It’s over a month-and-a-half later than we’re used to, but the Big Ten is just now kicking off its football season. Illinois and Wisconsin started the festivities Friday night as Wisconsin rolled 45-7, and then Saturday will see six Big Ten matchups – highlighted by Michigan at Minnesota.
Here is a look at odds for those games and the rest of the contests for what should prove to be an exciting weekend of football.
College football odds: Week 8
Top 5 Saturday games to watch
No. 23 NC State at No. 14 North Carolina – 12 p.m. ET
North Carolina climbed the AP rankings as beneficiaries of favorable preseason rankings and a light schedule. They were upset by a struggling Florida State team last week, and now face an NC State team that’s rolling. While the Wolfpack might not get the outright upset here, they could cover the points. NC State is averaging over 33 points per game (27th) and will be looking to take advantage of a UNC defense that’s given up 37.5 points per game in their last two matchups.
No. 8 Penn State at Indiana – 3:30 p.m. ET
On paper, the point spread in this game might not make a lot of sense. Penn State is looking at their best chance at the College Football Playoff yet and is fielding a powerhouse team. However, Michael Penix Jr. returns for the Hoosiers – who went a respectable 8-5 a season ago. Last year, Indiana played Penn State down to the wire in Happy Valley. The Hoosiers are an interesting team this season that could ruin someone’s year. This won’t be a cakewalk opening game for Penn State.
No. 17 Iowa State at No. 6 Oklahoma State – 3:30 p.m. ET
The Big XII is a mess this year and these are the two teams left at the top. After a slow start to the year, Iowa State is averaging 35 points per game over their last three games. The Cowboys have only allowed 27 points all season long, but haven’t faced an offense the caliber of Iowa State’s. One of these units will show their true colors Saturday in what’s bound to be a close game. Another aspect to keep an eye on is the point total, which is set at 53.5 at FanDuel Sportsbook.
No. 18 Michigan at No. 21 Minnesota – 7:30 p.m. ET
College GameDay is headed to Minneapolis on the Big Ten’s opening weekend. There’s a ton of questions surrounding these two teams, including whether Minnesota’s last season was a miracle or fact. The Golden Gophers went 11-2 and topped their 2019 season off with a huge win over Auburn. Michigan is opening another chapter in the Jim Harbaugh saga and looking to finally put the criticisms to bed. The Wolverines need this win.
No. 9 Cincinnati at No. 16 SMU – 9 p.m. ET
SMU opened as a favorite at home despite sitting several spots lower on the AP Poll – something that’s not too common. The Mustangs have won several close games this year, including their latest against Tulane this past week. Regardless, they’re 5-0 behind Ulysses Bentley’s rushing performances. Cincinnati is allowing just 3.6 yards per carry on the season (a season that’s included a matchup with Army). The Bearcats are an intriguing team in this one, as SMU has shown susceptibility against tough defenses.