Week 8 College Football Predictions: Saturday's Best Bets From Across The Country
College football expert and analyst Brett Ciancia is back, giving us his best bets for Saturday's Week 8 games. Brett breaks down all four of his picks, most of which come to us from marquee games like Ole Miss vs. LSU and Pitt vs. Clemson.
Make sure you check back each week to see Brett's Saturday college football picks and best bets throughout the entire season.
Oregon State vs. Utah Prediction
Oregon State vs. Utah Odds
In Pick Six Previews’ 2021 season preview book, Utah was my selection to win the Pac-12 South, while most other preseason publications had USC defending their crown. In consecutive weeks, Utah has proven me right.
First, they went into the Los Angeles Coliseum and defeated USC for the first time in LA in 105 years. Then last Saturday, they scored 28 unanswered points to defeat South contender Arizona State 35-21.
The defense has lived up to expectation, led by ace coordinator Morgan Scalley, currently ranked 2nd in the Pac-12 in yards/per play. But the quarterback change is what has saved their season. Baylor-transfer Charlie Brewer transferred out of Salt Lake City just three games into the season (1-2 record). Since the switch to Cam Rising, Utah’s offense leads the Pac-12 in yards/game (3-0 record).
Utah is undervalued here, and I think most bettors are still factoring in the first half of the season too heavily. However, it’s a vastly improved team with Rising under center, and they look like the best team in the entire conference right now.
Prediction Utah 30, Oregon State 20
Pick: Utah -3 (-110)
Pittsburgh vs. Clemson Prediction
Pitt vs. Clemson Odds
The streak has ended. Clemson opened as favorites in a remarkable 65 straight ACC conference games dating back to 2014. Since then, they have won all six ACC titles, made six straight Playoffs, made four national championships and won two of them.
The transition season away from the record-setting Lawrence/Etienne combo has proven difficult for Clemson and the staff. The offense is currently ranked LAST in the ACC in 10+ yard plays, 20+ yard plays, yards/play, QB rating, and yards/attempt.
With that said, they are coming off of a much-needed bye week and should finally be making some offensive gains. Their defense is one of just six in the nation to place in the Top 15 of my three key defensive metrics.
Pittsburgh is putting up incredible offensive stats in the fifth year of the Kenny Pickett era. Pickett made improvements from 2019 to 2020, battled through injuries while leading wins, and then made another huge jump to his nation-leading stats so far in 2021:
70% completion rate, 21 touchdowns, and just one pick.
Pitt has not faced a Top 25 defense yet, and their opponents’ average rank is below average (68th nationally). This is a perfect opportunity for Pitt to prove themselves against an elite defense and an elite program – but until then, placing Clemson as the underdog seems like a slight overreaction.
Prediction: Clemson 23, Pittsburgh 20
Pick: Clemson +3.5 (-110)
Ole Miss vs. LSU Prediction
Ole Miss vs. LSU Odds
On the day they honor Eli Manning, another elite Ole Miss quarterback is in the early Heisman race. Matt Corral has thrown 14 touchdowns (just one pick), is in the Top 10 in QB Rating and is an effective runner. His 75 rushing yards/game places 7th in the entire SEC.
Meanwhile, Lane Kiffin’s offense gets a favorable matchup going against a struggling LSU defense. LSU is currently ranked 10th/14 in the SEC in yards/play, QB rating, and pass yards/attempt.
Look for Ole Miss to score in bunches, while LSU is playing without several of their top players and future NFL-ers. However, I’m not convinced their offensive explosion last week against Florida has staying power for multiple weeks.
The intangibles are poor for LSU, too, with the off-field drama surrounding the delayed firing of head coach Ed Orgeron announced to take place at the end of the season.
Prediction: Ole Miss 45, LSU 30
Pick: Ole Miss -9 (-110)
Indiana vs. Ohio State Prediction
Indiana vs. Ohio State Odds
Ohio State’s offense has distanced itself from the rest of the nation -- #1 by a wide margin so far. The offensive line should be a Joe Moore Award finalist. The trio of wide receivers is the nation’s best, and true freshman running back TreVeyon Henderson is a darkhorse Heisman candidate. The Buckeyes just routed East Division opponents Rutgers (52-13) and Maryland (66-17) and are fresh off of a bye week. After a magical 2020 season, Indiana appears to be more in that Rutgers/Maryland tier than the Ohio State/Penn State tier.
Prediction: Ohio State 41, Indiana 17
Pick: Ohio State -21 (-110)