The second half of the season is upon us. The last time the Oklahoma Sooners were on the field, it was a heart-breaking comeback attempt that came up just short in the Red River Shootout (or whatever you call it). The last time we witnessed a CFB weekend in general, it was pure chaos. Four top-10 teams tasted defeat, making OU’s path to the top four slightly easier. Now, Lincoln Riley and the Sooners meet up with a familiar foe in Gary Patterson and the TCU Horned Frogs to kick off the Saturday slate.
Here my Week 8 gambling picks. Jack made his picks last week in what ended up being the most chaotic college football weekend in 2018 to date, but he’s out of town this week his grandmother’s memorial service (please keep his family in your thoughts!), so I’ve been called in. You can also find the TV schedule and live stream info down at the bottom.
Oklahoma (-8.5) at TCU – Last season’s two meetings between the Sooners and the Horned Frogs were the two most lopsided contests in the series since TCU joined the Big 12 in 2012. I expect to see a closer game this time around. Oklahoma’s offense will start slower than fans want against Gary Patterson’s strong defense, and QB Shawn Robinson will struggle to move the chains consistently for TCU’s offense. The wild card here is backup QB Michael Collins, who reportedly could split playing time with Robinson. If he provides a spark, look out for a potential shootout. Gambling pick: Oklahoma covers with a late score in a relatively low-scoring slugfest. Under 62.
Michigan (-7.5) at Michigan State – Mark Dantonio and the Spartans have owned this in-state rivalry as of late, winning four of the last five and eight of the last 10 meetings. The Wolverines have looked dominant since dropping their Week 1 showdown in South Bend. Sparty was my contrarian preseason pick to win the Big Ten, and I’m sticking to it. Gambling pick: Not only am I picking Michigan State to cover, I’m picking the Spartans to win this one outright. Under 41.
Alabama (-29) at Tennessee – This one is a little tricky simply because of the status of Crimson Tide QB Tua Tagovailoa. He was sidelined for much of the game against Missouri last week after appearing to suffer a knee injury. That being said, whether he plays or not probably won’t make a difference as to who wins this game. Gambling pick: Until proven otherwise, Alabama narrowly covers because the Tide is a juggernaut on both sides of the ball, and although Tennessee came up huge against Auburn last weekend, the Vols won’t have enough firepower to keep this one remotely close. Over 57.
North Carolina State at Clemson (-17) – This is the weekend’s only matchup between undefeated squads. For starters, NC State has quietly been a very good team in 2018. On the other side, Clemson has looked very beatable in more than a couple contests. If Tigers QB Trevor Lawrence struggles like he did against Syracuse before he was knocked out of the game, the Wolf Pack can make this one very interesting. Gambling pick: This honestly feels like one of the easier picks for me in Week 8. NC State is good enough to cover, and they will, but ultimately I see Clemson rising up to the challenge and pulling out the ‘W’. Under 56.
Kansas at Texas Tech (-18.5) – When I first saw this game on the docket, I immediately went with Texas Tech to cover. Upon further review, I think the Jayhawks catch the Red Raiders sleepwalking through most of this and bog the game down. Gambling pick: TTU has too much firepower to outright lose this one, but Kansas holds on long enough to cover. Under 58.5.
Mississippi State at LSU (-7) – LSU has been one of the most surprising teams in all of college football through the first half of the season. If it weren’t for a close loss in the swamp, Ed Orgeron and the Tigers could be the No. 2 ranked team in the nation. On the other side, Nick Fitzgerald has been a beast for MSU. He’ll probably be the most dynamic QB LSU has defended all season. Gambling pick: If this game were in Starkville, I’d definitely go with the Bulldogs to cover, but it’s in the bayou, so I’m riding with LSU and the points. Under 45.
Oregon at Washington State (-3) – Oregon is likely the Pac-12’s best chance at reaching the College Football Playoff, so if it were up to the conference powers that be, the Ducks would win this one to keep those hopes alive. The Cougars’ lone loss of the season was a three-point thriller at USC. This could be the best squad Mike Leach has fielded since he’s been in Pullman. Gambling pick: For some reason, Oregon loves playing close games this season. Once again, this is another nail-biter as Washington State nabs the victory and covers at the buzzer, effectively eliminating the Pac-12 from playoff contention. Over 68.
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