2021 CFB: Week Eight Best Bets And Picks
Kyle Scott
Posted: 2021-10-22

Last weekend only saw one top tier undefeated team fall, as Iowa was undone at home by Purdue, further muddying the playoff waters. Liberty fell to Terry Bowden's Louisiana-Monroe squad as 33-point favorites for the biggest upset of the week. Week 8 does not feature much in the way of elite matchups, but undefeated Oklahoma State does find itself as touchdown underdogs on the road at Iowa State.

Let's jump into our best bets and top college football upset picks for Week 8, backed with complete betting analysis.

Best College Football Upsets for Week 8

Utah vs. Oregon State

This is a tricky spot for Utah, heading to Corvallis fresh off a home victory over ranked Arizona State. The Utes have won three straight games and lead the Pac-12 South, but are just 1-2 SU and ATS away from home this season. Oregon State, tied with Oregon for first in the Pac-12 North, are a perfect 3-0 SU and ATS at home in 2021.

While Utah could be set up for a letdown here, knowing they sit alone atop their half of the conference, Oregon State should be primed for the upset, entering off a bye week and motivated after blowing a 10-3 halftime lead to Washington State last time out. OSU has been tremendous against the Pac-12 since the start of the 2019 season, covering 13 of 19 games, including nine of the last 13.

The Beavers will have some extra motivation here, as well, as they have lost five straight in the head-to-head, despite covering three of the last four. That one missed cover for Oregon State occurred the last time these two met on this field in 2019, when Utah handed the Beavers their worst home loss since the early 90s (52-7). Talk about some bulletin board material for Coach Smith here.

Trends to Know

Oregon State is a solid 9-2 ATS since the start of that 2019 season when off a SU loss, including 1-0 ATS this season, a home win and cover over Hawaii after the team's opening loss at Purdue. The Beavers have also covered six of their last seven games after an ATS loss, so expect a bounce back here, especially with the extra week to prepare.

Oregon State has covered four straight games against above .500 opposition and faces a Utah team that is just 2-4 ATS this season, including 0-2 ATS as road favorites. In fact, the Utes lost both of those games outright, which sits just fine with an OSU bunch that has covered eight of its last 11 as underdogs.

Look for Oregon State to continue its 35-16-1 ATS run in October games, using the Pac-12's leading rusher, B.J. Baylor, and a top ten run game (242.5 yards per game) to great effect. Utah may have a difficult time trading punches with the league's top scoring team (34.0) and second best yardage group (441.7 yards per game).

Utah vs. Oregon State Pick

With South Division foe, UCLA, looming next, look for Utah to slip up in this one and move to 1-5 ATS in its last six as a road favorite. Oregon State grabs a big revenge win here, ending the five game losing streak against the Utes and making it six covers in the last eight head-to-head.

Maryland vs. Minnesota

This feels like an important spot for Taulia Tagovailoa and the Maryland Terrapins, who enter off a bye week that followed the Terps getting routed by two of the nation's best teams, Ohio State and Iowa. The Terrapins were outscored 117-31 in those two games after beginning the season 4-0. The extra time to prepare, coupled with the confidence Tagovailoa should have after torching this Minnesota defense last season, should help Maryland keep this one close.

While Maryland's defensive strength is stopping the run, which is a good foil for a run-first Minnesota offense, the Golden Gophers may have a difficult time stopping the nation's 16th-ranked passing offense (311.0 yards per game) with their own 78th-ranked pass defense (232.5 yards per game).

This spot is mildly reminiscent of the 2019 when Maryland decided to blackout the stadium for their clash with Penn State and promptly got embarrassed 59-0. To their credit, the Terps bounced back by thumping Rutgers 48-7 on the road in their next game. Then, to open the 2020 season, Maryland got smoked 43-3 by Northwestern, before rebounding to beat this Minnesota team as 20.5-point underdogs.

Maryland's 49-point loss to Ohio State before last week's bye should evoke some of those same feelings ahead of this one and Minnesota is a team they have proven they can play with, having won and covered three of their five head-to-head meetings since joining the Big Ten Conference.

Trends to Know

Minnesota has only covered two of their last eight home games and are just 1-8 ATS in their last nine games as favorites of more than four points against above .600 opponents. Look for Maryland to be bolstered by the possible returns of Jakorian Bennett and Kenny Bennett in the secondary to sure up a pass defense that got lit up in their recent absences.

Maryland vs. Minnesota Pick

Losing to the Terrapins outright as such heavy favorites last season should have Minnesota starting this game with seeds of doubt. In a situation where they can only fail, look for them to struggle to pull away and Tagovailoa to steal a late cover or win for Maryland.

Western Michigan vs. Toledo

Michigan sports bettors may want to keep an eye out on this one.

Toledo hosts Western Michigan in a crucial MAC game on Saturday afternoon. At 1-2 in the MAC West, this will be Toledo's last opportunity to make a run at the conference championship game they so narrowly missed last season. While the Rockets may be two games and a tiebreaker behind division leaders Northern Illinois, they do face the softest remaining schedule of any MAC team. A win here could potentially jump Toledo into a tie for second in the West, kick-starting a possible run down the stretch.

After all, while Toledo's remaining games after this are against the three worst teams in the East and the joint last place team in the West, Northern Illinois will be stuck playing the second and third best teams in the East, as well as the three teams directly behind them in the West standings.

For Western Michigan, they could get caught in a letdown spot here on the road after an emphatic win at home against Kent State last weekend in WMU's homecoming game. If the Broncos sleepwalk into this one at all, they could be in trouble, as Toledo also plays with revenge from the crazy loss in the final minutes to WMU last season. The Rockets conceded two touchdowns in the final 45 seconds of that game to blow a seemingly insurmountable 10-point lead they had attained with less than three minutes to play.

Toledo will play with confidence here at home where they entered the season 46-12 SU over the last decade. This will mark just the eighth time they have been listed as home dogs in that span, as well, which will certainly be a talking point for head coach Jason Candle.

Trends to Know

Western Michigan has failed to cover any of its last four games against sub .500 opposition and has covered just one of its last six conference games (last week's win over Kent State). Coming off that big win, expect a letdown for the Broncos, as they have covered just seven of their last 26 games following an ATS win and had entered 2021 on a seven game ATS losing run following a double-digit ATS win.

WMU has also failed to cover 10 of its last 14 away games and has covered just three of its 10 games as road favorites under head coach Tim Lester. Lester had led the Broncos to just one cover in 13 tries entering this season when coming off an ATS victory by more than three points. Failing to compartmentalize victory had also seen his WMU teams go just 8-16 ATS off a SU win over the last four seasons, including a 2-5 ATS record the last seven outings after a SU win by 21 points or more.

Western Michigan vs. Toledo Pick

The visitor in this head-to-head rivalry has covered just one of the last five meetings since 2016 and WMU never led its last time on this field. Look for the Rockets, who have scored 30 or more points in 10 of the last 11 head-to-head meetings, to pull off the home upset here and continue their 8-3 SU run against Western Michigan, getting Candle's guys back in the running for the MAC West regular season title.