The Six Pack: Michigan-Penn State, Washington-Oregon among best college football picks for Week 8 – CBS Sports

It’s an underdog week. I can feel it in my bones. Given the public’s tendency to always want to bet the favorite, the underdog has always provided plenty of value when betting college football. It’s a simple fact that if you’d blindly bet on every underdog in the country between the 2016 and 2018 seasons, you’d have been write 51.9 percent of the time. Assuming standard juice, that’s not enough to make a profit, but you wouldn’t have lost much, either. 

If you took that to another level and only bet on road underdogs, they covered 53.2 percent of the time over the last three seasons. Now you’d be making money. Maybe not enough for a beach house, but enough to keep betting on more road dogs.

That has not been the story this year. So far, as we enter Week 8, underdogs have gone 206-224-10 ATS. Road dogs are only 147-155-7 ATS. It’s going to change this week. This is The Unofficial Week of the Underdog. The regression begins this weekend, kids. Get on board before it’s too late.

Games of the Week

No. 16 Michigan (+9) at No. 7 Penn State: This line opened with Penn State as a 7.5-point favorite and was quickly bet up to nine. Why? Well, because we all love betting the favorite, but we also all love to bet against Michigan this year because it hasn’t lived up to expectations. I’m taking advantage of the extra value on this spread now. Yes, Penn State should be favored against the Wolverines at home in this spot, but not by this much. I would happily take the Wolverines at anything from a touchdown up.

I can’t help but believe we’re overestimating Penn State in this spot. The Nittany Lions have played five FBS opponents this season. Three of them have a losing record, and Penn State has outscored those three by an average score of 46.3-6.7. They’ve played two teams with a winning record (Pitt and Iowa) and have won both games by an average score of 17.0-11.0. Iowa’s defense gave the Penn State offense fits last week, and I expect Michigan’s defense will do the same this week.

Furthermore, Jim Harbaugh has yet to beat Ohio State, but he’s done pretty well against Penn State. Harbaugh is 3-1 straight up and ATS against the Nittany Lions. I don’t know if Michigan wins this game, but it’s going to be closer than this spread. Penn State 27, Michigan 21

No. 25 Washington (+3) vs. No. 12 Oregon: The wrong team is favored in this matchup. I know Oregon is ranked higher and doesn’t have losses to Cal and Stanford on their resume, but the Huskies should not be home dogs against the Ducks. Oregon is 5-1 with nothing to apologize for, but it’s not a good enough team to trust it as a road favorite against a team with the same level of talent.

That’s not to say that Washington is going to win this game. I believe it will, but I wouldn’t put my life on it. The Huskies have been inconsistent at times, but when they play well, they’re just as good as this Oregon team. Plus, in a matchup of Chris Petersen and Mario Cristobal, I have to lean in Petersen’s direction. Cristobal just hasn’t earned my trust in spots like this yet. Also, the Ducks covered last week, and that usually means you want to bet against them the next week. Oregon has gone 3-12 ATS in the following game after covering the spread in its last 15 contests. Washington isn’t the only inconsistent team in this matchup. Washington 24, Oregon 23

Lock of the Week

South Florida (+14.5) at Navy: South Florida got off to a horrible start this season, which came following a horrible end to last season. All of this has led to some surplus-value on the Bulls. They’ve covered in three of their last four, and they’ve covered in both of their road games. I tell you all of this to help shake off the fear I know you feel as you read this.

Also, while the Bulls are better than you might think, there’s a principle in play here as well. I don’t like to trust option teams as multiple touchdown favorites. Navy has been favored by 14 points or more 19 times since 2005 and gone 6-12-1 ATS in those games. I think a South Florida offense that’s more explosive than you might think gives the Midshipmen enough problems to keep this close. Navy 27, South Florida 20

Under of the Week

Arizona at USC (Under 67): It’s not that I believe this will be a low-scoring game, but this total is a touch too high. Arizona is scoring 35.5 points per game this season, but in three Pac-12 games, it’s only averaged 27.3 points per game. USC’s offense hasn’t been as prolific overall, but its 29.0 points per game rate is on pace with the 29.7 points per game it’s scoring in conference. All of that, plus the under going 4-0 in USC’s last four games, as well as 4-1 in the last five between these two has me expecting this to come up a little short of the total. USC 35, Arizona 27

ACC Coastal Rock Fight of the Week

Duke at Virginia (Under 45.5): Last week, I took the under in Virginia’s matchup with Miami because both teams had chaotic defenses and bad offensive lines. Well, this week, I’m following a familiar formula. Duke’s defense isn’t nearly as disruptive as Miami’s, but its offensive line isn’t much better, either. I expect the Virginia defense to harass this Duke offense for most of the game. Meanwhile, I don’t have much faith in the Virginia offense to put up a ton of points. The under has gone 4-1 in the last five between these division rivals, and it’s 6-2 the last eight times the game was played at Scott Stadium. Those trends should continue. Virginia 24, Duke 20

Semiaquatic Rodent of the Week

Oregon State (+11) at Cal: The Beavers followed up a somewhat unexpected win on the road against UCLA with an absolute dud last week against Utah. They were crushed 52-7 in that one, but they’ll bounce back this week. Cal’s offense is not to be trusted without Chase Garbers, and you probably shouldn’t have trusted it all that much with him. That makes it hard to trust the Bears as such large favorites in this spot. Oregon State is 4-1 ATS in its last five games, as well as 4-1 ATS in its last five road games, while Cal is 0-4 ATS in its last four at home. Plus, this will be an early kickoff, with the game starting at 11:30 a.m. local time. I always love a double-digit dog in the morning. Cal 24, Oregon State 14

SportsLine Game of the Week

No. 2 LSU at Mississippi State: The SEC on CBS Game of the Week sees LSU hitting the road to take on Mississippi State. The Tigers are 18.5-point favorites with the total for the game set at 61.5 points. I have a strong play for this game as well, but you can only see it over at SportsLine

Last Week

Season

Games of the Week

1-1

7-7

Lock of the Week

0-1

1-6

Overall

3-3, -0.273 units

18-24, -7.638 units

So which teams should you back in Week 8 of the college football season? And which national title contender goes down hard? Visit SportsLine now to see who wins and covers every single FBS matchup, all from the model that has returned over $4,200 in profit to $100 bettors on top-rated spread picks over the last four seasons.