Week 8 CFB ATS Notes

Thor Nystrom
·16 min read



In the table below, you'll find the Adjusted Thor Line (ATL), a system I devised for determining line value. Check back Thursday for this week’s official plays.

All lines courtesy of PointsBet Sportsbook.

Away

Home

PB Line

ATL

ATL side

Line value

Arkansas State Red Wolves

Appalachian State Mountaineers

-12

-11.0

Arkansas State Red Wolves

1

Tulsa Golden Hurricane

South Florida Bulls

10.5

11.4

N/A

N/A

Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns

UAB Blazers

-2.5

0.3

Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns

2.8

Illinois Fighting Illini

Wisconsin Badgers

-19.5

-23.0

Wisconsin Badgers

3.5

Utah State Aggies

Boise State Broncos

-16.5

-18.3

Boise State Broncos

1.8

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Boston College Eagles

-3

-3.9

N/A

N/A

Texas State Bobcats

BYU Cougars

-29

-27.2

Texas State Bobcats

1.8

Tulane Green Wave

UCF Knights

-19.5

-17.0

Tulane Green Wave

2.5

UTEP Miners

Charlotte 49ers

-14.5

-16.9

Charlotte 49ers

2.4

Syracuse Orange

Clemson Tigers

-46

-42.2

Syracuse Orange

3.8

Georgia Southern Eagles

Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

-6.5

-7.7

Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

1.2

Kentucky Wildcats

Missouri Tigers

5.5

4.8

N/A

N/A

Hawai'i Rainbow Warriors

Fresno State Bulldogs

-4

-6.0

Fresno State Bulldogs

2.0

Penn State Nittany Lions

Indiana Hoosiers

6.5

6.8

N/A

N/A

Kansas Jayhawks

Kansas State Wildcats

-20

-21.9

Kansas State Wildcats

1.9

Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles

Liberty Flames

-10

-9.4

N/A

N/A

Florida State Seminoles

Louisville Cardinals

-5

-6.9

Louisville Cardinals

1.9

South Carolina Gamecocks

LSU Tigers

-6.5

-5.4

South Carolina Gamecocks

1.1

Florida Atlantic Owls

Marshall Thundering Herd

-17

-10.6

Florida Atlantic Owls

6.4

Temple Owls

Memphis Tigers

-13.5

-15.1

Memphis Tigers

1.6

Virginia Cavaliers

Miami Hurricanes

-11.5

-16.8

Miami Hurricanes

5.3

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Michigan State Spartans

N/A

-10.4

N/A

N/A

Michigan Wolverines

Minnesota Golden Gophers

3

-0.2

Minnesota Golden Gophers

3.2

Houston Cougars

Navy Midshipmen

14

5.4

Navy Midshipmen

8.6

Wyoming Cowboys

Nevada Wolf Pack

4.5

3.9

N/A

N/A

NC State Wolfpack

North Carolina Tar Heels

-17

-12.6

NC State Wolfpack

4.4

Maryland Terrapins

Northwestern Wildcats

-11

-13.6

Northwestern Wildcats

2.6

Nebraska Cornhuskers

Ohio State Buckeyes

-26

-24.6

Nebraska Cornhuskers

1.4

Iowa State Cyclones

Oklahoma State Cowboys

-3.5

-3.9

N/A

N/A

Auburn Tigers

Ole Miss Rebels

3

3.6

N/A

N/A

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Pittsburgh Panthers

10.5

13.8

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

3.3

Iowa Hawkeyes

Purdue Boilermakers

3.5

3.6

N/A

N/A

Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

Rice Owls

-3.5

-5.5

Rice Owls

2.0

UNLV Rebels

San Diego State Aztecs

-15

-15.5

N/A

N/A

Air Force Falcons

San José State Spartans

7

7.9

N/A

N/A

Cincinnati Bearcats

SMU Mustangs

-2

2.0

Cincinnati Bearcats

4

UL Monroe Warhawks

South Alabama Jaguars

-15

-7.1

UL Monroe Warhawks

7.9

Oklahoma Sooners

TCU Horned Frogs

6.5

5.1

TCU Horned Frogs

1.4

Alabama Crimson Tide

Tennessee Volunteers

21

19.6

Tennessee Volunteers

1.4

Baylor Bears

Texas Longhorns

-9

-7.2

Baylor Bears

1.8

West Virginia Mountaineers

Texas Tech Red Raiders

3.5

3.1

N/A

N/A

Georgia State Panthers

Troy Trojans

-2.5

-0.3

Georgia State Panthers

2.2

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs

UTSA Roadrunners

2.5

2.9

N/A

N/A

Virginia Tech Hokies

Wake Forest Demon Deacons

10

10.9

N/A

N/A

The Big 10 is back!

