Identifying NCAA Underdogs and Parlays for Profit
The first weekend of November knocked out another top ranked team from the college football playoff chase, as No. 3 LSU was shutout at home by No. 1 Alabama 29-0. The college football playoff rankings has No. 1 Alabama (9-0) and No. 2 Clemson (9-0) nearly secured for the CFB playoff, as even one loss by those two teams will get them into the playoff. The chase for the other two spots continues, and No. 3 Notre Dame (9-0) remained undefeated with a 31-21 win at Northwestern. Michigan (8-1) moved into the top-4 with a 42-10 blowout of Penn State, and No. 5 Georgia also did its part by whipping the Wildcats in Kentucky, 34-17. No. 6 Oklahoma (8-1) outlasted Texas Tech in Lubbock 51-46 to keep the Sooners playoff hopes alive.
We suffered another losing week on these pages going 1-2-1 on our underdog picks to drop our record to 17-19 this season with 9 outright underdog winners.
Hopefully the combination of our search for value, statistical indicators and use of our strong, balanced offenses and defensive dominators will point us towards more profit and winners. We'll try some big underdogs again this week adding yards per play into our analysis and handicap.
Many outright underdog winners in Week 10, and here’s a recap of some notable barking ‘Dogs.
SMU (+14) vs Houston – Mustangs won 45-31
Missouri (+6) at Florida – Tigers won 38-17
Texas State (+7.5) at Georgia State – TX won 40-31
Duke (+9.5) at Miami – Blue Devils won 20-12
Illinois (+9) vs Minnesota – Illini won 55-31
Tulane (+5) at South Florida - Green Wave won 41-15
UL Monroe (+7) vs Georgia Southern – Warhawks won 44-25
Arizona State (+7.5) vs Utah - Sun Devils won 38-20
Baylor (+7.5) vs Oklahoma State - Bears won 35-31
Let’s continue our pursuit of profit in Fairway’s Foursome in our weekly pursuit of profit (doggy style) with Fairway’s Football Forecast.
Shop and bet College Football at the leading online sportsbooks, including the Week 11 lines.
122 Boston College (+20) vs Clemson – Eagles Money Money Line +850
123 Mississippi (+13) at Texas A&M – Rebels Money Line +415
141 Kansas (+10.5) at Kansas State – Jayhawks Money Line +325
179 Wisconsin (+9) at Penn State – Badgers Money Line +275
$20 4-Team Parlay = $220
$20 4-Team Money Line Parlay = $15,574
Clemson at Boston College - Prime Time Saturday night underdogs have barked loud this season, and we hope to finally catch Clemson in a little letdown, as the Tigers have been crushing their last four opponents and now are fully aware that they are nearly secure for the college football playoff. Few will want to get in front of this defensive dominator and strong, balanced offense of Clemson after the Tigers won their last four games 63-3, 41-7, 59-10 and 77-16. A perfect 4-0 SU/ATS since QB Lawrence was named the starter by coach Dabo Swinney. Bettors have bet the Tigers up from the opener of -17, but they don't understand the negative late season situations surrounding undefeated road teams pushing for the playoffs (43% ATS on 150 games) from game 10 forward. Boston College (7-2) has only lost on the road this season at Purdue and NC State. The Eagles have won three straight entering this ACC Atlantic division prime time showdown and are also on a 4-0 ATS run and remarkable 16-2 ATS regular season run dating to last season. Talk about undervalued! A top-25 defense allowing 4.7 yards per play and a stronger red zone defense provides hope to slow the Tigers. So too does running back AJ Dillon, who is banged up but will play as the ACC's No. 2 rusher (897 yards) behind Clemson's Travis Etienne (998 yards). The Eagles solid running attack (208/game) goes up against an elite Clemson defensive front 87/2.2 yards per rush), but this situation and point spread is still too good to pass up for a capable running home 'Dog and defense.
