It's not a weekend loaded with big games, but that doesn't mean there aren't some very, very interesting matchups that will impact the postseason. There are also a few that are especially intriguing from a betting standpoint.
Week 8 Best Bets
Last week- 3-1
Notre Dame vs. USC
Money Line: ND -260 USC +210
Against The Spread: ND +6.5 USC-6.5
The 92nd edition of this renewed rivalry will take place on Saturday night. The 13th ranked Fighting Irish welcome the Trojans to South Bend for the battle for the Jeweled Shillelagh. Both teams will be coming off bye weeks, but that’s’ where the similarities end. USC has struggled to stop anyone defensively all season, and even though the Notre Dame defense isn’t the most prolific offense, they will pose a tremendous challenge to the Trojan defense. Michael Mayer returns from the groin injury that kept him out of the Virginia Tech contest and should be able to feast over the middle of the field, while a steadily improving Fighting Irish offensive line should be able to open holes for Kyren Williams. USC wants to turn this into a track meet with them getting the ball last in the fourth quarter. In order to accomplish that, they have to play a more disciplined brand of football than they have all year. Marcus Freeman’s defense has been the anchor for the Fighting Irish up to this point, and they will look to pressure Kedon Slovis into mistakes. No doubt Slovis we’ll be looking for his All-American wide receiver Drake London, but will he have enough time to create the necessary big plays to pull off the upset.
Trends: USC is 21-9 ATS following a S/U loss. Notre Dame is 1-4 ATS in their last five games as a home favorite.
Best Bet: Over Notre Dame -6.5 and over 58.5
Oregon vs. UCLA
ML: Oregon +100 UCLA -110
ATS: Oregon +1 UCLA -1
The Pac-12 will have it’s marquee matchup of the season as the 10th ranked Oregon Ducks invade the Rose Bowl to face the UCLA Bruins on Saturday afternoon. The Ducks have played inconsistent since their big win over 5th ranked Ohio State. They needed a late touchdown and stop to beat 1-5 California last week, and the offense hasn’t lived up to it’s preseason promised explosiveness. Both teams enter the matchup with one conference loss, so the loser will more than likely fall out of any national playoff contention and Rose Bowl contention as well. This game will feature two of the top rushing attacks in the Pac-12 with both teams averaging more than 210 yards per game. The loss of C.J. Verdell for the season could impact the Ducks rushing attack, but Travis Dye and the offensive line will still be formidable for a Bruins defense looking to put together its most complete game since Texas in week 2. Both teams have also suffered from inconsistent play at the quarterback position, and that could ultimately determine who jumps out and forces the other quarterback to have to throw more than was planned. Neither quarterback is good enough to carry the load for their offense.
Trends: UCLA is 5-1 ATS, 3-2 as a favorite, and 2-2 S/U and ATS at home. Oregon is 1-1 ATS vs Chip Kelly’s Bruins.
Best Bet: Under 60.5
Clemson vs. Pitt
ML: Clemson +150 Pitt -190
ATS: Clemson +3.5 Pitt -3.5
Fifth year quarterback Kenny Pickett made the best decision by returning for the season. He’s become a Heisman candidate thanks to his 21 touchdowns and 322 passing yards per game in the first six contests. Last season, Pickett threw four interceptions against Clemson, so he’ll be looking for a bit of redemption on Saturday to say the least. This means the Tigers defense will be put to the test as they come in ranked 24th in yards allowed and 2nd in points scored. The defense should be bolstered by the return of cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. who missed the last two games with hamstring tightness. The Tigers will also experience new territory in conference play, as they will be an underdog for the first time since Oct 1, 2016, when DeShaun Watson faced off against Lamar Jackson and Louisville. Clemson’s anemic offense is tallying 14.8 points per game with a high mark of 21 points against North Carolina State.
Trends: Clemson won the past two meetings by a combined margin of 94-27.
Best Bet: Pitt -3.5
Lock & Key Pick: Ohio State -18 vs. Indiana
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