Ohio State Buckeyes (-26) vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers

ATL: OSU -24.6

Nebraska HC Scott Frost announced Monday that junior QB Adrian Martinez will start against the No. 5-ranked Buckeyes. Martinez beat out redshirt freshman Luke McCaffrey. But the ballyhooed McCaffrey is nipping at Martinez’s heals should the veteran struggle -- Frost won’t hesitate to yank him if Martinez gets the yips. This is a huge year for the Frost Regime.

Ohio State plays Penn State next week. They aren’t going to empty the playbook for style points here.

Penn State Nittany Lions (-6.5) at Indiana Hoosiers

ATL: PSU -6.8

Devastating news out of Penn State this week, as the school announced redshirt junior RB Journey Brown could miss the entire 2020 season due to an undisclosed medical condition. Brown was the No. 1 RB on Dane Brugler’s 2021 draft board coming into this season.

Not only that, but PSU already lost consensus No. 1 LB Micah Parsons to opt-out.

The Nits will ride with Noah Cain and Devyn Ford at running back. That’s a strong duo -- but neither Cain nor Ford are Journey Brown.

Wrong team favored?

Michigan Wolverines (-3) at Minnesota Golden Gophers

ATL: Minnesota -0.2

Sticking in the Big 10, Michigan is favored over the Gophers this week on name-value alone. My numbers suggest this game is a straight pick ‘em.

Michigan is going to look a bit different than the last time we saw them. QB Shea Patterson is gone. So are his Nos. 2-4 receivers from last year.

HC Jim Harbaugh said Monday that star WR Nico Collins is no longer with the program. Collins reportedly signed with an agent in September. Michigan also lost Donovan Peoples-Jones to early declaration last spring, and Tarik Black to Texas via grad transfer.

Michigan will try to make due with a green receiving corps that includes a group Harbaugh says he’s high on, including Giles Jackson, A.J. Henning, Cornelius Johnson, Roman Wilson, Mike Sainristil and last year’s No. 1, Ronnie Bell.

Harbaugh also said that redshirt soph QB Joe Milton has been practicing with the first-team offense, but that QB Cade McNamara has "closed all gaps as well." Harbaugh declined to name a starter. We still expect it to be Milton, who has drawn comps to Cam Newton for his size, athleticism, and arm strength.

COVID corner

Iowa Hawkeyes (-3.5) at Purdue Boilermakers

ATL: Iowa -3.6

This is an interesting handicap with a lot of different angles to decipher.

Purdue HC Jeff Brohm tested positive for COVID-19 late last week and is questionable to be on the sideline. Brohm is one of the game’s better in-game offensive minds -- his loss would sting.

On the other side, Iowa is coming off a brutal offseason.

In early June, 21-year strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle lost his job over racial-bias allegations. And recently, eight former Hawkeyes, all black, sought $20 million in compensation for alleged racial discrimination during their Hawkeye careers. Those players also demanded the firing of AD Gary Barta, HC Kirk Ferentz and assistant Brian Ferentz. Iowa formally declined to meet those demands.

Of more pressing concern to the present-day on-field product, starting LB Djimon Colbert, he of the 23 career starts and 113 tackles, opted-out for the season recently citing COVID concerns. The Hawkeyes, who are fairly deep at linebacker, hope they can seamlessly replace him. We got a sneak-peak at what the defense would look like without Colbert in the Holiday Bowl win over USC, when Colbert was replaced by Nick Niemann. Jack Campbell, a younger player, is also pushing hard to slot in for Colbert.

Speaking of opt-outs, Purdue got enormous news when stud WR Rondale Moore reversed course and opted back-in for the 2020 season. Moore is one of the most valuable players in the Big 10.

Auburn Tigers (-3) at Ole Miss Rebels

ATL: Auburn -3.6

Ole Miss is dealing with a COVID outbreak. HC Lane Kiffin said Monday that his team had more active COVID-19 cases than it did on Saturday, when the Rebels lost at Arkansas. That’s brutal news, because Ole Miss’ roster was already extremely compromised against the Razorbacks.

Two defensive starters -- Tariqious Tisdale and Jakorey Hawkins -- missed Saturday's loss to Arkansas. With more positive tests and the SEC’s contact tracing protocols, Ole Miss may be down even more on Saturday.

Auburn badly needs a win after it coughed away last week’s game against South Carolina. Things have gotten so bad for Auburn’s offense that OC Chad Morris is mediating between QB Bo Nix and his receiving corps.

