiana +175

Pick: Penn State -6.5

Why: Oh boy, we’ve got another Big 10 season opener on the card this week. Don’t get me wrong, Indiana has got a decent team, but they are no match for the Nittany Lions. Penn State ranked 24th last year in explosive drive rate, which is a beautiful matchup against the Hoosiers defense that ranked 119th in explosive drives allowed. That’s just a slight step below the Indiana offense, which ranked 118th in explosive drive rate a year ago. Penn State is a top-10 team for a reason, this line is a lock — HAMMER IT!

Game 8: Baylor @ Texas

  • Kickoff: 2:30 p.m. CST
  • Spread: Texas -10, Baylor +10
  • O/U: 61.5
  • Money Line: Texas -380, Baylor +270

Pick: Baylor +10, Over 61.5

Why: It’s been three weeks since Baylor last played a football game, thanks to that jerk COVID, which is more than enough time to prepare for a rattled Texas team. This game was truly a “pick your poison” scenario for me, but the Longhorns have had a habit of playing down to their opponents level this season which is why I think Baylor can keep things close. My reasoning for the over is simple: both of these teams have good offenses, especially the Longhorns — thanks to Sam Ehlinger, and historically neither team’s defense has been reliable in big games. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw Texas sneak away with another cheeky victory like they did against Texas Tech. Whatever happens, lots of points are going to be scored and the Bears will keep things interesting.

Game 9: Alabama @ Tennessee

  • Kickoff: 2:30 p.m. CST
  • Spread: Bama -21.5, Tennessee +21.5
  • O/U: 66
  • Money Line: Bama -3350, Tennessee +850

Pick: Alabama (1Q) -6.5

Why: It’s always a good feeling when you claim a team is overrated, and they actually end up being overrated. The Volunteers got exposed last week against Kentucky. If they struggled to contain the Wildcats, I can’t even imagine what Mac Jones and this Bama offense will do to them on Saturday. I like the first quarter line because Bama is known for getting off to a hot start against lesser teams. So far this season I believe we are undefeated on any Crimson Tide pick. What can I say, I know my elephants. Let’s keep that trend going this week with Bama to cover the 1st quarter spread.

Game 10: Georgia Tech @ Boston College

  • Kickoff: 3:00 p.m. CST
  • Spread: BC -3.5, GT +3.5
  • O/U: 56
  • Money Line: BC -160, GT +120

Pick: Boston College -3.5

Why: I’m a big fan of what the Eagles have going on this season, even though they are 3-2, both of those losses came from top-20 opponents. Usually I’d say a team would be fired up coming off a loss, but the Yellow Jackets were absolutely embarrassed in front of their home crowd last weekend falling to #1 Clemson 73-7. The Eagles offense looks a bit different than years past as they have been finding success moving the ball through the air. Notre Dame transfer quarterback Phil Jurkovec is averaging 7.5 yards per attempt, and I expect him to move the ball with ease against this Yellow Jacket defense. Georgia Tech’s defense was decent in their first few games, up until they played a truly talented quarterback in Trevor Lawrence. I don’t think Jurkovec will put up 400 yards like Lawrence did, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he repeated a 3 touchdown performance like week 6 against Pittsburgh.

Game 11: West Virginia @ Texas Tech

  • Kickoff: 4:30 p.m. CST
  • Spread: WVU -3, Tech +3
  • O/U: 54
  • Money Line: WVU -150, Tech +120

Pick: West Virginia -3

Why: After deciding to change quarterbacks from Alan Bowman to Henry Colombi, the Red Raiders have a lot of question marks surrounding them heading into week 8. This isn’t the best situation for Colombi to make his first start either, West Virginia has had one of the best defenses in the nation thus far. The Mountaineers rank 1st in total defense, 1st in opponent yards per play, and 3rd in pass defense; not too shabby for a Big 12 defense eh? I think the defense will cause Tech some trouble and get the job done for West Virginia on the road.

