Identifying NCAA Underdogs and Parlays for Profit
A 2-3 week could have easily been 4-1 as Missouri (+1) lost at South Carolina 37-35 in one of the frustrating losses of the week in all of college football. Missouri failed to convert numerous trips into the red zone into TDs or even FGs as turnovers became troublesome. Missouri out-gained SC 490-377 and out-rushed them 286/6.2 YPR to 128/2.7 YPR. Those rushing numbers and 2-1 margin will get you the money 75% of the time. Missouri closed a 1-point favorite but came up short.
Nevada (+16) announced QB Ty Gangi would not play, and money came pouring in on Fresno State. It was the wrong side, but fortunate result for Bulldogs backers in a 21-3 win. Nevada backup QB threw 3 interceptions, yet Nevada still out-gained Fresno State 327-271 and the Wolf Pack out-rushed the Bulldogs 132-30, another surprising non-cover for a big rushing advantage. Did you know that college football teams that out-rush their opponents by at least a 2-1 margin in a game are 100-33 ATS (75%) this season?
Florida (+2.5) did get us an outright underdog winner against LSU last week, and Florida State (+14) was an easy cover against Miami in a 28-27 defeat. Florida State blew a 27-7 lead and cost us a big +400 money line winner which adds a nice chunk to the bottom line when they hit.
We continue our risk vs. reward and search for value with both competitively-priced live underdogs and big ‘Dogs like Florida State last week and Syracuse the previous week in our weekly pursuit of profit.
As power ratings, performances and perceptions continue to change and the sportsbooks make adjustments in price, we too modify our game plan and make changes as needed noting motivational and letdown situations and statistical parameters and profiles that point us in the right direction.
Three weeks ago we had a 4-0 ATS sweep to reward the parlay players. Let’s continue our pursuit of profit in Fairway’s Foursome as we fire for the flag and go for the green in our weekly pursuit of profit (doggy style) with Fairway’s Football Forecast.
Bet college football underdogs at Elite-Rated reduced juice sportsbook 5Dimes.
This week’s underdog plays – we fire with competitive 'Dogs 7 points or less this week, although I've played other big 'Dogs and noted a few below.
127 Ball State (+3) at Central Michigan – Cardinals Money Line +125
155 Colorado (+7) at USC – Buffaloes Money Line +230
182 Indiana (+5.5) vs Iowa – Hoosiers Money Line +180
184 Memphis (+4.5) vs Central Florida – Tigers Money Line +170
$20 4-Team Parlay = $220
$20 4-Team Money Line Parlay = $1,102
Other 'Dogs of interest that I also played and even used in contests this week include a pair of Tigers as SEC big 'Dogs Missouri (+28.5) and LSU (+7.5), along with a Duck, Oregon (+3.5).
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Ball State at Central Michigan – Ball State (2-4) can surpass its win total from last season with a victory Saturday, and we think they can get it against Central Michigan (1-5). CMU has covered four games despite scoring more than 20 points just once this season, and that was last week in a 34-24 loss at Buffalo. Poor passing and QB play has hurt the Chippewas, as has its running game averaging less than 125 YPG with the offense going for just 270 YPG and 17 points per game this season. Central Michigan has one of the worst offenses in college football, and its special teams are terrible too. Add in a swish-cheese run defense allowing 230 YPG to FBS foes, and Ball State's league-best third down conversions and 1.2 net YPR differential advantage in this match-up and you can see Ball State having success. Quarterback Riley Neal has passed for more than 1,500 yards including 260 last week against a stronger Northern Illinois defense, and we cash with the Cardinals this week.
Colorado at USC - The Buffaloes have been stampeded by the Trojans since joining the Big 12, going 0-7 SU vs USC with an average margin of victory by nearly 20 points. But expect the Buffs to bring their best in this key PAC-12 South showdown. Colorado (5-0) remains undefeated with its first 5-0 start in 20 years. That includes 2-0 in PAC-12 play to lead the South division. The Buffs are also 4-0 ATS vs FBS opponents this season, and USC (3-2) sits behind Colorado in the standings at 2-1. Coach Clay Helton is getting less from his offense at the point of attack, as USC is rushing for just 139 yard per game (97th in country). Colorado has held all five opponents to 28 points or less, and while USC is stronger than those and would have been favored in this match-up by 14 in early September, the Trojans will not cover this spread scoring less than 28 points as projected.
Iowa at Indiana – Big Ten battle in Bloomington, where Iowa (4-1) plays back-to-back road games following its season high scoring in a 48-31 win at Minnesota. Indiana (4-2) hung with Ohio State for three quarters last week before falling 49-26 to get the money. Quarterback Peyton Ramsey passed for 322 yards and a 3/0 TD-INT ratio on the road against a top team, and that confidence and play should carry over this week. Iowa lost a number of players this off-season, but its defense was strong the first three games. However, a closer inspection shows signs of erosion the last two games against sub-par quartertbacks, and now Iowa faces a more dynamic offense of Indiana. Iowa is also shorthanded on defense, as starting linebackers Nick Niemann and Jack Hockaday are sidelined with injuries. Amani Jones, who replaced Hockaday in the middle last week, will miss the first half of this game after being called for targeting against Minnesota. A pair of true freshman cornerbacks are expected to make their second career starts, and Iowa's TE and No. 1 running back Ivory Kelly-Martin are questionable with undisclosed injuries. The Hoosiers defense is improved significantly from recent years, as second-year head coach Tom Allen is a coach with a background in teaching defense. Last week, Indiana held Ohio State well below its rushing average, limiting the Buckeyes to 154 rushing yards (3.2 YPR). The Hoosiers also lead the Big Ten with 13 takeaways with a talented secondary and more aggressive defensive front with four defensive linemen. I have Indiana out-gaining Iowa, and another outright 'Dog winner should come as no surprise.
UCF at Memphis - The nation's longest winning streak belongs to Central Florida, as UCF goes for it's 19th straight victory at Memphis. Don't believe the Knights will get it. Both offenses are prolific, ranking top-10 in the country with Memphis (547) and UCF (574) each piling up yards. Each defense is allowing near 4.9 yards per play. Last year, UCF beat Memphis twice, including in the American Athletic Conference championship game 62-55 in double overtime to keep the winning streak in tact. Memphis has scored at least 52 points in all four home games this season, and while the stats on both sides of the ball are skewed a bit with Memphis' soft early season schedule, the Tigers have clearly been pointing towards this key contest. UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton does have 15 TD passes this season, but he's completed less than 53% of his passes the last two games against weaker opponents. Memphis is a Tiger with some teeth at home in the Liberty Bowl. Memphis is 20-4 SU at home over the past four seasons with an average line of -15. The average margin of victory is a league-best 20 PPG in those games. Now the Tigers are a home 'Dog and we're on it.
Best wishes in college football Week 7.
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