College Football Betting Pace Report: 3 Over/Unders for Week 2, Including Tennessee vs. Pitt
Justin Berl/Getty Images. Pictured: Marcus Minor (left) and Israel Abanikanda (right).
The dust has settled after Week 1 of the college football season, and there's still so much that needs to be sorted out.
With head coach and coordinator changes, the transfer portal and new quarterbacks in new systems, we can't really rely on each team's pace numbers from last season. Instead, we have to take it on a case-by-case basis. So, until Week 4, plays per minute and plays per game numbers will not be provided.
Using those metrics, along with a look at the weather and key injuries, the goal is to hopefully help bettors beat the market before Friday and Saturday morning.
Now, let's dive into Week 2.
South Carolina vs. Arkansas
|South Carolina Odds|
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
KJ Jefferson balled out in Week 1 against Cincinnati.
KJ Jefferson got that HOG in him 🐗 pic.twitter.com/KHO3jPtVP8
— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 3, 2022
It's not that shocking, though, because he was really good as a passer last season, putting up 9.3 yards per attempt and an 82.8 PFF passing grade.
However, that's not the focus of the Razorback offense.
Arkansas ran the ball 63% of the time in 2021 with Jefferson himself leading the team in rushing. Arkansas lost its top back in Trelon Smith but returns Raheim Sanders, who may actually be better than Smith. Sanders averaged 5.1 yards per carry and over 10% of his rushes went over 10 yards.
He went for 117 yards on 20 carries in the opener, so with Arkansas having four starters back on the offensive line, this rushing attack looks incredibly dangerous.
#Arkansas RB Raheim “Rocket” Sanders is going to be one of the better backs in the country this season, with contact balance and speed in the open field.
The former receiver is a natural two-threat out of the backfield too. pic.twitter.com/TollJ3fp1X
— Devin Jackson (@RealD_Jackson) September 3, 2022
South Carolina allowed 4.9 yards per rush (105th in FBS), ranked 127th in Power Success Rate Allowed, 115th in Stuff Rate and 112th in Defensive Line Yards last season. Oh, and it brings back just one starter from on the defensive line.
SC does get one starter back from injury after missing most of last season, along with a transfer from NC State. But it's hard to see how South Carolina is going to stop this dynamic rushing attack.
The Gamecock offense is going to be electric this season with Spencer Rattler coming in to be the starter. He struggled in 2022 at Oklahoma — there's no doubt about that — but this is the same quarterback who had a 92.5 PFF passing grade, averaged 9.6 yards per attempt and recorded 32 big-time throws in 2020.
Spencer Rattler is back pic.twitter.com/Gbdb7vgnzT
— CollegeFootball Nation (@C_F_Nation) September 4, 2022
He has a tremendous nucleus around him at South Carolina too. The Gamecocks brought in former Wake Forest running back Christian Beal-Smith, who was in a pass-happy offense but still had a 78.6 PFF rushing grade.
Both of South Carolina's top receivers, Josh Vann and Jaheim Bell, return after both averaged over 15 yards per catch in 2021 and combined for 10 touchdowns.
South Carolina also added Antwane Wells who was a second-team All-American at James Madison last season. Plus, South Carolina has its entire offensive line coming back.
South Carolina tends to play a little slow under Marcus Satterfield at around 2.15 plays per minute, which is outside the top 100 in college football. Arkansas played pretty fast last season under Kendal Briles at 2.44 plays per minute, which ranked 52nd in college football.
The total is too low here for me with the amount of talent on the offensive side of ball on both sides. I have 69.9 points projected for this game, so I like the value on over 52.5 points and would play it up to 62 points.
Pick: Over 52.5 (Play to 62)
South Alabama vs. Central Michigan
|South Alabama Odds|
-110o / -110u
|Central Michigan Odds|
-110o / -110u
From Fayetteville to Mount Pleasant we go for a total that I think is a little inflated.
South Alabama had an atrocious offense in 2021. A lot of that had to do with how bad its rushing attack was. The Jaguars ranked outside the top 100 in Offensive Line Yards, EPA/Rush and Rushing Success Rate.
They were heavily reliant on their passing attack because they had a talented passer in former South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley, who led them to rank 32nd in EPA/Pass and owned an 81.5 PFF passing grade himself.
Bentley is now gone, along with No. 1 receiver Jalen Tolbert, who had 1,474 yards receiving and averaged 16 yards per catch in 2021.
