Each week, we will each give out our favorite moneyline underdog on the college football Saturday slate. You can play them straight, throw them in a longshot parlay or just read the commentary for additional insight.
Let’s take a look at our trio of Week 3 moneylines, starting with a clash of two schools that are just under 5,000 miles apart. If you’re feeling lucky, a moneyline parlay of all three pays over 25-1.
YTD: 3-3 +1.85 units
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Stuckey: Hawaii +240 (at Army)
- Spread: Army -7
- Over/Under: 62
- Time: Noon ET
- TV channel: CBS Sports Network
Déjà vu. I’m going back to the Army fade as touchdown favorites at noon ET on CBS Sports Network. After this strategy cashed for us in Week 1, Liberty crashed against Army last week — but the Flames were one wide open completion away from cutting that margin to three before Army blew it open.
I’m still very low on this 2018 Army squad. The Black Knights did finish 10-3 last year, but they won only three games by more than seven points against FBS teams: UTEP, Air Force and Rice. Not exactly a gauntlet.
Look, I think the Black Knights will score at will with their triple-option attack against a putrid Hawaii run defense. However, I also don’t see how Army will get any stops against the Rainbow Warriors’ new “Run and Shoot” offense, which has looked indefensible over Hawaii’s first 3-0 start since winning 12 straight in 2007 before the Sugar Bowl loss to Georgia.
Army consistently struggles to defend prolific passing attacks, which makes sense considering it only ever practices against the triple option. Last year, Army’s defense rated 122nd against the pass, per Football Outsiders.
I simply think home-field advantage, travel and game time (6 a.m. Hawaii time) are being overvalued. Don’t forget that Hawaii traveled to Army in 2011 for a noon ET kick and jumped out to a 21-0 lead en en route to a 31-28 victory.
There was no slow start.
Yes, that was one game seven years ago. However, Hawaii’s offensive coordinator for that game was none other than current head coach Nick Rolovich.
And while not as drastic, Hawaii also won at Air Force (another service academy option team) in a 2016 game that had a 10 a.m. local Hawaii kickoff. The Rainbow Warriors led at halftime in that one as well.
In fact, Hawaii owns an 8-2 record vs. FBS service academies since 1999, including a blowout win as a 14-point underdog to Navy earlier this season. The Rainbow Warriors have defeated Army in all three previous meetings, averaging over 46 points per game.
I think this road trip later in the season would be torture for Hawaii, which will travel 38,578 total miles this season — over 12,000 more miles than the second-highest team (Navy). However, Hawaii is riding the high of a 3-0 start behind an energetic coach. I expect a team that I fancy as an underdog (not as a favorite) to be ready to go.
In a potential shootout that could be won by the last team with the ball, I’ll gladly take seven points and +240 on the moneyline. All it takes is one or two Army fumbles on option pitches, and Hawaii could be off to its first 4-0 start in more than a decade.