All wagers at -110 odds unless otherwise noted. Visit Odds Shark for updated lines throughout each game week.
Season record: 77-89. I was so close to getting back in the black.
Then the games kicked off, and I turned in a 9-17 effort. At some point, perhaps my 29-46 record in wagers decided by a single score (7-19 in those decided by a field goal or less) will turn around via luck. But that is no excuse, as I also made numerous bad picks last weekend.
Let’s change that with this week’s picks. It’s a decent week, with a handful of games between ranked teams, but remember that bets cash the same whether the game’s on ESPN or ESPN3.
Here are my 28 Week 8 picks, from Thursday through Saturday.
1. Miami at Virginia Tech -5: The Hokies at home, laying less than a touchdown on Thursday night, against a Miami team that has played Florida State and North Carolina in the last 13 days? Absolutely.
2. Troy -8.5 at South Alabama: Troy is a lot better team than South Alabama. The Trojans have the ability to put up a lot of points.
3. BYU at Boise State -7: I am expecting a bounce-back week from Boise State. The Broncos put together two great quarters against Colorado State, but played poorly in the first and fourth. BYU cannot score enough to keep up.
4. San Jose State at San Diego State -23: San Diego State wants to run, and San Jose State's run defense is one of the worst in the nation.
5. Ohio State at Penn State +20: This is an incredibly difficult back-to-back set for Ohio State, coming off the Wisconsin game. Penn State is off a bye, and the crowd will be awesome.
6. Arkansas at Auburn -9: Arkansas just played Alabama and Ole Miss, while Auburn is coming off a bye week. The Tigers defense is very strong, and the offense seems to be clicking.
7. Ole Miss at LSU -5.5: Ole Miss is coming off a tough loss at Arkansas, while LSU has been home for a month now. The Tigers are improved under Ed Orgeron.
8. Syracuse at Boston College -5: I successfully wagered on Syracuse last week, but this feels like an overreaction to the Orange catching Virginia Tech in a tough spot. Boston College is off a bye.
9. Oklahoma State at Kansas +24.5: Kansas is bad, but is improved from 2015. Oklahoma State is not a top-30-type team.
10. Wisconsin at Iowa +4.5: This is trying to take advantage of Wisconsin coming off an emotional loss to Ohio State. Iowa seems to have turned things around after a rough start.
11. North Carolina at Virginia +8.5: The Tar Heels have played Florida State, Virginia Tech, and Miami in consecutive weeks. That is a rough stretch, and this is a prime letdown spot, particularly without top receiver Mack Hollins.
12. NC State at Louisville -19: NC State has faced Notre Dame and Clemson in consecutive weeks. It must now must travel to face a team looking to make up for an embarrassing performance against Duke.
13. Colorado +2.5 at Stanford: Colorado can score. Stanford's offense has been terrible. I'll take the Buffs.
14. Central Michigan at Toledo -10: This line implies Toledo is only a touchdown better on a neutral field (accounting for a field goal's worth of home-field advantage), and my numbers say it should be more like 13.
15. Akron at Ball State -2: This is one of those games where it is important to separate bad (Ball State) from awful (Akron). That is just as important a designation as the one bettors must make between good and great.
16. Louisiana Tech -14 at FIU: Louisiana Tech is a good mid-major. FIU has been winning with smoke and mirrors.
17. UMass +21 at South Carolina: Betting on a MAC team against an SEC team off a bye feels dangerous, but South Carolina's offense is one of the worst in the country. It has yet to score more than three touchdowns in a game. The Gamecocks also have Tennessee on deck, setting up a possible look-ahead spot.
18. Charlotte at Marshall -13: Marshall failed to cover against an underrated FAU team last weekend, but should put up a lot of points against Charlotte.
19. ULM at New Mexico -13: The Lobos won outright at Air Force last week as a two-touchdown underdog. This is a tough road trip for ULM, which has horrible run defense.
20. Idaho at Appalachian State -21: Idaho is, according to Bill Connelly's S&P+ numbers, by far the worst team in America to have a winning record. Appalachian State is off a bye.
21. Buffalo at NIU -21: Buffalo is 1-5, while NIU is 1-6. But NIU has faced a much tougher slate of teams and has played it much closer than Buffalo has.
22. Washington State -7 at Arizona State: This is a dangerous wager, as Arizona State has been much better at home than on the road, but the Cougars have turned things around after an 0-2 start.
23. Houston at SMU +21.5: I have had a horrible feel for Houston all year, with losses for and against. But three touchdowns on the road is a lot.
24. Memphis -2 at Navy: The Midshipmen have been lucky, with all three FBS wins being by a touchdown or less. While Navy is off a bye, Memphis did get an extra day of rest by playing Friday. That could help against the option.
25. Wyoming -4 at Nevada: Nevada is one of the worst teams in college football, but Wyoming is an average team.
26. Tulane at Tulsa -11: This bet is all about Tulsa's ability to score. While Tulane does have a strong defense, its offense is putrid, and I do not think it will keep up on the road.
27. UTEP at UTSA -9: UTEP has been beaten by 21-plus by the likes of Texas, Army, Southern Miss, and Louisiana Tech. Is a bye week really going to fix that much?
28. Texas at Kansas State -3: Texas is a public underdog, an automatic reason to fade the Longhorns.