Week 8 of the college football season is here! The Big Ten and Mountain West start conference play this week, adding to an already loaded Saturday slate. I cannot tell you how exciting it is to have more college football to watch, including games late into the night. In reality, I can probably give you 10 best bets for Saturday, but here are five best of the best college football bets.
Kansas @ Kansas State (-20.5) O/U 46
The Sunflower Showdown takes place between Kansas and Kansas State today! Last week, Kansas fell to West Virginia 38-17, while Kansas State has the week off to prep. The Jayhawks 17-points came off fluke plays and turnovers, including a kick return to help them cover the spread late. Kansas has one of the worst offenses in the country, and although Kansas State doesn’t have the best defense, they will limit explosive plays and points being scored if Kansas moves the football.
For the Wildcats offense, it’s all about explosiveness. They don’t put sustainable drives together, but they will hit you with deep passes and huge runs. Kansas cannot defend anyone, let alone explosive plays, so KSU should be able to hit a few big plays to run away with this game early.
Kansas State -20.5
The extra prep helps Kansas State get ready for the in-state rivalry. They have also covered the spread in seven of the last 10 matchups, and I expect this to happen again. Although it is a very public play to back Kansas State, I think they’ll be able to cover the spread against the Jayhawks.
Nebraska @ Ohio State (-27) O/U 68.5
Nebraska is traveling to Ohio State to open up Big Ten play. Last year, the Buckeyes steamrolled the Cornhuskers in Nebraska, and Ohio State as a 27-point favorite makes bookmakers believe it could happen again. Nebraska ranks second in returning production on the offensive side. Adrian Martinez will look into bounce back from 2019 as he will face an Ohio State defense with many new faces.
On the other side of the ball, Ohio State still has Justin Fields at quarterback and Master Teague and Trey Sermon in the backfield. The receivers still need time to adjust with Fields’ timing, but going up against a Nebraska secondary that isn’t the best should help.
Fields should be able to move the football enough and put up 40+ points on Nebraska similar to last year. The Cornhuskers struggled with turnovers in 2019, but the experience returning should help Martinez move the football consistently in 2020, especially starting out against an inexperienced Ohio State defense.
Iowa State @ Oklahoma State (-2.5) O/U 52
The Big 12 isn’t known for defense, but we have a defensive battle between Iowa State and Oklahoma State. The Cowboys will be happy to get Spencer Sanders back at quarterback after missing a leg injury. However, the Cyclones defense has caused a ton of havoc and getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Although Sanders is the better QB, he struggles when he has hands in his face, giving the Iowa State defense an edge.
Oklahoma State will also give the Iowa State offense fits by trying to move the football. The Cowboys ranks in the top-5 in almost every advanced defensive category, so Iowa State has a tough challenge on Saturday. The turning point in this game could be finishing drives. Iowa State’s offense ranks fourth, and Oklahoma State’s defense ranks first.
Iowa State +2.5
Death, taxes, Matt Campbell as a dog. Oklahoma State has not been impressive offensively, and although they get Sanders back, Iowa State should be able to limit him. This game comes down to Iowa State, scoring at a key time for the cover and possible outright win.
Michigan (-3.5) @ Minnesota O/U 53.5
College football’s game of the week features two teams going in opposite directions in 2020. Michigan has not been able to get over the hump with Jim Harbaugh as Minnesota finished with an 11-2 record under P.J. Fleck. Both teams will look a bit different this year with the turnover they are dealing with.
Michigan ranks towards the bottom of the country in returning production, and Minnesota lost a ton of key pieces on defense. However, the biggest loss for the Golden Gophers is offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca who was the big reason for Minnesota’s success. They brought in Mike Stanford Jr., who has not had the best track record as a play-caller.
1st Half Under 27
With so much uncertainty on both sides, the first half should go under the total. Harbaugh has a new quarterback and offensive line, and Minnesota’s offense should start slow with a new OC. Both defenses have question marks that will need to be addressed in Week 1 as well.
UNLV @ San Diego State (-14) O/U 50.5
Our first Mountain West after-dark bet of the year! San Diego State brings in Jeff Hecklinski to run the offense, which should be more up-tempo in 2020. Although the Aztecs only bring back half the offense from 2019, they should still move the football against the UNLV defense that was one of the worst in the country on top of ranking 129th in returning defensive production. The up-tempo pace should help put up more points.
On the other side of the ball, UNLV brings back nine returning starters on offense. Although the Rebels are not the best football team, that continuity will help early on in the season as they should help contribute to the total. San Diego State ranks 76th in returning defensive production.
Given the up-tempo San Diego State offense and UNLV’s returning production, this total should fly over. Once the cat is out of the bag about the Aztecs new offense, totals will not be sitting at 50 much longer.