CFB Week 8 best bets: The 'Saturday 7'
College football is freakin' awesome.
Where else can you find a group of people carrying goalposts out of a stadium, down the street, and into a river in celebration of last week's 7-0 sweep in our seven underdog value bets against the spread? At least, that's how I remember last Saturday.
For all the excitement, it's worth the reminder that we should save the parlays for bettors who are OK with donating to the sportsbook. Our 52-36-1 (59.1%) overall season-long record has accumulated +12.4 units, so while a seven-game parlay can pay 90-1, it's also a good way to slowly lose money when the goal should be to gradually grow our bankrolls.
Kansas @ Baylor (-10, 58)
Everyone has soured on Kansas, but who is Baylor to be laying double digits here? Having to transition to Jason Bean at quarterback, the Jayhawks watched as he threw four touchdowns in relief of Jalon Daniels against TCU, and Kansas had over 400 yards against Oklahoma.
This line might be due to the 700 yards Kansas allowed to Oklahoma last week, but the Sooners were out for blood after getting crushed by Texas and had Dillon Gabriel back in action. Baylor's offense isn't that level of explosive, and the defense is in the middle of the pack in DVOA and points per game.
Pick: Kansas +10
Duke @ Miami (-9, 58)
With a dominant box score performance at Virginia Tech, Miami should have covered last week, but they didn't. The Hurricanes can't be trusted to close out a win by margin or even show up week-to-week. Meanwhile, Duke got scooped late by its rivals, and the Blue Devils have done nothing but play fight-to-the-finish games, no matter the opponent or situation. If they can survive Drake Maye's onslaught to nearly beat North Carolina, they can hang with Tyler Van Dyke.
Pick: Duke +9
Northwestern @ Maryland (-14, 51)
Northwestern walked into a buzzsaw before its bye, getting smoked by Wisconsin the week the Badgers fired their head coach. That's the only game all year where the Wildcats have been noncompetitive.
They go to Maryland as big underdogs, unsure if they'll be facing Taulia Tagovailoa, who was carted off last week while Maryland struggled to pull away from Indiana. Billy Edwards showed some guile in relief, using his legs to make enough plays to avoid the upset, but if he's the starter Saturday, covering two touchdowns is a lot to ask.
Even if Tagovailoa gets the green light, the Wildcats have enough defense to slow the Terrapins down, and the bye week should mean that they have a few extra offensive plays to get someone open for easy connections from Ryan Hilinski.
Pick: Northwestern +14
West Virginia @ Texas Tech (-6, 65)
We've discussed how Texas Tech should have covered as a big underdog in games against Kansas State and Oklahoma State. Matching or outgaining those teams in total yardage means Red Raiders bettors deserved better. However, Texas Tech hasn't beaten an FBS team in regulation this season, and it's now supposed to do so against a functional West Virginia team? I'll take the points with the Mountaineers while recognizing the risk that they come out flat after a big prime-time win.
Pick: West Virginia +6
North Texas @ UTSA (-10, 71.5)
It's a little too early to have Group of 5 matchups in our weekly big games betting outlook, but I'm happy to take the points in this Conference USA battle of 3-0 teams.
Frank Harris is no fun to go up against, but unlike in past years, he doesn't have the run game to help him out. Meanwhile, North Texas has its own veteran quarterback in Austin Aune, but he's got a stable of tailbacks who are collectively averaging around six yards per carry to attack UTSA's run defense, which gives up 169 yards per game.
Pick: North Texas +10
Arizona State @ Stanford (-3, 53.5)
Stanford knocked off Notre Dame in South Bend, but it wasn't due to the offense. The defense recovered two fumbles and Tanner McKee did just enough for a 16-14 win. However, Arizona State has the team speed to overwhelm the Cardinal.
Beating Washington showed that Herm Edwards brought enough talent into Tempe and ultimately had to go for other reasons. Even though the victory came with a quarterback controversy, it's possible the Sun Devils have gathered themselves and will finish the season strong. Getting points from a winless team in the Pac-12 is too inviting to pass up.
Pick: Arizona State +3 (-115)
Arkansas State @ Louisiana (-7, 51.5)
Speaking of the Fighting Irish, they lost to Marshall earlier in the season. That made the market think the Thundering Herd were good, but they haven't won an FBS game since. So I'm not too excited about Louisiana's win over Marshall last week. The Ragin' Cajuns also lost to Louisiana-Monroe, who Arkansas State beat comfortably.
The Red Wolves should have won at Southern Miss last week, but they don't need to win here to cash a ticket. Now that we're getting a full touchdown, we'll take the 'dog in a game between similarly mediocre Sun Belt teams.
Pick: Arkansas State +7 (-115)
Matt Russell is a betting writer for theScore. If there’s a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on Twitter @mrussauthentic.