Top Totals for Week 8: Defenses Carry the Day

iowa northwestern

Jay Pryce

Wednesday, October 18, 2017 1:32 PM GMT

Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017 1:32 PM GMT

Here’s a trio of top totals picks for Week 8 around the country in college football with predictions for Iowa-Northwestern, Arizona-Cal and Boston College-Virginia.

Iowa at Northwestern (47)

Defense typically dominates when Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz and Northwestern leader Pat Fitzgerald clash. The two have met 11 times. The average combined score is 45.0 points with the loser scoring 17 or fewer in all but two.

The Hawkeyes unit is stuffing poor scoring teams in Big Ten play of late. In the last calendar year, it has surrendered 17, 0, 10, 17 and 16 points in five contests vs. conference opponents averaging less than 30 points per game. The Wildcats enter scoring 27. 5 per tilt.

Northwestern, meanwhile, allows 20.7 points per game to Big Ten foes at Ryan Field since the start of 2015. Iowa (40) two seasons ago and Penn State (31) in Week 6 are only two of nine opponents to score more than 24 points.

The ‘over’ has cashed the last three meetings between the two schools, with each game combining for more than 50 points. Look for these two to get back to a “normal” Iowa-Northwestern scoreline Saturday.

Free NCAAF Pick: Under 47Best Line Offered: Bookmaker

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Arizona at Cal (59)

Defense is the new emphasis at Cal under first-year head coach Justin Wilcox. The ‘under’ is 5-2 this season, playing 9.1 points below an average 61.2 total. After a dominating display in a 37-3 over No. 5 Washington State last Friday night, it’s fair to say the market is still trying to adjust. That was the fewest points the Air Raid Cougars have put up since Mike Leach installed the high-scoring offense in 2012.

Arizona enters averaging 42.8 points per game, 39.0 against FBS competition. It has squared off against some cupcake defenses, however, including UCLA (40.5), UTEP (37.9) and FCS Northern Arizona.

The Wildcats will run, run, and run some more. They rank 14th nationally rushing the ball on 64.9 percent of plays. They’re pretty good at it, too, averaging 6.3 yards per carry (fourth). The attack will allow time tick off the clock. The Cal defense will hold strong when needed. It has not allowed an opponent to eclipse its team total by more than a field goal all season.

Free NCAAF Pick: Under 59Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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Boston College at Virginia (48.5)

Boston College likely used up all its offense in a shock 45-42 win over Louisville last week. It is the first time in three years the Steve Addazio-led bunch has scored more than 37 points against FBS competition. In fact, the Eagles average 15.4 points per game against ACC opponents in this span. Other than the Louisville fluke, the team scored more than 17 points once in its last 10 conference road tests. Expect normalcy to return at Scott Stadium against Virginia.

The Cavaliers defense is playing like an elite bunch. It yields 22.0 points per game to FBS foes and has allowed just one (Indiana) to score over its projected team total. The best part for ‘under’ bettors is that the unit is stellar against the pass. Its 5.6 yards per attempt surrendered ranks sixth in the country. The Eagles are tied with Rutgers for the fewest yards per passing attempt (4.9) among Power 5 programs. This game will be one-dimensional from the first snap with a lot of three-and-outs and punts. It will be ugly and low-scoring.

Free NCAAF Pick: Under 48.5Best Line Offered: Betmania

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