Game 12: South Carolina @ LSU

  • Kickoff: 6:00 p.m. CST
  • Spread: LSU -6, S. Carolina +6
  • O/U: 55
  • Money Line: LSU -210, S. Carolina +160

Pick: Over 55

Why: Both times LSU has gone up against a semi-capable offense, they have given up over 40 points. Personally, I’d take South Carolina over Missouri any day, and Mizzou managed to score 45 against the Tigers defense. This is a big game for both schools, LSU is trying to salvage any remaining hope that’s left for their already disappointing season and South Carolina is looking to continue their momentum after starting the year 0-2. I’m expecting both teams to come out guns a slingin. We pushed on the South Carolina over last week, but that was all part of the plan; the second time is the charm.

Game 13: Virginia @ Miami (FL)

  • Kickoff: 7:00 p.m. CST
  • Spread: Miami (FL) -13.5, Virginia +13.5
  • O/U: 55.5
  • Money Line: Miami (FL) -500, Virginia +375

Pick: Miami (FL) team total over 34.5

Why: Led by quarterback D’Eriq King, the Miami team has really turned around since last year. The Hurricanes have gone from being ranked 90th in scoring offense last year to now being ranked 24th this year, quite the improvement under second year head coach Manny Diaz. Miami’s offense also sits at #2 in the country at offensive explosiveness, which is going to be a real tough matchup for the Cavaliers defense that ranks last in the FBS for allowing explosiveness. King and the ‘Canes weapons are going to be too much for Virginia to handle, expect to see some big plays from Miami.

Game 14: Air Force @ San Jose State

  • Kickoff: 9:30 p.m. CST
  • Spread: Air Force -7.5, SJSU +7.5
  • O/U: 62.5
  • Money Line: Air Force -270, SJSU +200

Pick: Air Force -7.5

Why: Not only is the Big 10 back this week, the Mountain West decided to join in on the fun as well. Air Force has an unusual schedule this year considering they only play 6 conference games as well as playing Navy, who they have already beat 40-7, and Army. This just means that each conference game is all the more important. The Falcons looked dominant in their opening game against Navy, and if the college football trends continue as they have been, teams that open their season against a team that has already played have struggled significantly. The over/under could go either way, but I think the Falcons are the better team overall and can win by at least a touchdown.

Hammer time pick of the week: Penn State -6.5

  • It’s too bad we won’t get to see a sellout crowd at Beaver Stadium this year. That sea of white t-shirts and pom poms is one of my favorite atmospheres in college football. Anyways, this spread has massive value. The Nittany Lions are more than capable of handling Indiana, this game is an immortal lock — time to HAMMER the spread.

Waluigi’s why not pick(s) of the week: Memphis -13, Hawaii +130

  • I’m riding with Memphis after their big time win over UCF, they’ve got the momentum heading into week 8.
  • Based on last year’s results, I would have thought Hawaii would be the favorite in this matchup. I’m not sure if COVID-19 or the long offseason has had an effect on the teams but hey, “why not” am I right? Go Warriors.

Purple Rain parlay of the week: Maryland @ Northwestern u53.5, Kentucky -180, Virginia Tech -10.5, Mercer @ Army u49.5 (+1000 odds)

  • We’ve got a juicy one this week, risk 1 unit to win 10.

I am sending positive vibes to you and all of your college football picks this weekend. #BeatTheBookie

List view:

  • Ohio State -26.5
  • Syracuse @ Clemson o62
  • NC State +15
  • Kansas State -20
  • Oklahoma @ TCU o59
  • Dillion Gabriel o375.5 passing yards
  • Penn State -6.5, Hammer time pick of the week
  • Baylor +10
  • Baylor @ Texas o61.5
  • Alabama (1Q) -6.5
  • Boston College -6.5
  • West Virginia -3
  • South Carolina @ LSU o55
  • Miami (FL) tt o34.5
  • Air Force -7.5
  • Memphis -13, why not pick of the week
  • Hawaii +130, why not pick of the week
  • Parlay: Maryland @ Northwestern u53.5, Kentucky -180, Virginia Tech -10.5, Mercer @ Army u49.5 (+1000 odds)