Mississippi at Texas A&M - Both teams are 5-4 but Ole Miss has just one SEC win and is not being given much chance this week after blowing a 10-point fourth quarter lead in 48-44 home loss to South Carolina. Noting scores only is a losing proposition when wagering on college football, as Ole Miss had a 34-18 first down advantage and both out-rushed (237) and out-passed (379) South Carolina in defeat. We certainly don't endorse wagering often on deficient defenses, and Ole Miss is last in the SEC in total defense, rush defense and pass defense. But the point spread along with the Rebels explosive offense offers plenty of opportunity and certainly a back-door cover if needed. Texas A&M has lost 2-straight and also blew a 10-point fourth quarter lead last week in defeat. But the Aggies are not healthy and its offense has injured wide receivers and QB Kellen Mond, who is been limited this week in practice and was poor the past two weeks completing just 50% of his passes with two interceptions. Mond gets the hype, but he's also been sacked a SEC-high 30 times.
Ole Miss senior QB Jordan Ta’amu leads the SEC in passing with 3,001 yards and the Rebels have a top-5 pass attack in the country (337/game vs FBS). A pair of home run threats at wide receiver combined with RB Scottie Phillips' (923 rushing) league-leading touchdowns (14) makes the Rebels a dangerous threat to keep coming and score. A key to this selection is yards per play. Ole Miss has a +0.9 yards per play (YPPL) differential while Texas A&M is +0.1. The Rebels are significantly more efficient on offense at 7.0 YPPL to 5.5 for A&M, and the Aggies weakness is pass defense. Texas A&M is also last in the SEC in creating turnovers. Since the start of October tracking, underdogs with a positive YPPL and better YPPL than their opponent are 29-11 ATS. That fits Ole Miss this week with a positive and better yards per play.
Kansas State at Kansas - November is rivalry month with many of the biggest rivalry games of the season. I played this early in the week when Kansas was taking +12.5 at the opener, and we still like the Jayhawks as double-digit 'Dog. The Big 12 battle of the basement finds these two rivals 1-5 in conference play, but Kansas has played better ball this season in earning 3 wins overall while rival K-State is struggling through a disappointing season and under-performing also with just 3 wins and a 3-6 record. So how the heck can Kansas State be laying double digits with a putrid offense and deficient defense? Neither team has a positive yards per play (YPPL) profile, but the Kansas Jayhawks are slightly better than K-State with a -1.2 YPPL differential. Both teams struggle to slow opponents allowing 6.2 yards per play on defense. And Kansas State has the worse run defense allowing 190 yards per game rushing to 158 for Kansas. Neither team runs the ball well, each between 155-170 rushing yards per game and the quarterback play on each team is sub-par. I’m not sure Kansas State can score 28 points on offense, and that makes this number a mountain to cover.
Wisconsin at Penn State - Heavy rain Friday will be followed by near freezing temps and up to 20 MPH winds Saturday for this Big Ten battle in University Park, PA. Both teams enter 6-3, but Penn State is out of the East division chase at 3-3 following last week's blowout loss at Michigan, 42-7. Quarterback Tracy McSorely is still struggling with a knee injury and its shown in his recent performances, including a 5/13 for 83 passing yards performance last week against Michigan's elite defense. Penn State's defense has allowed at least 21 points in all six Big Ten games this season, and the Badgers bring a dominant pound the ground rushing attack that is No. 3 in the nation at 273 yards per game led by the Big Ten's best running back Jonathan Taylor (1,363 yards, 6.6 yards per rush), who has 11 rushing touchdowns. Wisconsin will turn to backup QB Jack Coans, who started against Northwestern and should be better prepared for this game. Still, Wisconsin's running game will be the focus and the Nittany Lions defense has been sub-par. Penn State has been out-gained in each of its last four games going 0-4 ATS including the fortunate win over Iowa (+6.5 bet down) 30-24. Iowa out-gained Penn State, but the Hawkeyes quarterback threw an INT on first and goal at the 3 yard line in the closing minutes. Wisconsin has double-digit losses to both Michigan and Northwestern, but the Badgers were also a 3-point road favorite at Iowa and beat them 28-17 with a strong, balanced attack. Teams can wear down and are more tired and banged up in November, and Penn State comes off a physical beating at Michigan that saw the Wolverines run the ball 52 times for 259 yards, and now are on their heals against the Badgers ground assault.
Best wishes as you shoot for more profit and green with your Week 11 NCAAF picks.
FairwayJay is a leading national sports handicapper and is recognized as one of the sports industry's most insightful analysts. Read more great insights from Jay here and follow him on Twitter: @FairwayJay