Last week, we had an incredible slate with top-25 matchups all over the place, and it did not disappoint. The betting column was 3-3, but if you threw a little bit on the Tennessee Moneyline like I suggested you likely netted a solid profit for the week. We’ll count that as a W, which puts the column at 31-15 on the season. This week the slate is, uh, not nearly as great but there are still some good matchups to get into! Let's dive into week 8.
(Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.)
Marshall @ James Madison Under 54.5
Let me preface this bet by letting you know this number has dropped a ton from when I bet it on Monday. Currently, it sits at 50.5 but I still think there is value down to 49. Overall, I think the reason we’ve seen such a drastic drop in this total is that oddsmakers simply screwed this one up at the opener. There was no reason for this total to ever be that high given the state of these teams.
James Madison has made their jump to the FBS look easy as the Dukes come in 5-1. The reason for their success has been on the defensive side as the Duke's unit ranks 1st in standard down defensive success rate and 1st in defensive rushing success rate. They’ve also been very good in getting in disrupting plays as JMU ranks 6th in defensive havoc.
Marshall’s defense is pretty great as well, coming in 10th in defensive standard down success rate and leading the nation in defensive havoc. The problem for the Herd has been on offense, as they rank 79th in offensive success rate and 125th in havoc allowed. Something JMU should feast on.
Overall, these two teams possess great defenses that should have a ton of success shutting down the opposing offenses. I expect this game to be heavily dominated by these units to the point where I think the total was, and still is, much too high.
Syracuse @ Clemson (-13.5)
This is a BIG number for the Tigers but I think it has backdoor written all over it. A lot of attention has been paid to the SEC and Ohio State but meanwhile, Clemson is lurking around at 7-0. They’ve been better on both sides of the ball this season and they now have an opportunity to really bolster their resume against a surprise Syracuse team that comes in undefeated.
For me, I am just not sure I buy the Orange just yet. Yes, they’ve had much better quarterback play and currently they sit as the 4th best passing offense in the country, but they have not played a murders row of defenses this season. Louisville, Virginia, UCONN, and Wagner aren’t huge tests. Clemson is, as they come in 22nd in the nation against the pass.
I feel like this is a game that Clemson will be able to control for most of the time with their strong defensive unit. As the game wears on I think the Tigers will have a lead and eventually break open a big play and go up 14. I think this game could be Syracuse covering for what feels like forever and then suddenly Clemson is up 21 in a flash. Lastly, Dabo is known for running it up and going for the extra score late if he can. With Clemson having a chance to pick up a quality win I think they’ll be looking to keep the pedal down here.
UCLA @ Oregon Over 70.5
In the last couple of weeks, the PAC 12 has shown off their dominating offenses throughout the conference with UCLA, USC, and Utah all playing in primetime. We’ve been on the over in each of those games and each has sailed by the number with relative ease. We’re keeping that trend going here with UCLA and Oregon despite the total climbing higher each week.
Both of these offenses are lethal. Oregon comes into this game 2nd in the nation in offensive standard down success rate while UCLA comes in 7th. Both of these teams also have incredibly strong rushing offenses with the Ducks possessing the nation 2nd best rushing offense while UCLA ranks 12th.
The offenses alone make this feel like an over, but add in the poor defenses on both sides and I think this really has the chance to be a track meet. The Ducks have especially struggled in getting their defense off the field, ranking 129th in defensive third down conversion rate. If that continues, UCLA should be able to keep dominating in the trenches and moving the football consistently. The Bruin's defense isn’t all that great either as they come in 77th in defensive success rate. I think once again this has a chance to be points, points, points. I’ll be taking the over and throwing a little bit on UCLA +6 as I think this game will be back and forth all day long.
Memphis @ Tulane (-7): The Green Wave come in 23rd in the nation in passing success rate on offense, and Memphis ranks 108th in passing success rate on defense. Huge mismatch, I think this is spread is too low.
Southern Miss (-2) @ Texas State: This one is just a numbers play. Numbers make Southern Miss an 11-point favorite and thus far this season these major discrepancies have done well for me.
Ole Miss @ LSU (-1.5): Look at the schedule for these two teams. LSU has played Florida State, Mississippi State, Florida, and Tennessee. Ole Miss has played Troy, Central Alabama, Georgia Tech, Tulsa, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, and Auburn. One team has really been tested one has not. Give me the Tigers here.