College football picks, predictions against the spread for every Week 8 top 25 game

Big Ten play returns in Week 8 of the college football season, and with a prime-time matchup between No. 18 Michigan and No. 21 Minnesota at 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC.  

The battle for the Little Brown Jug is one of four games between ranked teams this week. No. 23 North Carolina State travels to No. 15 North Carolina at noon, No. 17 Iowa State meets No. 6 Oklahoma State at 3:30 p.m. and No. 9 Cincinnati travels to No. 16 SMU at 9 p.m.  

MORE: Updated Top 25, Coaches polls

The Mountain West Conference also returns this weekend, and it’s the fullest college football Saturday to this point. It’s also a chance to improve our record against the spread in AP Top 25 matchups. 

Here’s a look at our track record this season:  

Last week: 8-4 S/U, 7-5 ATS 
Overall: 62-22 S/U, 37-40 ATS   
Top 25: 52-17 S/U, 32-36 ATS   

Now, a look at our picks against the spread for Week 8: 

Friday, Oct. 23

Ilinois at No. 14 Wisconsin (-20)  

It’s Big Ten football on Friday night. The Illini stunned the Badgers 24-23 last season, and the Badgers will have payback on their minds. Graham Mertz is in for an injured Jack Coan, and Wisconsin has a new supporting cast around him. The offensive line should still be good.  

Pick: Wisconsin wins 34-13 and COVERS the spread.  

Syracuse at No. 1 Clemson (-45)  

The spread is ridiculous, but Clemson just beat Georgia Tech 73-7. It’s tough to bet when Dabo Swinney can pick the score, and this is one of those instances. The Orange are 2-3 ATS as an underdog this season.  

Pick: Clemson wins 54-9 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.  

Nebraska at No. 5 Ohio State (-26)  

These Big Ten fan bases were vocal about bringing football back, and now the Buckeyes get to debut what should be a national championship contender with Justin Fields at quarterback. There might be some kinks, but the line dropped a point. We’ll take the value with the Buckeyes.  

Pick: Ohio State wins 49-20 and COVERS the spread.   

No. 20 Kansas State (-18.5) at Kansas  

The line has moved down a touch from its open. Kansas State has won 11 in a row in the series, but the past two meetings in Manhattan have been decided by an average of fewer than 10 points per game.  

Pick: Kansas State wins 33-21 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.  

No. 23 North Carolina State at No. 15 North Carolina (-16.5)  

The Wolfpack were on a roll, but the loss of quarterback Devin Leary to a broken leg is a serious blow. Bailey Hockman filled in well in a victory against Duke, but the Tar Heels present too many challenges.  

Pick: North Carolina wins 33-20 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.  

Georgia Southern at No. 25 Coastal Carolina (-6.5)  

The Chanticleers are ranked with the help of an offense that averages 40.8 points per game, but they have lost the past two meetings to Georgia Southern. The quarterback matchup between Grayson McCall and Shai Werts should be exciting.  

Pick: Coastal Carolina wins 30-24 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.  

Florida Atlantic at No. 22 Marshall (-16.5)  

The Thundering Herd have won every game by 18 points or more and are 4-0 ATS this season. Florida Atlantic has played just one game, but this matchup should play right on that line.  

Pick: Marshall wins 37-20 and COVERS the spread.  

No. 2 Alabama (-21) at Tennessee  

The Crimson Tide re-established its big-game mojo in a victory against Georgia, and the Vols will be in desperation mode after back-to-back losses the past two weeks. The Crimson Tide make it 14 in a row in the Third Saturday in October.  

Pick: Alabama wins 48-24 and COVER the spread.  

No. 3 Notre Dame (-9.5) at Pitt  

Pitt is 1-5 ATS, but Notre Dame isn’t much better at 1-4. Kenny Pickett didn’t play last week because of an ankle injury, and his status could lead to some line movement. Seven of the past eight meetings have been decided by seven points or fewer, but the Irish are 5-3 S/U in those games. We like them a little more this week now that they wear that No. 3 label.  

Pick: Notre Dame wins 31-20 and COVERS the spread.  

No. 17 Iowa State at No. 6 Oklahoma State (-6.5)  

The Cyclones have a big opportunity to take control of the Big 12 race, and Iowa State did win the last meeting in Stillwater in a 48-42 shootout. This is a chance for Breece Hall and Chuba Hubbard to put on a show.   

Pick: Iowa State wins 35-33 in an UPSET.  

No. 8 Penn State (-6.5) at Indiana  

The Nittany Lions won’t have linebacker Michah Parsons or running back Journey Brown, and that makes this opener in Bloomington a little more interesting. Indiana has lost the past two meetings by an average of six points per game.  

Pick: Penn State wins 31-24 and COVERS the spread.  

No. 19 Virginia Tech (-7.5) at Wake Forest  

Both teams are averaging more than 40 points per game, which is a far cry from the Frank Beamer meme. Expect your typical ACC shootout as a result, and the over is a good play, too.  

Pick: Virginia Tech wins 38-35 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.  

No. 18 Michigan (-2) at No. 21 Minnesota  

The Big Ten gets the prime-time spotlight between two polarizing coaches in Jim Harbaugh and P.J. Fleck. Michigan won the last meeting 33-10 in 2017, but the Gophers have a real shot at the upset here. The X-factor is new Michigan quarterback Joe Milton. Is the hype real?  

Pick: Michigan wins 31-24 and COVERS the spread.  

Virginia at No. 11 Miami (-11.5)  

The Cavaliers’ defense is bad. Virginia has allowed 38 or more points in each of its past three games, and Miami is 4-0 ATS as a favorite this season. Stick with that trend.  

Pick: Miami wins 38-24 and COVERS the spread.  

No. 9 Cincinnati at No. 16 SMU (-3)  

It’s a battle of AAC unbeaten teams, and the road team has won the past two meetings. The Mustangs have a plus-4 turnover margin, so the pressure is on the Bearcats to protect the football. We like their chances.  

Pick: Cincinnati wins 34-31 in an UPSET.  

Texas State at No. 12 BYU (-30)  

The Cougars are emerging as one of the year’s best stories, and they fill the late-night void until the Pac-12 returns. BYU is 4-1 ATS, but Texas State is 2-3 ATS as an underdog this year.  

Pick: BYU wins 44-16 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.

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