College football is heading full-speed toward a frenzied finish, and the point spreads for Week 8 suggest that this weekend’s action is going to be phenomenal. No. 16 Michigan will travel to No. 7 Penn State in a key Big Ten East battle, while the Pac-12 features two important division battles — No. 18 Arizona State and No. 15 Utah in the South and No. 12 Oregon at No. 25 Washington in the North.
Lines are out for those of you who want to make early investments. It’s never too early to start breaking them down, so let’s take a closer look at the Week 8 matchups of importance with the latest lines from Vegas Insider and Circa Sports.
Lines you need to know
No. 16 Michigan at No. 7 Penn State (-8): Both programs are coming off key conference victories and could use a signature win to impress the College Football Playoff selection committee. The winner here will solidify itself as the primary threat to Ohio State in the Big Ten East.
No. 12 Oregon at No. 25 Washington (+3.5): The Ducks defense has been stellar all season, but will face its toughest test to date against a Huskies team that just put up 51 points in a win at Arizona. Consider this an elimination game for the home-standing Huskies, who can’t afford another loss after falling to Stanford two weeks ago.
No. 18 Arizona State at No. 15 Utah (-12.5): The Utes have been playing angry after falling to USC earlier this season, and will get a tough test against freshman Sun Devils quarterback Jayden Daniels — who just put up 363 passing yards against Washington State. This will determine the front-runner in the South, and oddsmakers clearly don’t think Arizona State is ready quite yet.
No. 3 Clemson at Louisville (+22.5): The Tigers got back on track by throttling Florida State, and now hit the road to what will certainly be a raucous environment in Louisville. The Cardinals have been a big surprise this year under first-year coach Scott Satterfield, but oddsmakers don’t think his crew is ready for the big time based on the line.
More games of note
Tennessee at No. 1 Alabama (-35.5): The rivalry known as the “Third Saturday of October” looks like it might be a blowout despite the Volunteers actually winning an SEC football game on Saturday. It’s a dial-a-score game for the Crimson Tide, and winning your wager will depend on when coach Nick Saban wants to take his foot off the gas.
No. 2 LSU at Mississippi State (+18): Those cowbells in Starkville create a massive homefield advantage, so it will be interesting to see how quarterback Joe Burrow and the Tigers handle the environment in the SEC on CBS Game of the Week. There’s plenty of faith in coach Ed Orgeron’s crew after they topped Florida by two touchdowns last week.
No. 4 Ohio State at Northwestern (+25.5): Could this Friday night special be a trap game for Justin Fields and the Buckeyes? According to Vegas, they’ll continue to roll against a Wildcats team that has struggled to get going this season.
West Virginia at No. 5 Oklahoma (-33.5): The Sooners defense looked great (by Oklahoma standards) in the win over Texas in the Red River Rivalry, and will have to repeat the feat if it wants to cover in this Big 12 showdown with the Mountaineers. Do you trust first-year coordinator Alex Grinch? If you do, you should be running to the ticket window.
No. 6 Wisconsin at Illinois (+25.5): The Illini gave Michigan a scare for a little while last weekend, but nobody in Vegas seems to think they can do it again against a Wisconsin team that has pitched four shutouts this season. If you think Jonathan Taylor and the Badgers offense can score 26 points, you should be on them.
No. 9 Florida at South Carolina (+6.5): The Gamecocks just pulled off the upset win at Georgia, and hope to make it two in a row against top-10 teams when the Gators roll into Columbia. Will Dan Mullen’s crew rebound from the loss at LSU, or will it be too tough to overcome the emotion of the heart-breaking defeat?
Kentucky at No. 10 Georgia (-27): A bet on Georgia means that you’re thinking it won’t come out flat after being stunned at home by South Carolina. A four-touchdown spread is massive in this one — especially considering how bad the Bulldogs looked offensively last week.
No. 18 Baylor at Oklahoma State (-4): The Bears are 6-0 and just topped Texas Tech in a thriller. That hasn’t impressed oddsmakers, though. Will the Cowboys and running back Chubba Hubbard end Baylor’s dream season?