Texas Longhorns (-9) vs. Baylor Bears

ATL: Texas -7.2

Baylor HC Dave Aranda made a big announcement earlier this week: His roster is officially COVID-free!

The Bears struggled mightily with the virus previously, at one point having 28 active cases among players and 14 among staffers. The Bears have seen postponements of games against Louisiana Tech (due to LTU’s COVID issues), Houston and, last week, Oklahoma State.

Baylor last played on Oct. 3 against West Virginia -- a three-week layoff. The Longhorns, meanwhile, come off a bye following consecutive losses to TCU and Oklahoma.

Virginia Tech Hokies (-10) at Wake Forest Demon Deacons

ATL: VT -10.9

Virginia Tech had starters out due to COVID once again last week but converted five Boston College turnovers into 20 points in a win.

The Hokies’ roster should be healthier than it has been all season. Virginia Tech was without 23 players against NC State due to COVID, out 21 the next week against Duke, and out 15 against North Carolina. QB Hendon Hooker also didn’t debut until last week after an undisclosed medical condition was discovered during COVID screening.

Opt-outs

Memphis Tigers (-13.5) vs. Temple Owls

ATL: Memphis -15.1

As rumors swirled early last Saturday on Memphis message boards that WR Damonte Coxie would opt-out of the season, Coxie did indeed sit out that day’s Central Florida game. Afterwards, it was announced that Coxie had left the program. Memphis came back to beat UCF by a point late, anyway.

But boy has Memphis taken personnel shots since the end of last season, particularly on offense. RB Patrick Taylor Jr. and OW Antonio Gibson are in the NFL, now. Coxie was only the second receiver in school history to have back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons (Anthony Miller was the other). Star RB Kenneth Gainwell, who would have been one of the country’s top returning running backs.

Previously, Coye Fairman and Tim Hart opted-out, while La'Andre Thomas and John "Pop" Williams are on leaves of absences for undisclosed reasons.

And last but not least: CB1 TJ Carter didn’t play against UCF. HC Ryan Silverfield had previously said that Carter was playing through a hamstring injury. However, Silverfield declined to update Carter’s status after Saturday’s game. It’s unclear at present if Carter’s absence was entirely health-related.

I know Memphis still has a star graybeard QB in Brady White -- but the losses they’ve suffered from player defections and Mike Norvell's move to FSU has to catch up to them eventually. Doesn’t it?

Kansas State Wildcats (-20) vs. Kansas Jayhawks

ATL: KSU -21.9

Kansas lost its best player this week when RB Pooka Williams announced he was opting out for the rest of the season due to concerns over his mother's health. It’s unclear if Williams intends to return next season (as a rJR) or declare for the NFL Draft. But KU’s toothless offense just lost its molars.

On the other side, Kansas State QB Skylar Thompson is out for the year. Per HC Chris Klieman, Thompson had surgery for "an upper-body injury" last week. True freshman QB Will Howard will continue to start. Howard went 8-of-19 passing with an interception and ran for 86 yards and a touchdown in a win over TCU two weeks ago. K-State had a bye last week.

Kansas, meanwhile, received a gift of a cover against West Virginia last week when Pooka returned a late kickoff for a touchdown in garbage time. That ended up being the last play of Pooka's season. The remaining question: Will it be the last of his collegiate career?

Injury updates

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (-2.5) at UTSA Roadrunners

ATL: LTU -2.9

UTSA quarterback Lowell Narcisse is expected to miss the rest of the season with a leg injury. That’s super unfortunate, because the former LSU Tiger had rallied up from the QB3 spot on the depth chart to starting, and he’d shown to be the team’s most effective quarterback. It’s likely that the Roadrunners return to former starter Frank Harris, who replaced Narcisse after his injury against Army on Saturday.

North Carolina Tar Heels (-17) vs. NC State Wolfpack

ATL: UNC -12.6

NC State QB Devin Leary will miss 4-8 weeks after undergoing surgery on a broken left fibula on Sunday. He was injured in Saturday’s win over Duke. The Wolfpack will have to go back to Bailey Hockman, who began the year as starter but got the hook for Leary due to ineffectiveness.

UNC needs to bounce back after it was upset by Florida State 31-28. The Tar Heels actually outplayed the Seminoles -- with a 100-plus yardage advantage, a better success rate, more drives into FSU territory -- but were done in by two blocked punts and a pick-six.

LSU Tigers (-6.5) vs. South Carolina Gamecocks

ATL: LSU -5.4

LSU got an unexpected bye last week when its game against Florida was postponed. That was supposed to be a get-right week for the Tigers. Perhaps it was, but LSU may have a real problem under center.

