If I Were A Betting Man: Week 8 picks

Bill Trocchi, Staff
Rivals Articles

We all know final scores are nice and all, but here at Betting Man, we obviously like to factor the point spread into the final score to see how a team performed relative to our (pretend) bets.

In that vain, an interesting factoid was discovered while perusing teamrankings.com, where they do a great job tracking betting trends. I wanted to see which teams, after factoring the point spread into the final scores, carried the best point differential among Power Five schools this season. In other words, if a team is favored by 20 and wins by 24, their point differential for that game is +4.

The top three teams by this metric all play in the Big Ten, and they also happen to be the top three teams in the nation in yards-per-play allowed, the defensive measurement du jour of college football stat heads. Wisconsin, Ohio State and Penn State have ridden their stifling defenses to a combined 14-4 record against the spread and the top three ATS point-differentials among Power Five teams. So leaning on the superior defensive team is certainly something to consider when looking for an edge against the bookmakers.

Looking for an edge against yours truly this week is Kevin Noon, publisher of BuckeyeGrove.com. Ohio State will take on Penn State and Michigan down the road, plus topped Washington in the Rose Bowl in January, so his insight will be appreciated this week. Also, National/West Coast analyst Adam Gorney will look to push the Rivals analysts back in front after a strong run by yours truly has created a tie atop the standings.

Off we go.

All games listed are Saturday and ET. Point spreads are from Covers.com.

Florida (-5) at South Carolina, noon, ESPN

This one has hangover written all over it, with both teams coming off emotional contests last week and South Carolina students trying to make a noon kickoff in Columbia. Big boost for the Gamecocks getting Ryan Hillinski back after it looked like his knee injury against Georgia might keep him out for a while. It is tough to take the Gators in this one coming off Auburn and LSU, but a letdown is likely coming for South Carolina.

Trocchi’s pick: Florida, $50

Noon: Florida

Gorney: Florida

Oregon (-2.5) at Washington, 3:30 p.m., ABC

Remember the defensive stats from above? Well, Oregon happens to be No. 4 in yards allowed per play behind the Big Ten’s Big Three, so give me the Ducks on the road. Washington is a solid 5-2 against the spread, but this Oregon team is fringe playoff-worthy and will be too much.

Trocchi’s pick: Oregon, $100

Noon: Oregon

Gorney: Washington

Baylor (+3.5) at Oklahoma State, 4 p.m., FOX

One of 12 remaining unbeatens, Baylor nevertheless is an underdog against an explosive Oklahoma State squad that is at home coming off a bye week. The Bears were fortunate last week to survive Texas Tech in double overtime. They will not be as fortunate this week.

Trocchi’s pick: Oklahoma State, $100

Noon: Baylor

Gorney: Oklahoma State

Arizona State (+13.5) at Utah, 6 p.m., Pac-12 Network

Utah has the better offense, the better defense and the home field in this delicious Pac-12 South matchup, but does it really deserve to be a two-touchdown favorite? Arizona State quarterback Jayden Daniels has led three game-winning fourth-quarter drives this year, looking nothing like a true freshman. Utah may pull it out, but this number is too high.

Trocchi’s pick: Arizona State, $75

Noon: Arizona State

Gorney: Utah

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