Sharps are closely monitoring these Week 8 college football games

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USA TODAY Sports

Each week during the college football season, Covers Expert Steve Merril looks at the NCAAF odds and tells you which spread to bet now, which one to bet later, and which total to watch as the week plays out.

Spread to bet now

Army Black Knights (-18.5) vs. North Texas Mean Green

This line opened -17 and was quickly bet higher.  Army is a perfect 2-0 SU/ATS at home this season, including an easy 62-7 win versus Lafayette last week as a 33.5-point favorite.  The Black Knights held an incredible 537-10 rushing yards advantage.  Overall this season, Army’s option offense has run the ball on 87% of their offensive plays for 82% of their total offensive yards.

North Texas is 3-3 SU this season, but their three losses have come by an average of 21 points per game.  The Mean Green has struggled to stop the run on the road this year, allowing 255 rushing yards per game and 5.0 yards per carry.  Overall, North Texas is permitting 33.5 points per game away from home.

Spread to wait on

Missouri Tigers (-6.5) vs. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

Some early money pushed Missouri to the key number of -7, but the line has now started to decline to -6.5 and even -6 at some sportsbooks.  The betting public will not be very interested in backing a Missouri squad that just went 0-2 SU/ATS at LSU and Florida.  However, those blowout losses will actually ensure a focused effort for the Tigers who are now taking a step down in class against a non-conference opponent.

Middle Tennessee is coming off a double-overtime 44-43 loss versus Western Kentucky in which the Blue Raiders had their extra point blocked in the second overtime.  It was a very important game in Conference USA and such a tough loss might actually leave the Blue Raiders a little flat this week.  It was an offensive shootout as Middle Tennessee held a 605-521 total yard edge.  However, they will now be taking a big step up in class versus a SEC opponent in Missouri that has allowed just 16.3 points per game and only 4.1 yards per play at home this season.

Total to watch

TCU Horned Frogs at West Virginia Mountaineers (66)

West Virginia enters this game with a perfect 5-0 SU record after an impressive 48-17 road win at Texas Tech last week.  The most impressive aspect was holding an explosive Red Raiders’ offense to just 17 total points.  A little surprising though as Texas Tech did throw for 345 yards in that game.  West Virginia also had the advantage of a bye week and extra preparation time.  The Mountaineers are a strong offensive team that is averaging 32.8 points and 534 total yards per game this season.

TCU enters this game off a bye week after playing a 24-23 game at Kansas in which the teams combined for 8 turnovers.  It was TCU’s worst offensive showing this season and the Horned Frogs should bounce back with a better effort now, especially with an extra week to prepare.  Overall this season, TCU is averaging 40.2 points and 531 total yards per game on offense.

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