College Football Odds Week 7: Picks, Score Predictions For Top 25 Teams

Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book, left, hands off to Josh Adams (33) during the first half of an NCAA college football game against North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)Gerry Broome/Associated Press

Hold on tight, because Week 8 of college football is going to be all about making sense of the carnage from Week 7. 

After a week of madness, in which four of the top 10 went down, the Top 25 has a different look and the playoff picture has shifted.

Clemson—who once looked nearly invincible—was stunned by Syracuse. Washington State's torrid start was obliterated by California. Washington suffered a similar fate at the hands of Arizona State, while Auburn got Orgeron'd. 

Dogs and cats lived together. It was a sure sign of the end times.

It all gives Week 8 a sense of suspense as the schedule is once again marked by matchups pitting ranked teams against unranked underdogs, and nothing feels guaranteed (except for Bama, Bama always feels guaranteed).

Here's the entire Week 8 schedule along with a look at three of the top games for the week. 


Top 25 Schedule

All odds courtesy of OddsShark. Author's picks in bold. 


Thursday, October 19

No. 25 Memphis at Houston (+3) 8 p.m. ET


Saturday, October 21

No. 10 Oklahoma State at Texas (+7) 12 p.m. ET

Maryland at

No. 5 Wisconsin (-24) 12 p.m. ET

Tennessee at

No. 1 Alabama (-35) 3:30 p.m. ET

Indiana at

No. 18 Michigan State (-6.5) 3:30 p.m. ET

Syracuse at

No. 8 Miami (-16.5) 3:30 p.m. ET

North Carolina at

No. 14 Virginia Tech (-21) 3:30 p.m. ET

No. 20 UCF at Navy (+7.5) 3:30 p.m. ET

No. 9 Oklahoma at Kansas State (+14) 4 p.m. ET

No. 16 USF at

Tulane (+11.5) 7 p.m. ET

No. 24 LSU at Ole Miss (+6.5) 7:15 p.m. ET

No. 21 Auburn at Arkansas (+15.5) 7:30 p.m. ET

No. 11 USC at No.

13 Notre Dame (-3.5) 7:30 p.m. ET

No. 19 Michigan at No. 2 Penn State (+9.5) 7:30 p.m. ET

Kansas at No. 4 TCU (-39) 8 p.m. ET

No. 23 West Virginia at

Baylor (+9.5) 8 p.m. ET

Colorado at

No. 15 Washington State (-10.5) 10:45 p.m. ET


Syracuse at No. 8 Miami

SYRACUSE, NY - OCTOBER 13:  Eric Dungey #2 of the Syracuse Orange runs for a first down in the final minutes of the game against the Clemson Tigers at the Carrier Dome on October 13, 2017 in Syracuse, New York. Syracuse defeats Clemson 27-24.  (Photo by BBrett Carlsen/Getty Images

After slaying the giant that is Clemson, the Syracuse Orange are a hot pick to once again be the upset of the week. According to OddsShark, Syracuse plus the 16.5-point spread is backed by 65 percent of bettors heading into Saturday. 

On the surface it makes sense. After all, the Orange just beat one of the best teams in the nation and Miami barely survived Georgia Tech last week. It would appear the two teams are playing at similar levels right now. 

To paraphrase Lee Corso, watch your speed. 

While Syracuse's win over Clemson was no doubt impressive, there were a few extraneous factors working in the team's favor that won't be the case against Miami. The Orange got Clemson at home, on a shortened week and in a Friday night game. 

That's a different atmosphere than a 3:30 p.m. Saturday kickoff on the road. 

According to beat writer Stephen Bailey, Dino Babers' squad is feeling confident heading into this matchup:

Stephen Bailey @Stephen_Bailey1

Syracuse HC Dino Babers said he thought his team had 50-50 faith before the Clemson upset. Now has 90-95% faith heading into Miami.

2017-10-18 15:24:51

But should it? 

Despite some close calls, Football Outsiders' F/+ rankings have the Hurricanes as the No. 9 team in the country. Syracuse is No. 75 by the same metric. 

That's a wide efficiency margin. 

While that can be overcome in one week playing on a national stage at home, lightning rarely strikes in the same place twice. 

