With the Big Ten season getting underway this week, we’re getting closer to a full slate of college football games. Let’s check out some of the top betting options for the week 8 schedule.
Illinois vs Wisconsin (-23.5)
The Badgers open the season as a dark horse to reach the College Football Playoff, thanks to a manageable schedule in the Big Ten West. However, the Fighting Illini shouldn’t be overlooked, after getting to a bowl game last season, upsetting the Badgers in 2019 as well.
Brandon Peters gives the Illini an experienced quarterback who has a better supporting cast than he did a year ago thanks to multiple transfers. The Illinois defense still has some question marks, but the Illini also have a lot of upperclassmen on that side of the ball.
The Badgers main dilemma is replacing Jonathan Taylor at running back. Does the Wisconsin’s offense take a slight step back? With the Illinois offense in such good shape, it’ll be tough for the Badgers to win this going away, so there’s value in taking the Fighting Illini to cover the spread.
Pick: Illinois +23.5
Kansas vs Kansas State (-18.5)
This line is down a little because Kansas State quarterback Skylar Thompson is done for the season due to injury. The Wildcats weren’t exactly impressive in a win over TCU with Will Howard at quarterback. He was just eight of 19 throwing the ball, although he did rush for 86 yards.
The bet here is that Kansas will continue to be Kansas. The Jayhawks lost to Coastal Carolina in their season opener and have proceeded to lose three straight Big 12 games by an average of 31 points. Despite taking an early 10-0 lead against West Virginia, they were atrocious the rest of the way, amassing just 157 yards of offense.
The Jayhawks won’t do much more against the K-State defense, so even with a backup quarterback, the Wildcats will pull away and cover against their in-state rivals.
Pick: Kansas State -18.5
Notre Dame (-9.5) vs Pittsburgh
The Fighting Irish were unconvincing in a 12-7 win over Louisville last week, and now Brian Kelly takes his team on the road for the first time this season. There’s nothing wrong with Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book, the problem is that he doesn’t have any quality wide receivers at his disposal.
Even with a good offensive line and a strong rushing attack, the Fighting Irish have to put together long drives if they hope to score. That won’t be easy against a Pitt defense that’s strong upfront and has excelled against the run despite a three-game losing streak.
The wild card for the Panthers is that quarterback Kenny Pickett missed last week’s loss to Miami because of an injury. His status is unclear, which means Pitt might have to stick with freshman Joey Yellen. Nevertheless, this game screams defensive slugfest, giving the Panthers a chance to pull off the upset and at least cover the number.
Pick: Pittsburgh +9.5
Auburn (-2.5) vs Ole Miss
The Tigers have probably been the biggest disappointment in the SEC this year, but Auburn is favored on the road against Lane Kiffin’s 1-3 Ole Miss team. This game is all about Auburn quarterback Bo Nix, who has regressed from a promising freshman campaign.
Nix will have the fortune of facing perhaps the SEC’s worst defense this week. The Tigers defense still has to face a potent Ole Miss offense that is scoring 36.5 points per game however. The Rebels turned it over six times last week and it looks like the turnover prone Nix has some company.
Pick: Auburn -2.5