College football Week 8 betting primer: What's the best play in Iowa State vs. Oklahoma State?

Sam Cooper
·5-min read

The Big Ten and Mountain West both return to action this week, so there are a lot more college football options on the board at BetMGM. It will be tempting to wager on a few of these Big Ten matchups, but I’m going to try to stay disciplined and stick with teams that have already played this year.

Last week was a good one for my picks. In fact, I was a garbage time kick return touchdown (with multiple missed tackles) by Kansas away from a perfect 5-0 week. Despite that bad beat, I’ll take 4-1 any week I can get it.

That effort put me up to 19-14 overall for the year. Let’s see what Week 8 has in store.

(Note: All times ET, odds from BetMGM)

Georgia Southern at No. 25 Coastal Carolina

Time: Noon | TV: ESPNU | Line: CCU -6.5 | Total: 51.5

Coastal Carolina upset Louisiana on the road last week to improve to 4-0 and enter the Top 25 for the first time in program history. I think the Chanticleers are due for a bit of a letdown and am tempted to pick Georgia Southern to cover, but with the spread below a touchdown (for now) I’m going to look at the total.

Both of these teams use option-style, run-based offenses, so possessions could be limited. I still like the over, though. Coastal has proven it can put up points, but it is also in the bottom half of the Sun Belt in rushing defense, giving up 4.78 yards per carry. That mark is second-worst in the conference. Georgia Southern runs a more traditional triple option, and should be able to put some points on the board. This matchup has gone over the total pretty comfortably the past two years, too.

Pick: Over 51.5

Oklahoma at TCU

Time: Noon | TV: ABC | Line: Oklahoma -6.5 | Total: 59.5

I’m three-for-three picking TCU games this season, so I might as well keep the streak going. TCU quarterback Max Duggan is one of my favorite players to watch, and he’s going to be a tough matchup for the Oklahoma defense. OU showed some signs of life defensively against Texas, but I think this will end up being a fairly high-scoring game, especially with both teams coming off a bye week.

There are some trends that back up my feelings about this game. Since it joined the Big 12, TCU has played eight conference games as a single-digit home underdog. The over is 5-3 and 5-1 in its last six. During that same span (since 2012), Oklahoma has played 11 games as a single-digit road favorite. The over is 10-1 and 7-0 in its last seven. On top of that, the last three times OU and TCU played in Fort Worth, the game went over the total by an average of 20.8 points.

Pick: Over 59.5

Auburn at Ole Miss

Time: Noon | TV: SECN | Line: Auburn -3 | Total: 71

Auburn got way too pass happy in its loss to South Carolina last week. Bo Nix threw 47 times and barely completed half of his attempts. He also threw three costly interceptions. Meanwhile, Tank Bigsby went for 111 yards on just 16 carries. Look for Auburn to get the run game going against Ole Miss and its SEC-worst rushing defense.

Gus Malzahn is going to want to keep the explosive Ole Miss offense off the field as much as he can. Because of all of that, I think the total of 71 is too high. In Malzahn’s tenure, the under is 18-8-1 in games that follow an Auburn loss. Additionally, the under is 5-1 in Auburn’s last six games as a favorite of a field goal or less.

Pick: Under 71

COLUMBIA, SC - OCTOBER 17: Tank Bigsby #4 of the Auburn Tigers runs with the ball against the South Carolina Gamecocks in the third quarter of the game at Williams-Brice Stadium on October 17, 2020 in Columbia, South Carolina. The Gamecocks won 30-22. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Look for Auburn to get freshman running back Tank Bigsby more involved against Ole Miss. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

No. 17 Iowa State at No. 6 Oklahoma State

Time: 3:30 p.m. | TV: FOX | Line: Oklahoma State -3.5 | Total: 52

Oklahoma State is about to play its first game in three weeks. The Cowboys are 3-0 with ho-hum wins over Tulsa and West Virginia and then a blowout over Kansas. Spencer Sanders, the team’s starting quarterback, has barely seen the field after getting hurt in the season opener. After the long layoff, he should be back for this game against a good Iowa State team.

With Sanders out, Oklahoma State has received a surprising boost from its usually subpar defense. But it went up against three bad offenses. Brock Purdy and Iowa State will present a much tougher test. I expect the final score to be in the 30s, putting it over the total of 52 fairly comfortably.

Pick: Over 52

West Virginia at Texas Tech

Time: 5:30 p.m. | TV: ESPN2 | Line: West Virginia -3.5 | Total: 55.5

West Virginia has a 3-1 record, but hasn’t looked very impressive — especially on offense. The Mountaineers were finally able to put a few explosive plays together last week against Kansas, but they also fell behind 10-0, turned the ball over twice, had a turnover on downs and were just 6-of-16 on third-down in an eventual 38-17 win.

Texas Tech is 1-3, but has played a much more challenging schedule and is coming off a bye week. Matt Wells made a quarterback change to Henry Colombi and I really like the Red Raiders here in this spot as a home underdog.

Pick: Texas Tech +3.5

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