While Week 8 of the 2021 college football season marks the second straight slate without any big-time matchups, there are still opportunities for betting value across the board.
I’ll go over some early sides that show value compared to my projections and try to get you some closing line value as these lines sharpen up throughout the week. For this card, I’ll be looking at some Big 12 teams in conference play, some road teams out West and a team that desperately needs a good performance after an incredibly disappointing start to the year.
Click here for more PFF tools:
Projection: Iowa State -9.7
The AP Top 25 poll would imply that this line is crazy, but there’s a good reason for it. If you look past the records, there’s plenty of factors for the Cyclones being favored by nearly a touchdown against a top-10 team. For one, it’s the only team in the nation that ranks in the top 10 in expected points added (EPA) per play on both offense and defense. Quarterback Brock Purdy is arguably playing the best football of his career this season, which is backed up by an 88.2 passing grade, good for eighth in the country. On the ground, stud running back Breece Hall has forced the fourth-most missed tackles at the position.
However, the other side of the ball is where the Cyclones will really have an advantage. Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy absolutely loves the ground game (eighth in rush rate), but the problem is that he continues to pound the “handoff” button with an attack that ranks 102nd in EPA per carry. If that continues, the Cowboys are in for a long day against a defense that ranks 11th in that same category.
While Oklahoma State’s passing game isn’t great either, the offense has been more efficient there. But the problem for the Cowboys is that the Cyclones rank 11th in EPA per pass and per rush. This is one of the top defenses in the country, and an offense that ranks 102nd in success rate looks overmatched. Iowa State is just the more complete team in this matchup.
|Opponent||Missouri State||Tulsa||Boise State||Kansas State||Baylor||Texas|
Colorado State Rams (-2.5) @ Utah State Aggies
Projection: Colorado State -5.8
Colorado State has rebounded very well from an 0-2 start, largely due to a dominant defense.
|EPA/Play||Success Rate||Pass Success Rate||Rush Success Rate||Pass-Rush Grade|
|Colorado State (Rank)||2||2||3||8||11|
Miami transfer Scott Patchan has been one of the most productive edge defenders in the country in his sixth year of college football. His overall grade and pass-rush grade both rank top four in the country at the position, and fellow edge defender Toby McBride has graded out in the top five in the Mountain West, as well.