I posted week 2 bets on Sunday, most should still be available within a half point or so. This week is all about determining which performances were real signs of what’s to come, and which performances were a fluke. We need to make sure we don’t overreact too much to any one game or stat line, but at the same time we must give credit where credit is due. This is just the first round, many more to come once moneylines, props and team totals become widely available.
Also note that I mostly cover Big 12, Big Ten, MAC, and C-USA, so the majority of picks will come from teams in these conferences.
Bets Placed So Far:
WKU +7 at Illinois – Many writers expected that WKU would actually be a road favorite in this game. That’s not the case, but at +7 this is a great value. Wes Lunt and Illinois looked quite poor for the first three quarters, and entered the 4th trailing the Youngstown State Penguins 9-7 before turning up the heat. WKU is the hottest team in college football right now after their QB broke a handful of school records with this stat line: 46-56 (82%) for 569 yards and 6 TDs, 0 INTs. Additionally, this was against a Bowling Green defense that is superior (or so we think) to Illinois. While that may have been Brandon Doughty’s best game at WKU, he will be expected to have another strong performance against Illinois.
Toledo +6 vs Mizzou – After a 54-20 thrashing of New Hampshire, the Rockets are on fire and are ready for a home upset against an SEC foe. New Hampshire is ranked #4 in FCS so they weren’t the easiest of opponents either. Mizzou looked suspect on both sides of the ball against an SDSU squad that’s seen better years, and better bring their A-game if they plan to take down the Rockets in Toledo. I have the game handicapped at pk.
Pittsburgh -4 at Boston College: Pitt beat Delaware 62-0, and BC beat UMass 30-7. Funny story, Delaware is actually 6 points better than UMass on a neutral field, so don’t even start with the FBS vs FCS stuff. I’m seeing some good things out of Pitt. Their 62-0 beatdown of Delaware involved gaining over 500 yards of total offense while allowing 51. There’s no reason to doubt Pitt now, so until they give me a reason to doubt them I won’t. Boston College looked ok against UMass, and the running game in particular looked like it held up well, but the pass defense left something to be desired. BC right guard Harris Williams will be out next week with an ankle injury. I don’t usually make ACC picks, so you better not disappoint me, Pitt.
MTSU +17.5 at Minnesota: MTSU finally has a quarterback! Austin Grammer completed 15-17 for 14.7 YPA. And he’s protected by the best O-line in the nation. Ok maybe not, but it might be the best O-line in the state of Tennessee. That makes the Blue Raiders a great matchup for a Minnesota team who likes to push people around in the trenches. He won’t face the greatest secondary at Minnesota, who gave up over 300 yards in the air to EIU last week. But it sure is a better secondary than Savannah State, and will be Grammer’s first true test. MTSU’s bend don’t break defense often gave up a high success rate to avoid big plays. They’ve been strong in the pass rush, but their run defense has been less than stellar. If the Gophers take to the ground in their usual routine, they should have no trouble marching downfield. But all that rushing takes time off the clock, making covering a 17.5 point spread very difficult. I expect I’ll get no love from the Gophers, as this is the second week in a row I’ve bet against them.
Kansas State -12 at Iowa State: I had a lot of questions about ISU going into the season. On their young defense, a thin secondary and a defensive line that doesn’t have a single player over 300 lbs was a big warning sign, and last week they ended up breaking down against NDSU. On the offensive side, I had more hope since they returned their entire line and QB. Not sure what to make of the Mark Mangino hire at OC, but so far it’s not going too well. K-State was up to no good last week, bullying on SFA 55-16 and showcasing a balanced attack that featured 3+ touches from five different WRs. K-State fires early and often, and this year’s game looks a lot like last year’s as K-State wins big.
Possible Future Bets:
Eastern Washington ATS vs Washington – I love EWU, and I don’t think power ratings are going to be able to adjust for how quickly they’re improving. I expect EWU to be a 21 to 28 point underdog when Vegas releases the line, which is hilariously wrong because this will be a close game. Cyler Miles returns for UW so they may not be as bad as last week, but I still smell the potential for upset just as EWU almost upset the Huskies a few years ago. (That would also make tickets cheaper, which I would appreciate since I’ll be attending UW vs Stanford in a few weeks).
Total points UNDER for FIU – The Panthers scored over 10 points what, four times last year? The offense showed no signs of improvement in their 14-12 repeat loss to Bethune-Cookman. If BOL offers some kind of point total I’ll take them on the Under vs Wagner. If not, I’ll likely be going total points Under if it’s anything in the 50 range.
Baylor 1Q / 1H ATS vs Northwestern State – Bryce Petty will start but shouldn’t play for long with his back problems. I’d expect Baylor to hang 21+ on them in the first quarter, but after that they may let up.
ULL Moneyline -550 – Can’t decide on the spread, but surely they’ll win the game.
Texas Team Points Under – I know BOL will offer this. With David Ash out, I’d expect the Texas offense to underperform. I saw great signs from the defense so I don’t want to pick BYU against the spread. The Under looks good for the whole game too with Texas’ strong defense. We’ll see, as we’re still waiting on a total to be released.
SEMO ATS at Kansas – SEMO thrashed some Division 2 school 77-0 in its opener. I don’t think this is a worthless score…I think it may be reflective of the new head coach Tom Matukewicz. Tom has seen some #MACtion in his day, coaching the linebackers at NIU for 4 years before being promoted to DC at Toledo. I don’t expect SEMO to beat Kansas, but if Vegas puts out some garbage line like +40, I’ll take SEMO in a heartbeat. The line should probably be 17 to 24 points at best.
Duke -1100 at Troy: Still debating whether to take them -19.5 ATS or take the moneyline. I’m so bearish on Troy as they lost their starting QB and returned only two OL. The UAB game was ugly.
Colorado -850 at UMass: again, I can’t quite stomach the -17 ATS pick, but I like the moneyline.
Old Dominion Over 23.5 Team Points (or maybe Old Dominion +16) at NC State – NC State looked pretty terrible against Georgia State, so I can’t quite understand why the line is so high. The only thing holding me back is ODU’s bipolar defense. They gave up 8.8 yards per pass and 407 passing yards to a mediocre FCS squad. Considering taking the Over on team points so that I don’t have to worry about the defense.
ECU +17 at South Carolina – ECU sure does know how to attack you on offense, and South Carolina is still working out some issues in their secondary. I’m also considering taking the Over in this game, or maybe taking ECU Over 23 team points. I’d feel more confident if Spurrier wasn’t already completely aware of how good ECU is. South Carolina looking to prove something after last week makes me hesitant as well.
Eastern Michigan under 8 points vs Florida – line hasn’t come out yet but if team totals are offered I expect it to be around 8 points. Despite the bad record, Florida had a top 20 defense last year and there’s no reason they should allow any more than a touchdown against EMU.