Enter Carter Bradley from Toledo to face a former MAC foe. Bradley was benched after six starts last year because his play was quite poor. His PFF passing grade came in at 53.1 with only four big-time throws and six turnover-worthy plays. I think it's safe to say the passing attack is going to drop off quite considerably.
On top of that, South Alabama's pace finished 94th in college football last season at 2.27 plays per minute.
Central Michigan may have put up 44 points against Oklahoma State in Week 1, but a lot of that had to do with the state of the game. Being down, 44-15, at halftime, the Chippewas came out with the "what do we have to lose?" offense in the second half.
The Chippewas are likely going to develop into a little more of a run-heavy, slow-paced team because of new offensive coordinator Paul Petrino (Yes, Bobby's Petrino's brother), who spent the last 12 seasons as the head coach of Idaho.
His offense at Idaho ran the ball 57% of the time, and it ran 2.06 plays per minute. That pace would've put it at the eighth-slowest in FBS last season.
Central Michigan does have quarterback Daniel Richardson, running back Lew Nichols III and wide receiver Dallas Dixon back. This was an offense that ranked top-20 in EPA/Play, which is great. But it finished 87th in Finishing Drives, which is a major concern.
Plus, they're going up against one of the best Group of Five defenses from 2021.
South Alabama ranked 31st in Success Rate Allowed, 53rd in EPA per play and, most importantly, 10th in Defensive Finishing Drives. It returns its entire front seven that was top-25 in Defensive Line Yards, Stuff Rate, Rushing Success Rate Allowed and Power Success Rate Allowed.
The Jaguars' secondary loses three starters, but two All-Sun Belt defensive backs are back, plus they added an a pair of Ole Miss transfers.
In their second season in Kane Wommack's system, the Jags should continue their dominant defense. They were incredible in the opener against FCS opponent Nicholls State, holding them to just seven points and just 2.5 yards per play.
With the pace of these two offenses likely being incredibly slow coming into 2022, combined with South Alabama's weak potential on offense and stellar defense, I think the total is inflated after Central Michigan's performance against Oklahoma State.
I have the total for this game projected at 53.4, so I like the value on under 59.5 points and would play it down to 58.5.
Pick: Under 59.5 (Play to 58.5)
Tennessee vs. Pitt
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
This game could get off the rails pretty quickly with Tennessee's pace.
Last season, Josh Heupel came in and completely changed the Volunteer offense to his fast-paced style that he employed at UCF. He also went out and got dual-threat quarterback Hendon Hooker from Virginia Tech to run his system.
Tennessee led college football in 2021 at 3.12 plays per minute. No other team in FBS averaged over 3.00 plays per minute.
Tennessee was an incredible rushing attack last season, averaging 5.0 yards per carry and ranking fifth in Rushing Success Rate and 22nd in EPA/Rush.
The Vols return their top back Jabari Small, who averaged 5.6 yards per carry in 2021, along with four starters back on the offensive line. So, this rushing attack is going to be just as dangerous as ever.
keep thinking about this absolutely disgusting juke from Jabari Small pic.twitter.com/0TfQI6Bp87
— Smokey Vol (@theSmokeyVol) November 7, 2021
Pitt had one of the best front sevens in all of college football last season, ranking in the top 10 in both Defensive Line Yards and Stuff Rate. However, West Virginia gained 5.6 yards per carry and had eight trips inside Pitt's 40-yard line. In this meeting last season, Tennessee averaged 4.1 yards per carry.
Hooker had a pretty outstanding season as a passer in 2021 as well, throwing for 31 touchdowns and only three interceptions with a 78.3 PFF passing grade.
Plus, Tennessee brings back top receiver Cedric Tillman, who had over 1,000 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns in 2021. He caught just one pass for 20 yards in this game last season.
Kedon Slovis looked pretty solid in his opening game for Pitt, throwing for over 300 yards and averaging 12.3 yards per attempt. The Panthers were much slower under new offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti, averaging only 2.06 plays per minute, which would have put them outside the top 100 last season.
With that being said, game state always matters. Once Pitt trailed West Virginia, the pace picked up very quickly. So, even if Pitt tries to slow the pace down, it's going to be forced to play at Tennessee's fast tempo.
I have 83.9 points projected for this game, so I think there's tremendous value on over 65.5 and would play it to 74.
Pick: Over 65.5 (Play to 74)