The Orange should have some regression to the mean as the Hurricanes finally get some separation from an opponent. 

Prediction: Miami 38, Syracuse 17


No. 11 USC at No. 13 Notre Dame

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 14:  Quarterback Sam Darnold #14 of the USC Trojans passes the ball in the first half of the game against the Utah Utes at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 14, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jayne Kamin-OJayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

This might as well be considered a loser leaves town match when it comes to the playoff picture. The winner is going to have a shiny new accomplishment on their playoff resume, while the other will pick up its second loss of the season.

Despite being ranked two spots lower, Notre Dame is being given a pretty standard home line as 3.5-point favorites.

Looking at how the two matchup, though, that line could be a bit bigger. 

USC will obviously rely on Sam Darnold to make the offense go. He had 358 yards on 50 attempts against a strong Utah secondary in their 28-27 win over the Utes last week. 

But Notre Dame has also done a great job of defending the pass, and it will get the NFL prospect on the road where he's been decidedly less effective than at home:

  • Darnold at home: 5 games, 122-of-193, 335.2 yards per game, 13 touchdowns, seven interceptions
  • Darnold on road: 2 games, 41-of-67, 193.5 yards per game, two touchdowns, two interceptions

The Irish are No. 12 in the nation in passing yards allowed per attempt, at just 5.9 yards per attempt. 

While Notre Dame has the ability to slow down what USC wants to do on offense (unleash Darnold), the Trojans are less equipped to do so when the Irish have the ball. 

Josh Adams is quietly putting up numbers that are better than Penn State running back and Heisman contender Saquon Barkley, as noted by Barstool Irish:

Barstool Irish @BarstoolIrish

With both ND and PSU off this weekend, wake up to a quick list of rushing categories where Josh Adams leads Saquon Barkley #HeismanWatch

2017-10-14 13:24:15

That's bad news for USC. Clay Helton's defense is just 65th nationally in yards allowed per carry at 4.12. With a back as talented as Adams leading the charge, that number is more likely to go up than down this weekend. 

Notre Dame's only loss has aged well. Considering the Bulldogs are now the No. 3 team in the nation, a 20-19 loss to them is probably one of the best losses in the country. 

A win over USC would go a long way in atoning for that loss and building the future argument that the Irish belong in the College Football Playoff, where they could potentially seek revenge for that loss. 

Prediction: Notre Dame 31, USC 21


No. 19 Michigan at No. 2 Penn State

Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

The only two games between ranked opponents this week will be going on at the same time, as Penn State and Michigan share the 7:30 kick with USC and Notre Dame. 

The matchup here is a little different, as the Nittany Lions are nine-point favorites at home against the 5-1 Wolverines. 

That's understandable, as Penn State has looked strong in each of its six wins while Michigan is coming off a loss to Michigan State and needed overtime to beat Indiana. 

While it's hard to knock the Nittany Lions for what they've done this season, they're still a bit of a mystery. None of their wins have come against teams ranked in the Top 25, and the only time they were on the national stage in a night game it was a two-point win over Iowa. 

Michigan, on the other hand, has shown its colors. It is an elite defensive team with an offense that is struggling. 

Despite struggles in recent weeks, the Wolverines are among the elites in nearly every defensive category. They're No. 2 in yards allowed per play, No. 1 in yards allowed per game and No. 8 in scoring defense. 

Of course, the Nittany Lions are No. 1 in that category and competitive in the rest of them as well. 

Despite the turbulence in recent weeks, Michigan may feel as though the line is disrespectful and should be confident it will cover on Saturday. 

"It was kind of like one slap in the face after another," fourth-year junior Chase Winovich said, per Nick Baumgardner of the Detroit Free Press. "We're 11-point underdogs. I think we've only been beaten (by that many) in the Harbaugh era one time."

With Michigan remaining confident and another week to figure out the offense, this could be a classic Big 10 game with both defenses making life difficult for the offense. 

With Saquon Barkley, DaeSean Hamilton and Juwan Johnson, the Lions simply have more firepower on offense. That gives them the advantage, but nine points is an awful lot to spot a defense as good as Michigan's. 

Prediction: Penn State 24, Michigan 17

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