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Fairway’s Football Forecast – College Football Week 2

The first in a weekly free pick series looking for value plays and underdogs in NCAA football. Fairway's Football Forecast examines four games looking for a maximum payout.

Identifying College Football Underdogs and Parlays for Profit

Throughout the college football season, we'll post a 4-team Money Line parlay for $20 and list the potential payout. These four teams will all be Underdogs to win outright. We'll call it Fairway's Football Forecast - so join Fairway's Foursome as we take a Shot with Big Bertha for a big Birdie score.

Risk vs. reward and searching for value is something bettors should shoot for in their pursuit of profit. Competitively-priced underdogs are always worth examining, as many of these barking 'Dogs can not only have your wager secured in the later stages of a football game, but some will also have a solid shot to win outright.

Thus, money line wagers should also be part of your betting portfolio when you bet on more competitively-priced underdogs, as the payoffs can be very rewarding.

NCAA football underdog free picksIn the NFL, competitively-priced underdogs are 6-points or less. In college football, we'll use underdogs of 10-points or less. We'll add in some bigger 'Dogs along the way, especially in college football, but note too you can evaluate these selected teams and consider using them in your straight wagers and parlays without money lines. It's very difficult to hit an underdog money line parlay. But we'll provide the potential payoffs with a small wager each week along with a straight 4-team parlay. Straight wagers are a far more prudent play, but I know from experience that bettors like a bigger score with less risk.

So join Fairway's Foursome and follow along as we fire for the Flag and go for the Green in our weekly pursuit of profit (doggy style) with Fairway's Football Forecast.

Here's a brief recap of some underdogs of note that won outright last week. We'll keep to FBS games and opponents only.

Maryland (+18.5) at Texas – Terps won 51-41
Cal (+13.5) at North Carolina – Bears won 35-30
Coastal Carolina (+2.5) vs UMASS – CC won 38-28 after opening as 3-pt favorite
South Carolina (+7.5) at NC State – Gamecocks won 35-28 despite being outgained 504-246
Hawaii and Marshall also won as small underdogs, but Marshall was outgained 429-267 yet scored a defensive TD on a long pick 6 along with 2 kickoff return TD's – wow!

And in a game with an FCS team worth mentioning, Howard (+45) scored the biggest point spread upset in college football history, beating UNLV in Las Vegas 43-40. Leading offshore bookmaker 5 Dimes had a money line of +5500 on Howard - $100 paid $55,000!

This week's underdog plays – Shop lines at the leading offshore sports books.

  • 316 Duke +3 vs Northwestern – Money Line +130
  • 339 MTSU +10 at Syracuse – Money Line +300
  • 377 Auburn +6 at Clemson – Money Line +180
  • 383 Oklahoma +7.5 at Ohio State – Money Line +240

$20 4-Team Money Line Parlay = $1,731
$20 4-Team Parlay = $220

Duke vs Northwestern. Blue Devils are 5-1 ATS as home 'Dog last six, and they rolled over NC Central last week 60-7 with 240+ yards both rushing and passing. A balanced attack will be key to wearing down the Wildcats, who struggled vs Nevada and trailed at half as a huge favorite before rallying for 31-20 win. Duke's offense much improved after last year's dip, and Northwestern 5-10 ATS as road chalk under coach Fitzgerald. Home 'Dog motivated, well-coached with Cutcliffe and playing with double revenge.

Syracuse vs. Middle Tennessee State. Some adjusted MTSU's power rating negatively following last week's loss. But we see many teams show much better in weeks 2-3-4 than some initial performances. Blue Raiders motivation comes from their head coach Scott Schafer, who was the Syracuse head coach for three years until the end of 2015. MTSU lost to Vandy last week 28-6 in a bad match-up but held the 'Dores to 76 yards rushing on 35 carries. QB Stockstill (coaches son) led a 40 PPG and 500+ YPG offense last year, and MTSU will get their offense untracked this week against a deficient Syracuse defense that allowed 39 PPG and 500 YPG last year. Syracuse faced a FCS cupcake last week and rolled 50-7. This sets up as a shootout between QB Dungey and Stockstill, but the Orange could get peeled against a motivated and embarrassed MTSU opponent that will be focused and ready to rip open the offense on the fast indoor track. MTSU is 8-1 ATS in their last nine following a loss of more than 20 points.

Clemson vs Auburn. Two Tigers tangle in Death Valley with Clemson the defending national champs. Auburn tuned up for this showdown by rolling over former FCS power Georgia Southern 41-7 with a 538-78 yard advantage playing without their star running back. Transfer QB Stidham had a solid debut, but it was Auburn's running game (53/351) that controlled the proceedings and will be key again against a strong Clemson defense. Stidham gives Auburn the downfield threat they have lacked in recent seasons, and the Tigers attack will be more balanced and explosive this season. Clemson was rolling themselves last week with a 56-3 romp over out-manned Kent State with over 300 yards both rushing and passing. Clemson won this opening game match-up last year 19-13, but now are without some of those key players including a veteran QB that moved on to the NFL. Situational and redemption role fits Auburn with some solid ATS profiles, including 7-1 ATS away playing with revenge under HC Gus Malzahn. Special teams favor Auburn, and we expect the visiting Tigers to scratch and claw their way to a cover and have a shot to steal this won in Death Valley.

Ohio State vs Oklahoma. Sooners have won 11 in a row. Oklahoma's last loss? To this Ohio State team early last season in a rather embarrassing home defeat 45-24. Sooners QB Mayfield can sling it, and he completed 19-of-20 passes for 329 yards and 3 TD's last week – playing only the first half in a wipeout of UTEP 56-7. First big game for new Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley, while Urban Meyer is clearly one of the best. But did you see Ohio State struggle for 3 quarters last week at home vs. Indiana? Hoosier's QB Lagow carved up the Buckeye's with a no-huddle spread attack, passing for 420 yards. Looks like the right match-up for Mayfield and the Sooners to deliver as a nice barking 'Dog in a marquee match-up of the week between top-5 teams.

Best wishes in your pursuit of profit and may all your 'Dogs deliver the 'green'.

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