HC Ed Orgeron announced Monday that QB Myles Brennan is dealing with a "significant" lower-body injury. Brennan is listed as questionable to play against the Gamecocks. Coach O ominously told reporters that Brennan wouldn’t have been able to play against Florida if the game hadn’t been postponed.

If Brennan can’t go against the Gamecocks, LSU will start either TJ Finley or Max Johnson at quarterback.

Houston Cougars (-14) at Navy Midshipmen

ATL: Houston -5.4

Navy senior QB Dalen Morris is currently in concussion protocol after a targeting hit he took in the third quarter against ECU on Saturday. Morris previously missed Navy's lopsided loss at Air Force on October 3 because of a medical condition exacerbated by altitude. Navy HC Ken Niumatalolo sounded optimistic about Morris being able to bounce back quickly to take the field against the Cougars: "We expect him back and everything is good there,” he said.

Houston is coming off a 17-point loss to BYU that was quite a bit closer than that in reality. The Cougars finished with a higher offensive success rate (43% to 41%) but were done in late by an inability to prevent explosive BYU plays down the field.

The discrepancy between my line and PointsBets’ can probably be explained by Houston going toe-to-toe with BYU for three-plus quarters and Morris’ iffy status. But man -- an 8.6-point discount on the line is enticing.

Louisville Cardinals (-5) vs. Florida State Seminoles

ATL: Louisville -6.9

The Seminoles are coming off a triumphant upset win over UNC. They needed a pick-six and some blocked punts to hold on by three.

Unfortunately, star WR Tamorrion Terry, who missed the UNC game, underwent left knee surgery and is expected to be out until sometime in November. But FSU redshirt freshman QB Jordan Travis is expected to play through his leg injury, per HC Mike Norvell.

Are the Seminoles in for a letdown after last Saturday’s crucial win?

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-10.5) vs. Pittsburgh Panthers

ATL: ND -13.8

Pittsburgh QB Kenny Pickett was a late scratch from last week’s 31-19 loss to Miami due to a left ankle injury. Pitt HC Pat Narduzzi said Pickett “made a lot of headway” rehabbing over the weekend, but wouldn’t expand beyond saying there was “a chance” Pickett would play against Notre Dame.

Arizona State transfer Joey Yellen completed 22-of-46 passes for 277 yards and a touchdown in place of Pickett in his Pitt debut. Yellen will get the call again if Pickett can’t go.

Miami Hurricanes (-11.5) vs. Virginia Cavaliers

ATL: Miami -16.8

Virginia QB Brennan Armstrong missed last week’s 40-23 loss to Wake Forest with concussion-like symptoms. His primary backup Lindell Stone struggled mightily in the pocket.

Three Cavalier QBs saw action: In addition to Stone, Mississippi State transfer Keytaon Thompson and Ira Armstead also took snaps. The latter duo only attempted three passes combined, but rushed for 117 yards, providing UVA’s most consistent source of offense. Thompson was back at QB after shifting out to play some receiver earlier this year.

We should know later in the week if Armstrong can go. His absence was felt last Saturday. Virginia not only was more efficient offensively than the Demon Deacons, but they got inside Wake’s 40-yard line eight times. Unfortunately, UVA only scored 23 points on those drives -- an average of less than a field goal per pop -- and were further hamstrung by a 3-0 turnover disadvantage.

Reinforcements on the way

Oklahoma Sooners (-6.5) at TCU Horned Frogs

ATL: Oklahoma -5.1

The Sooners got good news when former UCLA OG Chris Murray was added to the roster last week. Originally expected to have to sit out the season due to NCAA transfer rules, Murray won his appeal for immediate eligibility (albeit a few games late).

A Freshman All-American guard/center for the Bruins in 2018, Murray started all 12 games at guard as a sophomore a season ago before bolting to Norman. His presence is an enormous boost for the offensive line.

Oklahoma is off a misleading OT win over Texas -- misleading in that Oklahoma dominated for the majority of the game. Texas didn’t hold a lead until the second half, and managed only one QB hurry and one sack.

Canceled

Colorado State Rams (-17) vs. New Mexico Lobos

ATL: CSU -13.0

The Mountain West canceled the game on Tuesday “[d]ue to the prevalence of the COVID-19 virus in [the Fort Collins area] and in accordance with state guidelines,” according to its statement.

It will not be rescheduled. “[T]he Mountain West is canceling the game and declaring it a no contest. There is no plan to reschedule the game,” the statement said.

2020: 21-17-1 (55.2%) ATS

Lifetime (2014-Present): 561-486-17 (53.6%) ATS

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