College Football

College football odds Week 8: Why UCLA over Oregon is your best bet this weekend, and more

October 20

By Jason McIntyre
FOX Sports Betting Analyst

We warned you last week: The slate was ugly. And then Halloween came early, and it was a house of horrors on the gambling front as Georgia conceded a TD in the final seconds to blow the cover, and Texas wasted a massive early lead to collapse against Oklahoma State. The college football gods giveth two weeks ago and taketh away last week.

This week's schedule features nary a matchup of Top 25 teams, and many of the top 10 teams are favored by three-plus touchdowns, so the pickings are slim.

Either way, let's get back on the winning track with my best bets for the Week 8 slate, with odds via FOX Bet.


IOWA STATE (-7 at FOX Bet) vs. OKLAHOMA STATE

One of my worst beats of the season was against Oklahoma State last week when Texas had a commanding 17-3 lead and was driving into the red zone. Longhorns QB Casey Thompson threw a back-breaking pick-six that completely flipped the game. It gave the Cowboys life, and they pulled away in the fourth quarter in a game in which they were outplayed.

I'm betting against Oklahoma State again this week with Iowa State, a notoriously slow-starting team that is rounding into form. Last week as -6.5 point road favorites, the Cyclones blasted Kansas State on the road.

The public will see an undefeated top-10 team getting a touchdown and back the Cowboys blindly in this spot. And for all the preseason Heisman hype for Iowa State's Breece Hall, OSU's Jaylen Warren is quietly eighth in the country in rushing yards per game (117), and he's carrying a Derrick Henry-like workload, topping 30 carries in three of the last four games.

But, this game will come down to Iowa State QB Brock Purdy, who was benched earlier this season after a horrendous game vs. Iowa (the Hawkeyes turned out to be pretty good). Purdy has been excellent since a tipped-pass INT in the red zone against Baylor last month.

The Cyclones have outgunned all of their opponents this season, but turnovers have crippled them. But back-to-back Big 12 road games against Top 25 foes is too big an ask for the Cowboys.

I'll lay the points here with Iowa State.

PICK: Iowa State (-7 at FOX Bet) to win by more than 7 points

UCLA (-2 at FOX Bet) vs. OREGON

After Oregon shocked Ohio State and UCLA was rolling in early September, this showdown was pegged as a massive game with playoff implications. Since then, UCLA lost to Fresno State and the Ducks lost to Stanford, so now this game only has Pac-12 ramifications.

The Ducks are wounded, with star RB CJ Verdell and safety Bennett Williams out for the season, plus four other contributors have gone down in the last two weeks. Given the lack of transparency around injury reports and college football, there's no telling who will be on the field for Mario Cristobal Saturday in Westwood. But, one thing we know is that the Ducks have gone from three-point favorites to being small underdogs in this game.

Potential No. 1 pick Kayvon Thibodeaux has only played four games this season and has just two sacks for Oregon, but if there's a game he's going to put his mark on this season, it's this one. The Bruins will need to contain him to pull this one out.

Ultimately, I'm rolling with UCLA in this spot. Look for Chip Kelly's new team to run all over Chip Kelly's old team, and the Bruins to win in a surprisingly low-scoring game.

PICK: UCLA (-2 at FOX Bet) to win by more than 2 points

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CLEMSON (+3 at FOX Bet) AT PITTSBURGH

Clemson hasn't been discussed in this space since an inept 10-3 loss to Georgia in the season opener. The Bulldogs are the best team in the country; the Tigers have cratered since, with a loss to NC State, and is a staggering 0-6 against the spread (ATS) against FBS competition.

Over the last two years, with Trevor Lawrence, the Tigers were a combined 16-11 ATS, and that was with inflated lines weekly as they were a top-5 juggernaut.

Clemson's not ranked anymore, so now it's underdogs against Pittsburgh? That's quite the fall from grace for a team that had been to the College Football Playoff five years in a row.  

I'm not buying it. I'm all over Clemson in this spot. The Tigers are coming off a bye week, and they were 17-point favorites in this game over the summer.

Right now, Pittsburgh comes in with the better QB (Kenny Pickett — 21 TDs, one INT), and I've torn up my DJ Uiagalelei preseason Heisman ticket (four TDs, three INTs, 55% completions). And, yes, this might be a revenge spot for Pittsburgh and Pickett. The Panthers may even blow out a Tigers team devoid of offensive talent. But, give me Dabo's last stand, and Clemson getting a field goal. There is value in this number.

Pick: Clemson (+3 at FOX Bet) to lose by fewer than 3 points (or win outright)

Jason McIntyre is a FOX Sports betting analyst, and he also writes about the NFL and NBA Draft. He joined FS1 in 2016 and has appeared on every show on the network. In 2017, McIntyre began producing gambling content on the NFL, college football and NBA for FOX Sports. He had a gambling podcast for FOX, "Coming Up Winners," in 2018 and 2019. Before arriving at FOX, he created the website The Big Lead, which he sold in 2010. You can follow him on Twitter at @jasonrmcintyre.

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