The Massachusetts Minutemen have been on a nice run against the football pointspread, even though it isn't reflected in their straight-up record. But their string of six straight covers could be in jeopardy on Tuesday night if they don't have the services of their quarterback. UMass takes the field against the Akron Zips in college football betting action that will begin at 7 PM ET at the Rubber Bowl in Akron.
In last week's 24-10 victory over Ball State, quarterback Blake Frohnapfel suffered what was diagnosed as a bone bruise in his right leg. He has been listed as doubtful, and has not practiced since that game. Head coach Mark Whipple, who returned to the Amherst campus after an 11-year hiatus, may be forced to go with his son, Austin Whipple, behind center if Frohnapfel cannot go. They are trying to delay the decision as long as possible, to give the star signal-caller every opportunity.
In the college football betting odds that have been posted on this game by the people at BetAnySports, Akron, which has 1-7-1 ATS mark against FBS teams this year, is laying more than a touchdown:
Akron Zips -8
Massachusetts Minutemen +8
Over 45.5 points -110
Under 45.5 points -110
Frohnapfel is one of the most prolific passers in college football this season, throwing for 3345 yards, which ranks fourth in the nation, and he has 23 touchdown passes. He is a transfer from Marshall, where he was the backup to another prolific quarterback, Rakeem Cato. He has most definitely found a home with Whipple, regarded as a very innovative offensive mind who brought UMass to a national title in Division I-AA in 1999. He's been the offensive coordinator at the University of Miami and has also served most recently in the NFL as a quarterback coach for the Cleveland Browns.
Although Whipple knows just about everything there is to know about his second-string quarterback, BetAnySports patrons may be in the dark. Austin Whipple is a transfer from Penn State, where he redshirted last season. He has not thrown a pass in competitive action since 2012, when he was playing for Salisbury Prep against Phillips Exeter. When he came into the game in place of the injured Frohnapfel against Ball State, all he did was hand off the football.
College football bettors should know that he has been practicing with the first team for the last several days, although it is his personal expectation that Frohnapfel will do everything he can in order to play. This has been an interesting season for UMass, which had only one straight up victory last season but has shown signs of life since Whipple re-assumed the reins. They've shown their toughness with three-point losses to both Colorado in Vanderbilt, who are of course members of so-called "power" conferences. And they have covered eight of their last nine games, including six in a row. But there have been only three straight up victories in the Mid-American Conference (albeit in the last four games). When you look at their ledger, there are at least a couple of MAC games – notably against Bowling Green and Miami of Ohio – that could have gone their way but didn't. Our point is, Whipple is clearly beginning a turnaround.
Obviously Frohnapfel is part of that turnaround, as is Jean Sifrin, who leads the nation's tight ends in yardage (598). If the quarterback can't go, this is a more difficult task for college football bettors at BetAnySports, because there is most certainly an element of the unknown. Austin Whipple has made three appearances for the Minutemen, but his father has not had him throw any passes. So we really don't know what to expect on Tuesday night if he gets the call. But we would imagine he would know the playbook cold; after all, he has lived with the author for many years.
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