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College football picks against the spread Week 8

It’s time for the Week 8 edition of college football picks against the spread. As we continue our weekly series in this wild 2021 college football season, bettors are gaining more of an edge moving forward with more information to help determine the spread for every college football game.

For our breakdown of that game and the other best college football picks for Week 8, continue reading — and see all our bets for the top 25, with game lines courtesy of BetMGM

Related: College football games today – TV schedule, daily fantasy picks, and best bets

College football picks against the spread: Lines for top-25 games

GameTime (EST)TV
(14) Coastal Carolina [-3.5] @ Appalachian StateOct. 20, 7:30 PMESPN2
Tulane @ (21) SMU [-14]Oct. 21, 7:30 PMESPN
(2) Cincinnati [-27.5] @ NavyOct. 23, 12:00 PMESPN2
(3) Oklahoma [-38.5] @ Kansas12:00 PMESPN
Illinois @ (7) Penn State [-23.5]12:00 PMABC
Northwestern @ (6) Michigan [-21.5]12:00 PMFOX
(16) Wake Forest [-3] @ Army12:00 PMCBS Sports Network
Wisconsin @ (25) Purdue [+3]3:00 PMBig Ten Network
(10) Oregon [+2] @ UCLA3:30 PMBAC
(8) Oklahoma State [+7] @ Iowa State3:30 PMFOX
LSU @ (12) Ole Miss [-10.5]3:30 PMCBS
Clemson @ (23) Pittsburgh3:30 PMESPN
Tennessee @ (4) Alabama [-27.5]7:00 PMESPN
(22) San Diego State [+4] @ Air Force7:00 PMCBS Sports Network
(24) UTSA [-6] @ Louisiana Tech7:00 PM ––
(5) Ohio State [-19.5] @ Indiana7:30 PMABC
USC @ (13) Notre Dame [-6.5]7:30 PMNBC
South Carolina @ (17) Texas A&M [-20.5]7:30 PMSEC Network
(18) NC State [-3] @ Miami (FL)7:30 PMESPN2

College football picks: Best Week 8 bets for Top 25 matchups

Purdue (+3) takes down Wisconsin Badgers

NCAA Football: Purdue at Iowa
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Despite atrocious quarterback play and blowout losses to Notre Dame and Michigan, there is still an allure around the Wisconsin Badgers. Entering college football Week 8 with a 3-3 record, days removed from a narrow victory over Army, Wisconsin is favored to beat Purdue.

But that line feels disrespectful to the Boilermakers, especially at home. Against a tough Iowa Hawkeyes defense, quarterback Aidan O’Connell threw for 375 yards and receiver David Bell erupted for 240 receiving yards. Wisconsin’s defense is strong, holding opponents to a 112.6 passer rating this season and just 969 passing yards through six games, but its offense isn’t.

Purdue will have little trouble stopping Badgers quarterback Graham Mertz, who isn’t a passing threat any defense should fear. While the Badgers might have some success on the ground, this game will come down to quarterbacks and home-field advantage. Purdue holds the edge in both regards and should get the win.

San Diego State (+4) knocks out Air Force

NCAA Football: San Diego State at San Jose State
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

San Diego State failed to cover the spread in Week 7, but it left San Jose State with a victory over the Spartans. The line for Saturday’s matchup against Air Force hinds at a belief the Aztecs are a fluke and it will all come crashing down against the Falcons. But there’s plenty of reason to believe the opposite.

This isn’t to knock Air Force, which enters Week 8 with a 6-1 record. But there is a significant gap in FPI between the Falcons (-1.3) and Aztecs (0.6). Air Force enters this game leading the country in rushing yards per game (336.4). But it faces an Aztecs’ defense allowing the fewest yards per carry (2.1) with only 367 total rushing yards allowed through six games.

San Diego State running back Greg Bell should have more success against a Falcons’ defensive front that is worse (3.4 ypc) against the rushing attack. This will be a low-scoring Mountain West Conference clash, but this is one of the college football picks we feel very confident in.

Pittsburgh (-3.5) shreds Clemson

NCAA Football: Pittsburgh at Virginia Tech
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Panthers quarterback Kenny Pickett thrust himself onto the national radar this season. Firmly in the Heisman Trophy discussion and now generating NFL buzz, the 6-foot-3 senior will have a fantastic opportunity to showcase his talents in Week 8.

For the Panthers to maintain their winning streak and to stay ranked, Pickett will need to be at his best against the Clemson Tigers. With the help of star cornerback Andrew Booth Jr., a projected top pick in the latest 2022 NFL mock draft, Clemson is holding opponents to the 12th-lowest passer rating (108.0) this season.

But there is some context to all of that. Clemson allowed four touchdowns to NC State quarterback Devin Leary on Sept. 25 and this defense really hasn’t been challenged all that often. Pickett will spread the football around, feeding Jordan Addison, Jared Wayne and Taysir Mack for some big plays. Ultimately, the Panthers can win by a touchdown if Pickett keeps playing well.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-6.5) sink USC Trojans

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Virginia Tech
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

When a rivalry game comes around, it needs to be among our college football picks for that week. On Saturday, Notre Dame welcomes the USC Trojans for another clash between two storied football programs that are in very different positions right now.

There isn’t much to say about Notre Dame’s quarterbacks. Jack Coan should start if healthy, but freshman Tyler Buchner could see snaps. No matter who is under center, they aren’t the reason to bet on the Fighting Irish beating USC by at least a touchdown.

The Trojans enter Week 8 allowing opponents to average 4.4 yards per carry and 6.8 rushing first downs per game. Those are some of the worst marks among Power 5 defenses, putting USC’s weakness against Notre Dame’s strength. Expect Kyren Williams to receive 20-plus carries Saturday, turning that workload into a huge performance and a big win.

College Football Picks record – Week 7: 5-0