College Football Odds: Top Three ATS Picks For Week 8

TCU Football player posing for a picture

Friday, October 21, 2016 2:07 PM GMT

I hit on two of my three top NCAA football ATS picks in Week 7, correct on Western Michigan -11.5 over Akron and Texas -13 over Iowa State. Here are three games this Saturday I feel pretty good about with Intertops college football odds.

 

TCU vs. No. 12 West Virginia (-6.5)

Certainly no Power 5 Conference team without a loss is getting less respect than West Virginia. I wasn't sold on the Mountaineers (5-0, 2-0 Big 12) much until last week. Not shocked that WVU won at Texas Tech, but the 48-17 result was stunning as the Red Raiders are one of the best offensive teams in the nation but had only 379 yards. TTU had scored at least 50 points in nine straight home games, an NCAA record. Meanwhile, WVU had 650 yards of offense, 318 and one touchdown through the air from quarterback Skyler Howard -- the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week -- and 332 yards on the ground. WVU had scoring drives of 91, 89 and 83 yards against Texas Tech and is now 104-13 this century when scoring 30 or more points in a game.  TCU (4-2, 1-1) was off last week and took the  field most recently on Oct. 8 in Kansas and barely escaped with a 24-23 win. The awful Jayhawks led 23-14 entering the fourth. The bye week could mean that TCU gets two key players back this week in receiver KaVontae Turpin and center Austin Schlottman. The Frogs did rout West Virginia 40-10 last year in Fort Worth but that TCU team was much better than this one. TCU also has won both games in Morgantown since joining the Big 12, both thrillers: 39-38 in double overtime in 2012 and 31-30 in 2014.

NCAAF Free Pick: WVU improves to 6-0 for the first time since 2006. The Frogs are 2-5 ATS in their past seven Big 12 games.

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Indiana vs Northwestern (-1.5)

My one ATS loss last week was taking Michigan State at -4 against visiting Northwestern, but the Wildcats scored nearly more points than they did in their first four games of the season combined in a 54-40 victory. Clayton Thorson threw for 281 yards and three TDs for Northwestern and Justin Jackson rushed for 188 yards and two scores. Austin Carr, who leads the Big Ten in every major receiving category, had 11 catches for 130 yards and two touchdowns. That's back-to-back impressive offensive efforts following a 38-31 Northwestern win at Iowa the game before -- Michigan State and Iowa played  in last year's Big Ten title game. The 54 points were the most for NU since 2000 and most ever given up by Sparty at home.  The Wildcats (3-3, 2-1 Big Ten) are very much alive in the Big Ten West race, although they need to probably win out and have Nebraska lose twice. Indiana (3-3, 1-2) has lost back-to-back games, albeit against No. 2 Ohio State and No. 10 Nebraska. The Huskers barely escaped Bloomington last week, 27-22. IU's defense has played very well and it limited Nebraska to 360 total years, down 112 from its season average coming in. This is the first meeting between the NU and IU since 2012. Seven of the last nine games between the two teams have been decided by seven points or less.

NCAAF Free Pick: I think the Hoosiers will be worn down from three straight games vs. ranked foes. Take surging Northwestern. It has covered four of its past five in the Big Ten.

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No. 19 Utah vs. UCLA (-7)

Big game for the Utes (6-1, 3-1 Pac-12) as they are tied for the Pac-12 South Division lead with Colorado and they can't get caught looking ahead to next week's home showdown with conference favorite and No. 5 Washington. I do think Utah was caught napping a bit last week in barely winning at Oregon State, 19-14, despite knocking out the Beavers' top two quarterbacks and OSU's No. 1 running back leaving after one carry. An interesting story from that game was Utah running back Joe Williams returning from a month-long retirement and rushing for 179 yards and a touchdown on 34 carries. Williams played the first two games of the season and struggled, then called it quits as he was spent mentally and physically. But Utah needed him with several tailback injuries, including No. 1 Armand Shyne being lost for the season. I will like Utah much more in this game if UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen can't play, and he will be a game-time decision. He missed last week's loss to Washington State with a right shoulder injury. Senior Mike Fafaul, a former walk-on, was 24-for-40 passing for 258 yards, three touchdowns, and two costly interceptions in the 27-21 loss to the Cougars. I would think Fafaul would have trouble against a Utah defense that's one of the best in the Pac-12 and is No. 2 nationally with 17 takeaways.

NCAAF Free Pick: Utah is 1-6 all-time in road games against UCLA, picking up its only win in the Rose Bowl in 2014, but I am taking the points here as I think Rosen sits. The Bruins are just 2-7 ATS in their past nine games. 

 

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